The Mastercard Foundation is an independent, private Foundation established through a gift of Mastercard Incorporated shares in May 2006. Through collaboration with partners, the Foundation advances youth learning and promotes financial inclusion to catalyze prosperity in developing countries.
Under the Foundation’s Youth Learning Program, it established the Scholars Program; a $500 million initiative to educate young people – particularly from Africa – to lead change and make a positive social impact in their communities.
The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is a collaborative global network of education institutions and non-profit organisations, which seek to educate academically talented yet economically disadvantaged young people, and thereby equip them with the knowledge, skills and competencies needed to contribute to economic growth and social development in their communities. This Program has a particular focus on Africa, where 62% of the population is under the age of 25, and more than 2.2million youth are expected to enter the labour force between 2011 and 2015. Secondary and tertiary enrolment rates in Sub-Saharan Africa are the lowest in the world, yet the future of Africa will be shaped by its young people. For this reason, the Scholars Program aims to educate an estimated 15,000 young people from economically disadvantaged communities, to develop and educate the next generation African leaders, unified by a common philosophy of change and ethical leadership, and equipped to lead social and economic transformation in their communities.