Picture: 123RF/Dmytro Sidelnikov
Picture: 123RF/Dmytro Sidelnikov

A new MBA scholarship that is designed to empower high-potential African women has been launched by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School. The aim is for the women to engage in the economic development of the continent.

The Adara Foundation, in partnership with Oxford University, will fund a full scholarship for a female MBA candidate from Africa for three years. The foundation is a Nigeria-based, nonprofit social enterprise which focuses on empowering women and advancing education in Africa.

“Throughout Africa, women’s lower education levels limit their ability to contribute more meaningfully to socio-economic development. Initiatives like this are important, as education is one of the most crucial areas of empowerment for women,” says Yvonne Ike, founder of the foundation.

The scholarship, open to female candidates of any African nationality, covers the full MBA programme fee and living expenses. Candidates must commit to return to their home country upon completion of the one-year MBA programme.

According to the African Development Bank, eliminating gender inequality and empowering women could raise the productive potential of a billion Africans.

“Women will play an increasingly critical role in harnessing the challenges and driving the development of the global economy and, importantly, the development of Africa,” says Ike. “They need to be better supported to do so.”

Business school dean Peter Tufano says: “At our recent Oxford Business Forum Africa, one of the keynote speakers said the two engines for growth in the world will be women and Africa. We are trying to ensure that our community is positioned to lead the way on both fronts. We have been proud to recruit more than 10% of our class from Africa since 2016, and to be pushing towards greater gender equality in our MBA programme.”

The scholarships will be available for the 2019-2020 academic year. No application will be needed as all students meeting the criteria will automatically be considered.