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Aga Khan Foundation Scholarship Programme for African Students

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Aga Khan Foundation Scholarship Programme for African Students

As a young African aspiring to forward your studies, you might be looking out for scholarships opportunities to grab. The good news is that many funded options are open to Africans out there. The Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship program is one of these life-changing opportunities.

There are many skirmishes you will likely encounter on the path of pursuing this opportunity, as it is with many others. However, this article ensures that you don’t end up stranded in the process. Read on to get more information and increase your chances of success.



The Aga Khan Foundation is a private non-profit international organization. Its head office is in Geneva, Switzerland, but it functions in several parts of the globe.

The organization’s goal is to provide long-term solutions to societal problems like hunger, health issues, poverty, and illiteracy. It generally seeks long-term solutions to these problems in the poorest parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Founded in 1967, it is the product of the 49th Hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims – Aga Khan IV. The company understands that the problems of these rural areas can be beyond their abilities most times.

With this knowledge, they direct all activities towards providing relief for individuals within this context.

Since its inception, the organization has done an incredible job reaching out to lives within its areas of operation. They have also cooperated with several agencies and universities around their regions to reach out further.

The agency’s area of focus includes strengthening and growing the society, rural development, and advancement of innovative ideas. It also touches on community participation, gender, and human resource issues.


The Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme is for postgraduate students with financial needs. Every year, the Foundation gives a limited number of international scholarships to academically sound students within their area of operation.

The scholarship is also open to prospects pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree program in the United States. The application is presently open for students from Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Madagascar, Uganda, and Mozambique within Africa. It is also available for students from Pakistan, Syria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and India outside Africa.


The Foundation assists students with their tuition fees and living expenses exclusively and does not provide additional support outside this. It aims at preparing scholars for employment by helping them as they seek out their means of livelihood.

For Ph.D. programs, the funding lasts for two years only. After these two years, the agency expects students to stand on their feet or seek out other means of income.

Half of the scholarship is a loan with a 5% service charge every year. It follows a 50% grant ratio 50% loan method through a yearly competitive application process. You have a period of five years to pay back, starting six months after the period the foundation funds you.

For this agreement, you will need a guarantor to co-sign.

The scholarship favors Master’s level courses the most but also considers Ph.D. programs. The agency considers Ph.D. programs, especially when the student is outstanding, with a high professor’s recommendation to back it.

Furthermore, they consider such students if the Ph.D. is compulsory for career fulfillment, especially academic or research-orientated studies.

They do not accept short-term courses. They also reject applications from students who have started their course of study.


The Aga Khan Scholarship eligibility contains three categories that you must consider before applying. These categories comprise factors that come into play when checking if the scholarship is right for you. They include:

  • Geographical Locations

The agency might not consider outside India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, Tajikistan, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar.

However, the Aga Khan Foundation may still consider students in Portugal, France, the USA, the UK, and Canada. This consideration depends on factors like the student having other means of financing their studies. The student must also be from any earlier mentioned countries and interested in development-related studies.

  • Area of Residence

The Foundation doesn’t accept applications from students living in the earlier mentioned countries. However, they can also consider students residing in countries where their offices for processing admissions are present

  • Age Bracket

The scholarship typically favors students under the age of thirty.


Before you apply for the scholarship, ensure you are eligible for the scholarship. Once you have settled this and met all criteria, you can proceed with the application.

First, obtain the form from any Aga Khan Foundation offices or educational services and boards.  The forms are available from January 1 to March 31 each year in the countries of residence of these boards.

Once you have obtained the form, please fill them out with the information required. Ensure you fill these forms accurately and honestly, as you will not want to miss the opportunity due to wrong information.

When you have completed your application, forward it to their resident agency, where you obtained the form. This is because of the decentralized application process. Furthermore, don’t send your application to Geneva, where the headquarters reside unless you obtained your form from there.

Also, remember that some of the countries’ deadlines may not be March 31.  For example, the deadline for India is March 21, and that of Portugal is March 28. To avoid making mistakes, contact the local offices in your region for the internal deadline dates.

You should contact these offices for details on the scholarship’s requirements. In some cases, this may also vary from country to country.

After your application, prepare to undergo an interview by local Scholarship Committees on your financial condition. The interview will cover topics like your extra-curricular achievements, career goals, and academic qualities.

The selection meeting for the scholarship takes place between late June and early July annually. After this meeting, the organization will update the students on the results of their application.

For any other additional information on the scholarship as a whole, you can visit the website as well.


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