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The Mastercard Foundation (MCF)


The Mastercard Foundation is an independent foundation based in Toronto, Canada. It is one of the largest private foundations in the world. Through its work with partner organizations, it provides greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Foundation was established as an independent entity in 2006 by MasterCard Worldwide when it became a public company. No company executives serve on the Foundation’s Board of Directors. All decisions are determined by the Foundation’s Board of Directors and President and CEO.


The Foundation’s programs are serving more than 6 million people in 49 developing countries. Our funding and partnerships are concentrated in 26 countries in Africa and provide a combination of skills-building, education, employment and access to financial services.

The continent is home to the world’s youngest population, seven of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies, and an emerging movement of dynamic entrepreneurs. There are now 600 million people under the age of 25. By 2045, that number will double. This generation has an unprecedented opportunity to lead the profound transformation. The world is looking at Africa afresh.

However, challenges to realizing this potential remain. Tens of millions of people on the continent lack access to financial services, are unable to obtain quality education, or cannot take advantage of opportunities to move out of poverty. These women and men are unable to participate in the global economy.

We have chosen to contribute to the new story of an inclusive, more equitable Africa. We are encouraging collaboration and network-building among our partners so that proven models and approaches can be scaled. We believe this will allow people to create their own pathways out of poverty.


Financial Inclusion

The goal of the Financial Inclusion Program is to improve the well-being of people living in poverty by ensuring they have access to financial services.

Education and Learning

The goal of the Education and Learning Program is to enable access to quality, relevant secondary and tertiary education for economically disadvantaged youth and to develop next-generation leaders who will support social and economic transformation.

Youth Livelihoods

The goal of this program is to enable young people to transition to employment. It provides out-of-school, unemployed young people with market-relevant skills, connections to employers, and access to financial services.


The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

$500 million Enable students to complete quality secondary or university education and become catalysts for social and economic transformation across Africa. In Africa, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi and Ashesi University College, Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), Africa Leadership Academy and Makerere University are partners in this area.

BRAC Uganda $25 million Scale BRAC’s microfinance multiplied approach in Uganda and serve four million people. This project also supports the education of young people.

Save the Children $39.8 million Improve economic opportunities for rural, out-of-school youth in the agricultural sector in rural communities in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Egypt, Malawi and Uganda.

International Finance Corporation $37.4 million Increase access to financial services for the poor by scaling up IFC’s strongest cohort of microfinance institutions, expanding innovative business models in mobile financial services, and facilitating best practices.

African Leadership Academy

$9.2 million Expand the Anzisha Program for youth entrepreneurship in Africa. Provide ongoing support and mentorship to Anzisha Prize applicants and Fellows.

Opportunity International Canada

$22.7 million Scale access to financial services, including savings, agriculture finance and education finance in Ghana, Malawi, Uganda and Rwanda.

Equity Group Foundation $62.6 million Provide high-quality secondary education to academically talented, yet economically disadvantaged young people, through the Equity Group Foundation’s Wings to Fly scholarship program.

Campaign for Female Education (Camfed)

$10.1 million Scale secondary education and financial literacy training for 270,000 disadvantaged young women in rural communities in Ghana and Malawi. Internships will be piloted to help these women develop green businesses to diversify rural entrepreneurship options.

One Acre Fund $10 million Expand access to financial services and training for smallholder farmers in Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi and scale outreach to an additional 181,000 clients.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is a $500 million, 10-year initiative to educate and prepare young people – particularly from Africa – to lead change and make a positive social impact in their communities.

The Scholars Program provides young people from economically disadvantaged communities who have demonstrated academic talent and leadership potential with access to quality and relevant education.

A group of students

The Program will serve an estimated 15,000 young people at the secondary and university levels. It has a particular focus on Africa, which has the world’s youngest population structure.  The continent is experiencing unprecedented economic   growth; yet, it faces the lowest secondary and university education enrolment rates in comparison with the rest of the world.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program provides access to secondary and higher education for young people who are committed to giving back to their communities. It is designed to provide students with holistic support, including the following:

Comprehensive Scholarships Students receive financial support for fees, uniforms, books and supplies, transportation, accommodation, and stipends.

Skills Training Students benefit from enrichment in areas relevant to employment success, such as critical thinking, communications, and entrepreneurship.

Transition Support Students receive support during their transition into secondary school, university or the workforce with mentoring, career counseling, internships, leadership development, and other life skills coaching.

Give-Back Component An integral component of the Program is the commitment from the Scholars to give back to their communities and countries of origin. Students demonstrate this commitment through volunteerism and community service, as well as other forms of experiential learning.

Alumni Network Graduates of the Scholars Program will be connected through an alumni network that offers information, resources, and opportunities to consult with other graduates.

Scholars Students selected for The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program are provided with opportunities to realize their full potential. Through Foundation partners, they receive holistic financial, academic, and emotional support as they transition from secondary to university education and into the workforce. Scholars will build core competencies such as critical thinking, problem solving, and working across diverse groups to ensure their success in the global economy.
Partner institutions will identify and select young men and women from economically disadvantaged communities who have demonstrated the following attributes.

Academic Talent Scholars value learning and have the drive to complete their education.

