Africa Open Institute is currently funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its Delinking Encounters project (2016-2020). The Institute is supported by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, as well as through contributions by the office of the Vice-Rector (Research) at Stellenbosch University.

It also administers funding by the Volkswagen Stiftung for the Hidden Years project led by Principal Investigator and fundholder Dr. Lizabé Lambrechts (2016-2018), and has been the beneficiary of British Academy Advanced Newton Fellowship funding in collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Eato of the University of York (UK) for its project South African Jazz Cultures and the Archive (2015-2017).

AOI has been supported by grants and awards from the SAMRO Foundation, the Rupert Music Foundation and the Nussbaum Foundation.

The institute actively pursues opportunities for core funding towards the sustainability of its activities (including endowments), as well as funding for specific projects and student support.