Announcing a new endowment from Mastercard Foundation to Ashesi University Foundation Canada

The new partnership will help drive inclusive access to high-quality learning across Africa, boost innovation in higher education, and support youth entrepreneurship.
Mastercard Foundation's Leadership with Leadership and Students at Ashesi

December 14, 2022 | Toronto, Canada – Ashesi University Foundation Canada has received an endowment to establish the “Mastercard Foundation Endowment for Educational Excellence”, which will enable world-class, inclusive higher education in Africa while driving innovation and entrepreneurship on the continent. The endowment will implement key programs and initiatives at Ashesi University in Ghana. Specifically, the new endowment with Ashesi University Foundation Canada will:

  • Enable the continuity of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Ashesi University in Ghana, supporting 1,500 new Scholars at Ashesi each decade into perpetuity.
  • Deepen the work of an Ashesi University-led Education Collaborative, which will bring universities together to transform learning outcomes for at least 1 million students by 2030.
  • Provide 400 students and alumni from Ashesi University with the funding to start or grow businesses in Africa each decade into perpetuity.

The partnership with the Ashesi University Foundation Canada builds on a decade of work between the Ashesi Community and the Mastercard Foundation. This collaboration began under the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program — an education and leadership development initiative that supports talented young people, primarily in Africa, who face economic and social barriers to learning but share a deep commitment to service. Ashesi University was among the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program’s nine pioneering partners and the first African University partner in a network where more than 50 percent of higher education partners are now African universities.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program has reached over 40,000 young people since its inception, over 75 percent of whom are young women. More than 600 of these Scholars enrolled at Ashesi University, of whom 375 have graduated. Over the last decade, as part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program’s work, Ashesi University has trained nearly 1,000 high school students in Robotics, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and the Creative Arts through the Ashesi Innovation Experience, and supported the creation of 400 youth-led  businesses. This new partnership with Ashesi University Foundation Canada comes as Ashesi University marks its 20th anniversary, and the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program celebrates a decade of transformative impact and learning.

“This partnership is a significant force multiplier for Ashesi’s work in higher education,” said Ashesi University Foundation Canada Board Member and Founder and President of Ashesi University, Patrick Awuah. “It permits us to advance boldly into Ashesi’s third decade, for which we have ambitious goals to transform learning outcomes for thousands of African students, educate more ethical entrepreneurial leaders, and deepen higher education’s role in Africa’s growth and success.”

Strengthening Africa’s higher education ecosystem is a crucial focus of the Ashesi-led Education Collaborative, which seeks to bring together over 100 higher education institutions to exchange insights and increase collective impact. The Collaborative has already impacted outcomes for 149,000 students and helped strengthen several universities.

“One of the key things that came as a result of the partnership with The Education Collaborative was helping us to ground our curriculum in African norms while incorporating best global practices,” shared Kader Kaneye, President of African Development University. “Instead of merely duplicating models, the partnership provides us with the expertise and assistance to help us think about our context, challenges, and issues, and then co-design concrete solutions in that regard.”

With its focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, the endowment partnership will also support innovators like Khadijahtu Mohammed – a Mastercard Foundation Scholar who graduated from Ashesi with a degree in electrical and electronic engineering. While at Ashesi, Khadijahtu designed a potentially life-saving, low-cost incubator for pre-term babies in rural Ghana that was named a first-place finalist in the 2020 edition of a leading global science competition called Falling Walls Lab. Enabling young people to lead, solve problems, and create work opportunities aligns closely with the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy, which seeks to enable 30 million young people in Africa, particularly young women, to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.

“We believe, as Ashesi does, that the purpose of education is to prepare young people for work and leadership in a dynamic world,” said Mastercard Foundation President and CEO Reeta Roy. “Over the last 10 years, we have had a remarkable partnership with Ashesi supporting catalytic young leaders shaping Africa’s future. In the next decade, we will also work to strengthen a network of institutions that share this vision for relevant and inclusive higher education, so we can impact even more young people and, through them, the world.”

Africa has the youngest and fastest-growing population in the world. By 2030, there will be 375 million young people in the job market in Africa, who can serve as a force for Africa’s transformation if they have the skills and knowledge to build and contribute to the economic drivers of Africa’s future. Higher education plays a critical role in catalysing this potential but must be relevant and accessible to achieve its mandate.

FAQs: Mastercard Foundation’s Endowment for Educational Excellence at Ashesi University Foundation Canada

About the Ashesi University Foundation Canada
Ashesi University Foundation Canada was established in Canada as a registered charity in 2021 for the purpose of advancing education and supporting entrepreneurship and workforce readiness for young people. It is part of the Ashesi community, which includes Ashesi University (a private non-profit university in Ghana), and Ashesi University Foundation (a U.S. 501 (c) (3) organisation). The mission of Ashesi University Foundation Canada, Ashesi University Foundation US, and Ashesi University is to advance the education of ethical and entrepreneurial leaders in Africa and raise the bar for educational outcomes in Africa.

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About Ashesi University
Ashesi is a private, non-profit liberal arts university located in Ghana, West Africa. With an academic program designed in collaboration with some of the world’s best universities, and in partnership with local and multinational employers across Ghana, Ashesi has a vision of an African renaissance driven by a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial leaders. Founded in 2002, Ashesi offers a four-year Bachelor’s program grounded in a liberal arts core curriculum, featuring majors in Computer Science, Business Administration, Management Information Systems, and Mechanical, Computer and Electronic & Electrical Engineering. Ashesi University also hosts the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre, a climate-focused business incubator and training centre currently funded by Global Affairs Canada.

For more information, please visit:

About 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. It 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 offices in Toronto, Kigali, Accra, Nairobi, Kampala, Lagos, Dakar, and Addis Ababa.

For more information on the Foundation, please visit: | Follow Mastercard Foundation on Twitter at: @MastercardFdn.


Ashesi University Foundation Canada
Meredith Lee
Executive Director

Ashesi University
Ebenezer Buckman
Chief of Staff to the President &
Director of University Communications,
+233 302 610 330

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