Commitment to Giving Back Scholars have a demonstrated commitment to improving their communities.

Potential to Lead Scholars will become role models, mentors, and problem solvers.

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)

Historical background

Kwame Nkrumah University Entrance


The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology grew out of the Kumasi College of Technology which was established by a Government Ordinance on 6th October, 1951The College was officially opened on 22nd January, 1952 with 200 Teacher Training students transferred from Achimota College in Accra at the coast, to form the nucleus of this new College 250 kilometers up country in the forest belt.

In October, 1952, the School of Engineering and the Department of Commerce were established and the first students were admitted. From 1952 to 1955, the School of Engineering prepared students for professional qualifications only. In 1955, the School embarked on courses leading to the University of London Bachelor of Engineering External Degree Examinations.

A Pharmacy Department was established in January, 1953, with the transfer of the former School of Pharmacy from Korle-Bu Hospital, Accra, to the College. The Department ran a two-year comprehensive course in Pharmacy leading to the award of the Pharmacy Board Certificate.

A Department of Agriculture was opened in the same year to provide a number of ad hoc courses of varying duration, from a few terms to three years, for the Ministry of Agriculture. A Department of General Studies was also instituted to prepare students for the Higher School Certificate Examinations (Advance  level) in both Science and Arts subjects and to give instruction in such subjects as were requested by the other departments to make successful candidates eligible for  degree courses they offer.

Once established, the College began to grow and in 1957, the School of Architecture, Town Planning and Building was inaugurated and its first students were admitted in January, 1958, for professional courses in Architecture, Town Planning and Building Technology. As the College expanded, it was decided to make the Kumasi College of Technology a purely science and technology institution. In pursuit of this policy, the Teacher Training College, with the exception of the Art School (considered as running Technological programs), was transferred in January, 1958, to the Winneba Training College (whose nucleus has become part of the present day University of Education Winneba)., In 1959, the Commerce Department was transferred to Achimota to form the nucleus of the present School of Administration of the University of Ghana, Legon.

Accession to University Status – The birth of KNUST

In December, 1960, the Government of Ghana appointed a University Commission to advise it on the future development of University Education in Ghana, in connection with the proposal to transform both the University College of Ghana and the Kumasi College of Technology into two independent Universities in Ghana.

Following the report of the commission which came out early 1961, the Kumasi College of Technology was thus transformed into a full-fledged University and 1961re-named Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (after the President of the 1st Republic of Ghana) by an Act of Parliament on 22nd August, 1961. It was officially inaugurated on Wednesday, 20th November 1961,

The University's name was changed to University of Science and Technology after the military coup d'état of 24th February, 1966 which overthrew the president of the 1st Republic, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah). However, by another act of Parliament, Act 559 of 1998, the University has reverted to her original name of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, (KNUST) Kumasi.

Image of Statue of Kwame Nkrumah

The University is situated approximately on a sixteen square-kilometre campus of undulating land and pleasant surroundings, about seven kilometres away from the central business district of the city of Kumasi. The campus presents a panorama of beautiful and modern buildings interspersed with verdant lawns and tropical flora, which provide a cool and a refreshing atmosphere congenial to academic studies. It has within; in Universities’ terms “the short 60 years “of its existence become an important centre for the training of scientists and technologists not only for Ghana, but also for other African countries as well as other parts of the world. The University started awarding its own degrees in June 1964.  Sixty years down the lane, the University has kept the tradition of getting all degree examinations reviewed by external examiners and moderators to ensure that high academic standards are maintained.


KNUST has, since January 2005, transformed from its previous centralized system of administration into significantly and progressively decentralizing form in a Collegiate System. Under this system, the various faculties and departments have been condensed into six largely autonomous Colleges.

Since its inception, the University had been administered on a Faculty-based system. This naturally led to a situation, as the university expanded from a few hundred students into the present 40,000+ students, in which new Faculties and Institutes were created to meet the ever-growing academic pursuits of students. The resultant collection of Faculties largely hampered efficient administrative and academic operations, as duplication of efforts and long administrative processes were rampant.

The need to deal with these complexities and harmonize the operation of the existing structures became apparent and unavoidable so the creation of Colleges to align related faculties and Departments. True to the vision to make KNUST the model for technological education in Africa and succeeding Vice-Chancellors’ commitment to academic excellence, the Collegiate System came into being with the promulgation of the new statutes on November 29, 2004.

Image of Library Entrance

Each college is headed by an administrative head, the Provost, supported by the Deans of Faculties, Heads of Department, College Registrars, College Accountants and College Librarians. Under these Provosts, key university functions such as Matriculation, Orientation of freshmen and Congregations are decentralized

These changes are progressively dynamic and for the 2014/2015 academic year, the College of Art which since 2014 been grouped with College of Arts and Social Sciences is to join the College of Architecture and Planning as a more natural fit.

MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at KNUST

Exceeding Limits, Transform.

Our goal is to raise transformational leaders to influence change on the African Continent.

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at KNUST provides academically talented yet economically disadvantaged young people in Ghana and Africa with access to quality and relevant university education.  It embodies an array of mentoring and cultural transition services to ensure student academic success, community engagement and transition to employment opportunities which will further social and economic change for Africa.