USIU-Africa and the Mastercard Foundation have officially commissioned the second cohort of 48 Scholars under the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. The Scholars were selected from a pool of 3,500 applicants drawn from various parts of Kenya and across Africa.

Since its inception last year, the program has recruited 70 scholars. 68% women and 33% male scholars were admitted into the program, with 48% of them enrolled in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program. A further 42% were enrolled in the Humanities program.

In 2020, the Mastercard Foundation partnered with USIU-Africa to launch the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at USIU-Africa. The program will see 1,000 students from across Africa educated over the next 10 years at a cost of Ksh. 6.8 billion ($63.2 million).

The program will also recruit a diverse student body, which will include 700 women, 250 refugees, displaced youth and 70 persons with disability. This student body will be placed in 11 programs which will provide skills training, leadership development, counselling, mentoring, internships and career services. The program will also educate, prepare and transition young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into the labour market as leaders who can inspire socio-economic transformation.

In his remarks, USIU-Africa’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Paul Zeleza noted that the Scholars Program will help in promoting discovery and application of knowledge and transitioning young people into gainful employment. “We are glad to be part of Mastercard Foundation’s expanding global network of partners committed to developing a generation of African leaders who will use their knowledge and skills to lead change in their communities, and contribute to meaningful transformation across the continent,” he added.

Mastercard Foundation’s Head of Scholars Program, Prof. Phil Cotton congratulated the Scholars on their achievement. “As recipients of the Mastercard Foundation Program Scholarships, you are now in a position that allows you to give back to your communities, and serve as actors of change. You are our ambassadors and role models for young people across the country and across the continent,” he concluded.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at USIU-Africa will provide full-cost scholarships to young Africans who are first-time undergraduate degree-seeking applicants.