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Senior Director, Higher Education

Accra | Dakar | Addis Ababa | Kigali

  • Organization: Mastercard Foundation
  • Location: Accra | Dakar | Addis Ababa | Kigali
  • Grade: Senior Executive level - Senior Executive
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: Closed


Mastercard Foundation seeks a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. Through its Young Africa Works strategy and Canadian EleV program, the Foundation works with partners to ensure that millions of young people, especially young women, access quality education, financial services and dignified work. Mastercard Foundation was established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. The Foundation is independent with its own Board of Directors and CEO.


We are currently in an exciting period at the Mastercard Foundation as we intensify the implementation of the Young Africa Works strategy, aiming to empower 30 million young people throughout Africa to access dignified and fulfilling employment.

To ensure the Foundation's accessibility to our partners and program participants, we have established offices in Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Uganda. These offices provide strong in-country support for the implementation of Young Africa Works. We collaborate with governments, the private sector, educators, and other funders to enhance the quality of education and vocational training, equip young individuals with the necessary skills for the workforce, expand access to financial services for entrepreneurs and small businesses, and facilitate connections between job seekers and meaningful employment opportunities.

Our values serve as our guiding principles, transcending and surpassing all other considerations. We wholeheartedly encourage you to bring your bold ideas, curiosity, and expertise to your work.

If you are an experienced Higher Education professional looking to increase your impact, read on!


Reporting to the Executive Director, Education & Transitions, the Senior Director, Higher Education will be responsible for leading the Foundation’s efforts in initiating and managing strategic collaborations with institutions of higher learning. The primary focus of this role is to develop and implement higher education initiatives that accelerate opportunity generation for African youth.

The successful candidate will be based in any of our offices in Africa (Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, or Uganda).


  • Identify opportunities to create impact through higher education and developing interventions to provide access for Scholar’s program participants.
  • Develop a comprehensive strategy for engaging and forming partnerships with institutions of higher learning across Africa, aligned with the Foundation’s mission and goals.
  • Lead the conceptualization, design, and execution of innovative higher education initiatives that address the needs and aspirations of African youth, promoting skill development, entrepreneurship, leadership, and community engagement.
  • Identify collaboration opportunities within existing partner network and potential new partnerships.
  • Lead the integration of higher education initiatives with broader Scholar’s program and alignment with Young Africa Works strategy.
  • Oversee all aspects of program implementation, ensuring timelines, deliverables, and budgetary requirements are met effectively.
  • Provide support to partners and Scholars colleagues with implementation of higher education initiatives, including existing initiatives, ensuring safeguarding high quality of experience for scholars.
  • Build and nurture strong relationships with key stakeholders, including universities, academic leaders, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and industry partners.
  • Manage relationships with senior stakeholders at educational institutions and the broader Scholars community.


  • A master's or doctoral degree in a relevant field (e.g., Education, International Development, Business Administration).
  • Fifteen (15+) years of experience of significant senior level experience driving strategy and program success with organizations across multiple countries in Africa.
  • Ten (10+) years leadership and management experience of which at least seven years was gained in a multi-country environment in Africa, with a preference for private sector experience. 
  • Experience in education, development and/or public policy within nonprofit organizations, international NGO’s and/or learning institutions is also helpful. 
  • Experience leading major transformative programmatic change involving multiple stakeholders and rapid growth in the Education space.
  • Proven experience effectively engaging with senior government officials, key partners, media, business leaders and other influential individuals.
  • Deep understanding of the African higher education landscape, including challenges and opportunities.
  • Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to influence and engage a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Skilled communicator and influencer, from executive through to technical levels and external constituencies, know how to navigate ambiguous environments and are comfortable at managing up and beyond hierarchy.
  • Ability to build and engage teams. Effectively develop, lead, and provide strategic direction to a diverse team of leaders across multiple countries. Commitment to equality, diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Fosters a positive spirit of collaboration in a complex environment.
  • Results Orientation, innovative and entrepreneurial.
  • Visionary thinker with a passion for youth empowerment and social impact
  • Flexible, adaptable, agile, and able to execute a range of job duties with multiple deadlines and changing priorities.
  • Proven excellence in verbal, written, and presentation skills with the ability to articulate information to a variety of constituents across cultures and to distill complex information and data into accessible conversation and written pieces.
  • Possess professional maturity, sensitivity with different cultures, and impeccable integrity that exemplify the Foundation’s values.
  • You have a commitment to Mastercard Foundation’s values and vision.

Deadline for Applications is May 31, 2024.

Mastercard Foundation (the “Foundation”) values and respects your privacy. By submitting an application for this opportunity, you hereby agree to the Foundation’s collection, use and disclosure of your personal information in accordance with its Privacy Policy (available at Please note that the Foundation may share your personal information with third-party agencies that support the Foundation’s recruitment activities, and such third-party agencies may contact you directly regarding this opportunity. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Foundation’s Privacy Officer at the address indicated in its Privacy Policy.

The Mastercard Foundation values the unique skills and experiences each individual brings to the organization and we are committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and accessible environment for everyone.

Completion of satisfactory business references and background checks are essential conditions of employment.

For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit
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This vacancy is now closed.
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