Mastercard Foundation Convenes Edtech Conference on Resilient and Inclusive Learning in Africa

Prof. Tahir Mamman, Honorable Minister of Education of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, welcoming delegates attending the Mastercard Foundation #EdTechConference2024.
10 July 2024
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The Mastercard Foundation, an international non-governmental organization, kicked off its inaugural EdTech conference today with an important question.

"How do we build resilient and inclusive EdTech ecosystems?" asked Rosy Fynn, Country Director Nigeria, Mastercard Foundation, in a room of over 500 people.

She posed this question to a high-level opening panel: Dr Bosun Tijani, Nigeria’s Minister of Communication s , Innovation, and Digital Economy; Joseph Nsengimana, Director, Mastercard Foundation Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning; andAlbert Nsengiyumva, Executive Secretary, Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA).

Dr. 'Bosun Tijani, Minister of Communication, Innovation & Digital Economy for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, at the Mastercard Foundation #EdTechConference2024.

Tijani pointed out the need for a growing literacy agenda where Africans can be digital literates and bridge the connection between the government and the private sector. For Nsengimana, success in EdTech can be achieved when ecosystem players design a forward pathway with inclusivity in mind. One solution is a collaboration between EdTech innovators, telcos, and the government. Nsengiyumva called for more synergy between policymakers and foundations that invest in education.

The Director of the Mastercard Foundation Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning, Joseph Nsengimana, said conversations about helping EdTech companies are part of the reason the conference is being hosted in Nigeria.

Prof. Peter Materu, