African scholars intake more than doubles

An initiative that supports African scholars who have great potential but few educational opportunities is set to expand.

The University of Edinburgh's Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program students

The University of Edinburgh's Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is to more than double its intake of students in 2017/18.

Some 26 students who are committed to improving the lives of others will join the Program.

The increase follow the success of the Scholars Program's first year, when 12 students from six countries joined the University.

This year’s group includes students from South Sudan, Nigeria and Rwanda, Ethiopia and Uganda. Four of them will be studying on postgraduate distance learning degrees.

Charlegne Rambanapasi, from Harare, Zimbabwe, is one of the new undergraduates. She will shortly begin studying Chemical Engineering at Edinburgh.

Getting this scholarship means the world to me. I will be the first of five siblings to go to University. I'm hoping to learn a lot in terms of transformative leadership as well as technical expertise in my field of interest so that I can help transform and develop my country. I also want to get out of my shell and meet lots of people, make great friends and create tonnes of great memories.

Charlegne RambanapasiFirst year chemical engineering 

The $27 million scholarship program will benefit some 200 African students over seven years.

Full scholarships will be offered to 80 undergraduate and 120 postgraduate students from Africa. The initiative will enable Edinburgh to offer opportunities to Africans with great academic potential but few educational opportunities.  

Dorcas Amoh-Mensah, from Ghana, was part of the 2016/17 intake of Mastercard Foundation scholars. She will shortly complete her MSc in Africa and International Development.

The University has been an awesome place for me to learn, with a relatively open culture, where everyone is willing to support you to do better academically, socially and emotionally. My time at Edinburgh has also exposed me to the world. Learning and interacting with people from across the globe was one of my most cherished experiences. I now hope to contribute to the economic development and transformation of my own country and continent.

Dorcas Amoh-MensahMSc Africa and International Development

New generation of African leaders

Students receive comprehensive support to assist in removing any barriers to study in Edinburgh. 

They benefit from extra-curricular course elements including summer schools and internships in the UK and their home regions.  These will help them to develop their abilities and make a difference to their countries and communities when they return home.

Africa is experiencing huge youth population growth as economic and employment growth stagnates. The University hopes to educate a new generation of African leaders who will create opportunities for others.

So far, the wider Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program has committed more than US$700 million to support the education and leadership development of more than 30,000 young people. Edinburgh is the first university in Europe to collaborate with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

Africa and Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is committed to expanding access for students from around the world. It welcomed 602 students from 29 African countries last year. 

The University’s largest cohorts in 2016/17 included 125 students from South Africa, 113 students from Nigeria and 85 students from Kenya.

It is engaged in multi-disciplinary research relating to Africa through its four Global Academies – Development, Health, Justice, and Environment and Society. 

Edinburgh’s Centre of African Studies is a world leader of research on Africa and the largest research hub of its kind in Europe.

We are delighted, and proud, to see our first six postgraduate students complete their studies and our first six undergraduate students prepare for second year. We are also excited to welcome the 26 students who will joining us from 11 African countries in the coming weeks. Our Mastercard Foundation Scholars have already contributed in many ways to our university community - from better food to brighter billboards - and we’re looking forward to an equally exciting year ahead.

Professor James SmithVice-Principal International, the University of Edinburgh


Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Centre of African Studies

Edinburgh Global