Oxford’s new MBA scholarship to empower African women
A new Oxford MBA scholarship designed to empower high-potential African women to engage in the economic development of the continent has been launched.
The scholarship was announced by Dean Peter Tufano at the School’s annual Oxford Business Forum Africa event recently.
From 2019, the Adara Foundation, in partnership with Oxford University, will fund a full scholarship for an exceptional female MBA candidate from Africa for three years. The Foundation shares Saïd Business School’s commitment to fostering greater gender parity in education and increasing levels of investment in talented individuals from across Africa.
“Throughout Africa, women’s lower education levels limit their ability to contribute more meaningfully to socio-economic development on the continent. Initiatives like this are important as education is one of the most crucial areas of empowerment for women,” said Yvonne Ike, founder of the Adara Foundation, a non-profit social enterprise in Nigeria, which focuses on empowering women and advancing education in Africa.
The scholarship, open to female candidates of an African nationality, covers the full MBA programme fee and living expenses. Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to return to their home country upon completion of the one-year MBA programme to contribute to Africa’s business and socio-economic development.
According to the African Development Bank, eliminating gender inequality and empowering women could raise the productive potential of one billion Africans, delivering a huge boost to the continent’s development potential.
“Women will play an increasingly critical role in harnessing the challenges, driving the development of the global economy and importantly, the development of Africa – they need to be better supported to do so,” said Ike.
“My hope is that the Oxford – Adara Foundation Scholarships will inspire others to consider taking similar action to support African women who have a vital role to play in the global economy, and particularly within Africa,” she added.
Peter Tufano, Dean of Saïd Business School said, ‘At our recent Oxford Business Forum Africa, one of the keynote speakers noted that the two engines for growth in the world would 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. That is why I am delighted to announce the Oxford-Adara Foundation Scholarship Programme which will support highly talented African women during their time at the School and inspire them to drive this engine of growth.’
Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and keynote speaker at the recent Oxford Business Forum Africa, said ‘The Oxford-Adara Foundation Scholarship for African women is the first of its kind initiative and it is most welcome and most needed. The business school here has a clear focus on Africa, and I think putting the scholarship here will help build a strong community of African women in business. I want to thank Yvonne Ike for this initiative.’
During the opening session of the Oxford Business Forum Africa, Arunma Oteh, Executive-in-Residence at Saïd Business School and former Treasurer, World Bank said,‘A top priority for Africa in 2019, and indeed beyond, is that of inclusive growth. Strengthening women’s empowerment and gender equality will accelerate the achievement of this goal.’
The scholarships will be available for the 2019-20 academic year and no separate application will be needed as all students meeting the criteria will automatically be considered.