Top 5 Scholarships for African Students
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Top 5 Scholarships for African Students


Top 5 Scholarships for African Students

Pursuing higher education abroad can be an enriching experience for students from Africa. However, the high costs involved often pose significant financial challenges. Scholarships provide valuable opportunities for talented African students to study at reputed international universities.


In this article, we will explore the top 5 scholarship programs specifically designed for African students. Each program is unique in terms of eligibility criteria, award amounts, and subject specializations. A thorough understanding of these scholarships can help prospective students make informed choices to finance their international education.

Let’s start our review by defining some key concepts:

Understanding Scholarship Types

Scholarships generally fall under two broad categories:

  1. Merit-based scholarships: These awards are given based on a student’s academic, extracurricular, or other special achievements. Top-performing candidates are selected purely on merit without consideration of financial need.
  2. Need-based scholarships: Financial need is the primary determining factor for these awards. Students must demonstrate that they require financial assistance to pursue further studies. Academic merit may be a secondary selection criterion.

Knowing the difference between merit-based and need-based scholarships is important to identify funding options suited to one’s profile and priorities. Most programs discussed here consider both merit and need in their selection processes.


1 Chevening Scholarship

  • Offered by: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) of the UK government
  • Eligibility: Open to outstanding postgraduate applicants from all over the world including Africa. Candidates must have a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree and 2 years of full-time work experience.


  • Value: Fully funded tuition fees and a monthly maintenance allowance for 1 year of study in any subject at any UK university. In some cases, partial funding is also available for courses longer than 1 year.
  • Specialization: A wide variety of Master’s programs across all disciplines from Politics, Law, and Business to Sciences, Engineering, and Arts.
  • Standing: The Chevening Scholarship is one of the most prestigious awards for international students seeking to study in the UK. Alumni often credit it with launching their successful careers.


  • Application process: Candidates must submit an online application, references, academic transcripts, language test scores, and more by early October each year. Shortlisted candidates face interviews in their home countries.
  • Why it’s a top pick: The generous full funding along with the high esteem associated make this a highly sought-after scholarship for deserving African graduates.

2 DAAD Scholarships

  • Offered by: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • Eligibility: Masters, PhD, and advanced research programs are funded. The minimum qualification is a Bachelor’s degree with above-average results. Work experience and language skills may also be evaluated.


  • Value: Covers full or partial tuition fees, medical insurance, and a monthly stipend for living costs in Germany which is among the higher amounts offered globally.
  • Specialization: Virtually all subject areas are supported across 500+ partner universities in Germany. Popular fields are STEM, Development Studies, Economics, and Language courses.


  • Application process: Online applications must be submitted directly to preferred German universities and supervisors by respective decentralized deadlines typically in Fall/Winter.
  • Standing: DAAD is the largest global sponsor of study and research in Germany. Its scholarships aid international cooperation in higher education.
  • Why it’s a top pick: The reputed universities, affordable living costs relative to other countries, and high stipends attract many deserving African students each year to further their education on DAAD funding.

3 African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Fellowship

  • Offered by: The McKnight Foundation and World Food Prize Foundation
  • Eligibility: Open to female agricultural researchers and professionals from Sub-Saharan Africa. Fellows must hold at least a Bachelor’s degree with 2+ years of experience.
  • Value: Provides fully funded Master’s and PhD fellowships at premier African partner universities. Covers tuition, travel, living allowance, and more.
  • Specialization: All agricultural research areas including soil health, crop production, agribusiness, extension services, etc.


  • Application process: Calls for proposals are announced annually in February. Applicants submit CVs, transcripts, and detailed project proposals by mid-May.
  • Standing: AWARD is the premier fellowship fostering agricultural leadership in Africa through advanced education of women. It advocates for their greater participation.
  • Why it’s a top pick: Supports higher education of African women in a sector crucial to empowerment and food security across the continent. Exceptional applicants receive funding at top-ranked regional universities.

4 GWIZ Scholarship Program

  • Offered by: Government of Rwanda
  • Eligibility: Available to Rwandan nationals pursuing first undergraduate degrees, diplomas, certificates, or TVET qualifications in Rwanda. Merit and financial need considered.
  • Value: Covers full tuition and other academic expenses at accredited public and private higher learning institutions in Rwanda.


  • Specialization: All fields are funded including Agriculture, Engineering, Health Sciences, Education, and more.
  • Application process: The online scholarship portal remains open throughout the year. Students submit applications with academic transcripts and income documents.
  • Standing: GWIZ is the Rwandan government’s premier initiative for local youth empowerment through skills training and education.


  • Why it’s a top pick: Enables aspiring Rwandans to access higher education opportunities within the country at zero personal cost, thereby developing domestic human capital.

5 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program

  • Offered by: U.S. Department of State with Foundation support
  • Eligibility: Working professionals with a minimum of 5 years experience in public or private sector roles in eligible countries including many in Africa.


  • Value: Full scholarships for 1 academic year (Fall to Spring semesters) at leading American universities. Covers tuition, health insurance, housing, living stipend, and travel.
  • Specialization: Development studies focusing on topics like democracy & governance, economic development, public health, etc.


  • Application process: Announced each Fall with January deadlines. Candidates submit applications online along with recommendations and essays.
  • Standing: Prestigious Fellowship named after the late U.S. Vice President known for advocating cooperation among nations.


  • Why it’s a top pick: Provides advanced research and experiential learning opportunities in the U.S. for mid-career African leaders to grow their development expertise. Outstanding alumni network benefits career growth.



In this article, we assessed the five most prestigious international scholarship programs dedicated to African students. Factors like funding amounts, eligibility requirements, areas of study, and application procedures were analyzed for each award. 


While academic excellence and leadership potential are prioritized uniformly, some focus more on undergraduate support whereas others fund postgraduate research.

Choosing the right scholarship match requires understanding individual objectives and priorities. Consultation with university counselors or program administrators also aids informed decision-making. 


These top opportunities open diverse pathways abroad for ambitious African talent to access world-class education and training. With diligent applications, the scholarly community stands to gain tremendously through their pursuit of knowledge and skills.


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