University of Abomey-Calavi Becomes First Francophone West African University to Join Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

300 Next-Generation African Leaders and Entrepreneurs to Receive Quality Education and Entrepreneurship Training

Cotonou, Benin, November 9, 2017 – The University of Abomey-Calavi’s commitment to educating next-generation African leaders received a boost today with a seven-year, USD$6.2 million commitment from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. The new partnership, which for the first time expands the Scholars Program to Francophone West Africa, will benefit 300 bright young Africa leaders and entrepreneurs with a high-quality education, creating pathways to careers in science and technology, as well as business and entrepreneurship for youth whose academic talent and promise exceed their financial resources.

“The University of Abomey-Calavi is proud to collaborate with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, a partnership which has energized our commitment to youth leadership and entrepreneurship education,” explained Professor Brice Sinsin, President of the University of Abomey-Calavi. “We envision leading change in our community by putting students and researchers at the heart of local development, and fostering greater involvement of graduates through social action campaigns and community development projects.”

“Young Francophone Africans deserve every chance to study and thrive,” says Peter Materu, Director of Education and Learning and Youth Livelihoods, the Mastercard Foundation. “Strengthening higher education in Francophone West Africa is critical to ensuring that the region can meet the needs of growing markets. By working with the University of Abomey-Calavi, the Foundation hopes to foster stronger academic relationships and partnerships with other Francophone universities, improving higher education enrollment rates across the region.”

The Scholars Program at the University of Abomey-Calavi will have two components: the first will emphasize access to quality education for 200 Scholars in the fields of agronomic sciences, engineering sciences, computer sciences, and renewable energy. These students will also be admitted into the university’s pre-employment service, a workforce made up of graduates of the University of Abomey-Calavi focused on social entrepreneurship and will enable Scholars to share values and gain valuable work experience.

The second component of the partnership will focus on providing technical expertise for the development of ‘Startups Valley’, a business incubator program created by the University of Abomey-Calavi. Startups Valley will provide 100 Scholars with an opportunity to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, setting them on the path to successful entrepreneurship and enabling them to launch their own businesses, employ other students, and contribute to their economy.

The University of Abomey-Calavi joins a global network of 29 universities and non-governmental organizations committed to over 35,000 bright young leaders with a deep personal commitment to changing the world around them and improving the lives of others. The Scholars Program provides holistic student support, including comprehensive scholarships, leadership development, pre-employment, and industry-driven career services – developing highly skilled, transformative leaders to catalyze inclusive prosperity in Africa.

About Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information, please visit Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter.

About the University of Abomey-Calavi

Crée en 1970, l’Université d’Abomey-Calavi est la plus ancienne et la plus grande université publique du Bénin. Avec une population estudiantine estimée à 85.000 inscrits pour l’année universitaire 2016-2017, l’Université est un véritable lieu du savoir ayant formé la majorité des élites de la nation béninoise. L’Université d’Abomey-Calavi est un établissement d’enseignement et de recherche du supérieur offrant une grande variété de formation couvrant les domaines des sciences de la santé, sciences et technologies, sciences agronomiques, sciences juridiques et politiques, sciences économiques et de gestion, sciences humaines et sociales, lettres, arts et langages, et les sciences de l’éducation. L’Université d’Abomey-Calavi entretient des relations de coopération avec une multitude d’institutions d’enseignement supérieur dans le monde afin de renforcer la qualité de ses propres programmes de formation et de recherche. L’Université d’Abomey-Calavi est également récipiendaire de prix internationaux qui célèbrent la qualité de sa gouvernance académique et administrative. Pour en savoir plus, consulter

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