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International Activity Report 2016

2016 in figures

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, private and non-profit organisation. It comprises 21 institutional members under the MSF International Statutes and 10 specialised organisations, which take charge of specific activities such as humanitarian relief supplies, epidemiological and medical research, and research on humanitarian and social action. As these organisations are controlled by MSF, they are included in the scope of the MSF Financial Report and the figures presented here. These figures describe MSF’s finances on a combined international level. The figures presented here are for the 2016 calendar year. All amounts are presented in millions of euros.

Figures in these tables are rounded, which may result in apparent inconsistencies in totals.

2016 Activity Highlights

This data groups together direct, remote support and coordination activities. Note: these highlights give an overview of most MSF activities but cannot be considered exhaustive.

Largest country programmes based on expenditure

  1. Democratic Republic of Congo
  2. South Sudan
  3. Central African Republic
  4. Yemen
  5. Iraq
  6. Haiti
  7. Syria
  8. Nigeria
  9. Ethiopia
  10. Niger

The total expenditure for our programmes in these 10 countries is 534.8 million euros, 54 per cent of MSF’s operational expenses.

Context of interventions IAR 2016

MSF staff

Staff figures represent total full-time equivalent positions.

International staff departures IAR 2016
Where did the money go IAR 2016

Where did the money come from?

Thanks to 6.1 million private donors.

Year-end financial position

In millions of euros

Year-end financial position (in millions of euros)
Assets 2016 2015
Non-current assets 228.9 98.9
Other current assets 222.6 175.9
Cash and equivalents 1,101.1 1,024.7
Liabilities and funds 2016 2015
Current liabilities 239 168.1
Unrestricted funds 1,107.4 1,059.8
Restricted funds 35.9 15.6
Other funds 70.3 56


The majority of MSF staff (83 per cent) are hired locally in the countries of intervention. Headquarters staff represent 9 per cent of total staff. Departure figures represent the number of times international staff left on field missions. Staff figures represent the total full-time equivalent positions.

Sources of income

As part of MSF’s effort to guarantee its independence and strengthen the organisation’s link with society, we strive to maintain a high level of private income. In 2016, 95 per cent of MSF’s income came from private sources. More than 6.1 million individual donors and private foundations worldwide made this possible. Public institutional agencies providing funding to MSF included, among others, the Humanitarian Aid Office of the European Commission (ECHO) and the governments of Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Canada, Spain, Norway, Japan, Luxembourg, Holland, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland.


Expenditure is allocated in line with the main activities performed by MSF according to the full cost method. Therefore all expense categories include salaries, direct costs and allocated overheads (e.g. building costs and depreciation).

Programme expenses

Programme expenses represent expenses incurred in the field or by headquarters on behalf of the field.

Other expenses

Other expenses comprises costs associated with raising funds from all possible sources, the expenditures incurred in the management and administration of the organisation, as well as income tax paid on commercial activities.

Permanently restricted funds

Permanently restricted funds may be capital funds, where donors require the assets to be invested or retained for long-term use rather than expended; or the minimum compulsory level of retained earnings to be maintained in some countries.

Temporarily restricted funds

Temporarily restricted funds are unspent designated donor funds to a specific purpose (e.g. specific country or project), restricted in time, or required to be invested and retained rather than expended, but without any contractual obligation of reimbursement.

Unrestricted funds

Unrestricted funds are unspent, non-designated donor funds expendable at the discretion of MSF’s trustees in furtherance of our social mission.

Other funds

Other funds are foundations’ capital and translation adjustments arising from the translation of entities’ financial statements into euros.

MSF’s funds have been built up over the years by surpluses of income over expenses. At the end of 2016, the available portion (excluding permanently restricted funds and capital for foundations) represented 9.2 months of the preceding year’s activity. The purpose of maintaining funds is to meet the following needs: working capital needs over the course of the year, as fundraising traditionally has seasonal peaks while expenditure is relatively constant; swift operational response to humanitarian needs that will be funded by forthcoming public fundraising campaigns and/or by public institutional funding; future major humanitarian emergencies for which sufficient funding cannot be obtained; the sustainability of long-term programmes (e.g. antiretroviral treatment programmes); and a sudden drop in private and/or public institutional funding that cannot be matched in the short term by a reduction in expenditure.

Find out more about MSF Financial Report

We are pleased to present our audited combined Financial Statements. These combined accounts are a means of transparency and accountability, providing a global overview of MSF’s work.

They represent an aggregation of the Financial Statements of the 21 institutional members under MSF International statutes  (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States), together with the Financial Statements of offices in Argentina, the Czech Republic, Republic of Korea, India and Ireland, satellite organisations (MSF Supply, MSF Logistique, Epicentre, Fondation MSF, Etat d'Urgence Production, MSF Assistance, SCI MSF, SCI Sabin, Fondation MSF Belgique, Ärzte Ohne Grenzen Foundation and MSF Enterprises Limited) and MSF International.

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