Scholars Program

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program envisions a transformative network of young people and institutions driving inclusive and equitable socio-economic change in Africa. Since launching in 2012, the Program has supported nearly 40,000 young people in Africa to pursue secondary or tertiary education.   

To enable Scholars and young people across Africa to succeed, we know there is a need to address systemic barriers in higher education, strengthen capacity, support innovative solutions across critical sectors, and connect ecosystem actors together to amplify our impact across the continent. Working together alongside young people, universities, NGOs, and other higher education stakeholders, the Program strives to create the conditions that will enable young people to attain inclusive and relevant education, transition smoothly into dignified and fulfilling work, and lead transformative lives.

How to Apply to the Scholars Program

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Celebrating 10 Years of the Scholars Program

In 2022, the Scholars Program turned 10. To celebrate a decade of transformative impact and learning, we hosted a series of virtual events, social conversations, documentaries and our annual summit. Together we reflected on what we have learned and looked to the next 10 years to develop Africa’s youth leaders.

Learn more about Scholars@10

More Information About the Scholars Program

Find out how to become a Mastercard Foundation Scholar.

How to Apply to the Scholars Program

Our partners manage the recruitment and selection of Scholars for the Program.

Partner Resources for Disability Inclusion

Partner resources for disability inclusion in higher education

Scholars Program e-Learning Initiative

Find out how the initiative will deliver high-quality and inclusive online learning.

Read more about the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program in action.

News and Updates

Baobab Summit 2023: Here. Now. Using Our Voices, Shaping the World.

The Baobab Summit is a gathering of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, where our Scholars, Alumni and partners come together to connect, co-create, share, learn and reflect.

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The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Expands to University of the Western Cape

The Mastercard Foundation and the University of the Western Cape will collaborate to provide 500 talented and service-oriented young Africans with fully-funded higher learning and leadership development opportunities over the next seven years.

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Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Council Retreat at USIU-Africa

What happens when you bring together 35 young people from Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program partner institutions across the world, seven Foundation staff and other partners on  United States International University-Africa’s beautiful Nairobi campus? Lots of learning, deep conversations, laughter and fun.

Read more about the convening

Ashesi University Foundation Canada Receives Endowment from Mastercard Foundation to Strengthen Higher Education in Africa

Ashesi University Foundation Canada has received an endowment to establish the “Mastercard Foundation Endowment for Educational Excellence,” which will enable world-class, inclusive higher education in Africa while driving innovation and entrepreneurship on the continent.

Read about the new partnership here

Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Celebrates A Decade of Developing Young Leaders

The Mastercard Foundation celebrates the decennial anniversary of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. Launched in 2012, the Program began as a $500 million initiative to develop the next generation of leaders who would drive social and economic transformation.

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Breaking Taboos and Paving the Way for a Healthier Future

Mastercard Foundation Scholars have a deep personal commitment to changing the world around them and improving the lives of their families, communities, and countries.

Find out how Derrick Tumuhairwe and Jovia Nazziwa are breaking taboos and paving the way for a healthier future in Uganda.


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Social Venture Challenge

Scholars are creating positive change in their communities through social ventures.

Read about Scholar ventures addressing big challenges

Envision a World Where ...

Mastercard Foundation Scholars express their ideas for change.

Hear Scholars' visions for the world

International Women's Day

Our International Women’s Day series highlights stories from Mastercard Foundation Scholars about how gender has shaped their leadership.

Read how gender has shaped Scholars' leadership