In 2012, The MasterCard Foundation launched The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, which will provide comprehensive support to more than 15,000 deserving young people over 10 years so they can successfully complete their secondary and university education. Scholars will have the opportunity to learn, be mentored, as well as develop their talent and pursue their aspirations. Over 70 percent of MasterCard Foundation Scholars will be young women. The goal of the Program is to create a cohort of next-generation leaders supporting social transformation and economic growth, particularly in Africa.
In line with this goal, the Program is designed to foster transformative leadership by equipping Scholars with the knowledge, tools, capacity and motivation to make a difference in their countries and regions of origin in the future.1 As part of an effort to consider what transformative leadership means to the Scholars and how their leadership capacities can best be supported, the Foundation and several of its institutional partners commissioned a scan of women’s transformative leadership in Africa. This report draws on that scan, as well as other sources.
The purpose of this report is to provide a review of recent developments in women’s transformative leadership in Africa. It seeks to contribute to building the evidence base on what is currently available to support and sustain these young leaders. To do so, the report frst reviews the landscape, including both barriers and opportunities, and examines a sample of programs that exist to support and cultivate women’s leadership on the continent. It identifies gaps in these programs and explores some potential complements to existing programs. Finally, it lays out gaps in knowledge and a possible agenda for future research, and concludes by making several recommendations for strengthening the field of women’s transformative leadership, in Africa and beyond.