Alt Home page

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is developing Africa’s next generation of leaders. In partnership with a global network of partners, the program allows students whose talent and promise exceed their financial resources to complete their education. With a vision that education is a catalyst for social and economic change, the program focuses on developing leaders who are transformative, encouraging them to be active contributors in their communities.

Since 2014, the Mastercard Foundation, together with AIMS, is leveraging the AIMS model to develop Africa’s next generation of leaders through education. In a bid to propel socio-economic change, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at AIMS focuses on driving transformative leadership by encouraging scholars to engage in the development of their communities and the continent at large. The program targets socioeconomically disadvantaged students with brilliant academic records and leadership potential.


Mastercard Foundation alumni

statistic icon


of our alumni are women

statistic icon


Co-op Master’s alumni

statistic icon


African countries

statistic icon

Developing Africa’s next generation of leaders

Components of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at AIMS


Advanced training for employment

Through centres in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon and Rwanda, AIMS is feeding the STEM pipeline by training African students to tackle the continent’s grand challenges via scientific innovation in big data, computer security, financial mathematics, and related fields. With lecturers from top universities and research labs from around the world, AIMS offers a Master’s degree in mathematical sciences with two streams. The Structured Master’s program comprises 10 months of formal instruction and research, while the Co-operative Master’s program offers a model of work-integrated learning combining formal instruction (10 months) with practical work experience (6-8 months). The Co-op pilot was launched in AIMS Senegal with the support of the Mastercard Foundation and now equally offered at our Cameroon and Rwanda centres. AIMS students are selected through a rigorous application process after which successful candidates are granted full bursaries.


Improved quality of mathematics education

The AIMS Teacher Training Program implemented in Cameroon, is designed to improve learning outcomes in mathematics for secondary school students, especially girls. The gender-responsive program equips secondary school teachers with professional development training, technology-driven smart classrooms and simulation labs, promotes best practices through practical training workshops and distributes high-quality classroom resources to in-service and pre-service teachers. The goal is to raise the quality of mathematics and science education at the secondary education level, to increase the transition of students to tertiary STEM education. Teachers are trained to be aware of and counter stereotypes that push girls out of mathematics and science.


The Social Entrepreneurship Fund

The fund will support scholars to activate and further develop their social entrepreneurial projects. A pilot effort that will run for two years, the fund is facilitating opportunities for Mastercard Foundation Scholars to give back and expand their transformative leadership competencies by catalysing economic opportunities for others. The experience of developing a vision and a plan, competing for funding and nurturing a project deepens various skills and mind sets required of Mastercard Foundation Scholars as transformative leaders committed to improving the lives of others. The selection process involves a call for applications, review of applications, and a final challenge (ideathon) to select the most promising ideas/projects for funding. Mastercard Foundation Scholars or alumni may apply as individuals or in teams of 2-3 people based in the same country for ease in implementation.


The Scholars Research Fund

The Mastercard Foundation launched the Scholars’ Research Fund to support Scholar-led research to produce quality knowledge that would inform the implementation of the Scholars Program as well as its expansion and evolution in line with the Young Africa Works strategy. Launched in 2018, the pilot phase targeted short-term research projects (not exceeding six months), to be conducted between May and October 2019, to generate actionable knowledge relevant to the program. Two teams of AIMS alumni benefited from this fund and developed research on Increasing Enrolment of Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and mathematics in Tertiary Education in Kumasi, and Increasing Women in STEM’s Transition into Tertiary Education.