Hundreds of sustainability scholarships announced for African students

Some 850 sustainability-focused postgraduate scholarships for students from Africa have been announced by the University of Edinburgh and the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

Image of four Mastercard Foundation scholars

The newly expanded partnership will create a digital education network to support African higher education institutions in developing online degrees, offering an array of postgraduate learning opportunities and equipping young people with the knowledge, skills and networks to promote sustainable changes throughout Africa.

Postgraduate students will be recruited from across the continent with 266 studying full-time in-person and 534 studying part-time online, all contributing to fostering sustainable ecosystems.

African partners

The University will collaborate with African partners such as University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and Makerere University, Uganda to identify and encourage students and to apply for the programme.

Fifty scholarships will also be offered to students from 10 African HEIs to undertake sustainability focussed doctoral studies.

Commitment to inclusion

Young people recruited into the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Edinburgh University will receive comprehensive support that includes a fully-funded scholarship to pursue one of the many postgraduate courses offered at the university. They will also be connected to a network of peers and experts, equipping  them to drive positive, sustainable  transformation throughout Africa.

The Program will place a particular emphasis on recruiting young women, forcibly-displaced youth, and young people living with disabilities, with postgraduate students recruited from across the continent. 

The Scholars Program will consist of three elements: full scholarships for sustainability-themed postgraduate taught courses at the University of Edinburgh; a digital education network to support African higher education institutions to develop online degree offerings; and the establishment of a collaborative doctoral training centre with the University of the Witwatersrand.

The announcement marks the next phase of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Edinburgh, commencing in September 2023.

Educational opportunities

Since 2016, the University of Edinburgh’s partnership with The Mastercard Foundation has ensured access to education for bright young leaders who have a personal commitment to changing the world around them and improving the lives of others.

A package of scholarships have benefitted 220 African students with significant academic and leadership potential but few educational opportunities with the chance to study at Edinburgh.

Full scholarships have been offered to 80 undergraduate and 150 postgraduate African students in the last seven years.

The Mastercard Foundation is one of the largest charitable foundations in the world. It operates independently from Mastercard Incorporated, which originally set up the Foundation in 2006.

The Program has supported the education and leadership development of more than 45,000 young people, more than 70 per cent of whom are women.

The Program provides financial, social, and academic support to Mastercard Scholars. Financial support includes, but is not limited to, tuition fees, accommodation, books, and other scholastic materials.

The Mastercard Foundation 

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world.

The Foundation was established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. The Foundation is independent and its policies, operations, and program decisions are determined by its own Board of Directors and senior leadership team. It is a registered Canadian charity with hubs in Toronto, Kigali, Accra and Nairobi, and offices in Kampala, Lagos, Dakar, and Addis Ababa.

 Our renewed partnership with the Mastercard Foundation demonstrates our commitment to making a positive impact around the world. The University of Edinburgh has a long history of global collaboration and partnerships. Engaging with the Mastercard Foundation Scholar’s Program reinforces our belief that all students and young people around the world should have access to education and the ability to affect change and become transformative leaders in their own right.

Professor James SmithProfessor of African and Development Studies and Vice-Principal International, the University of Edinburgh

The University of the Witwatersrand is pleased to be part of this incredible programme that will go a long way towards advancing teaching and learning and knowledge creation on the continent. We look forward to working with our partners to effect real change in society through this unique programme.

Professor Ruksana OsmanProfessor of Higher Education and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic at Wits University.

Related links 

Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Mastercard Foundation