MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program

The vision of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is open to both graduate and undergraduate students. The vision of the program is to educate and develop bright yet economically marginalized young people in Africa who have a demonstrated “give-back” ethos and who will contribute to the transformation of the continent. This $500 million program covers secondary and higher education for girls and boys. It will transition promising young people from beneficiaries to benefactors, preparing them with the values, knowledge, skills, and leadership to fuel economic and social progress across Africa.

The Foundation is creating a network of non-governmental organizations and educational institutions that are deeply committed to serving disadvantaged youth. Our partners believe that education is a catalyst for social and economic betterment. They were selected for their shared values, academic excellence, nurturing environments, and programs relevant to growth sectors in Africa.

Together with our partners, the MasterCard Foundation is focused on augmenting core academic programs with experiential learning opportunities for students. These will take the form of volunteerism, community service, internships and social entrepreneurship to expose students to global issues, diverse populations and viewpoints while developing values and competencies critical to leadership and civic engagement. These competencies include: adaptability, critical thinking, and problem solving; facility with technology, ability to evaluate information; and work collaboratively across diverse groups.


The Program is designed to provide holistic support, including:

  • Comprehensive scholarships (school fees, living expenses, books, stipends, transportation).
  • Mentoring and counseling including emotional and academic support.
  • Service and experiential learning (volunteerism, internships, entrepreneurship, ICT).
  • Transition support into higher education or the workforce in Africa.
  • Alumni network of next-generation leaders committed to service.

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is anticipated to benefit 15,000 young people. At an institutional level, it will develop best practices to educate and mentor students of this profile and transition them to the workforce. These talented students will become part of an alumni network of next-generation leaders who will serve as role models, mentors, and problem solvers in their countries.

To date, the network consists of 10 partners: African Leadership Academy, American University of Beirut, Arizona State University, Ashesi University, Duke University, EARTH University, Michigan State University, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, and Wellesley College. This network will expand as the Foundation adds more secondary and university partnerships in Africa.

To learn more about this program, please email your inquiry to:

Learn more

MasterCard Foundation at Berkeley

Center for African Studies

MasterCard Foundation: Fact Sheet