The NBER Africa Project has been funded by a generous grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information on the Foundation, please see their website here.
The NBER Africa Project was listed in the Gates Foundation's 2007 Annual Report. Please see the excellent summary of the project here.
Note that the forty research subprojects selected to participate in the Africa Project were chosen at the discretion of the NBER. The Gates Foundation does not influence, approve, or oversee the activities of the subprojects..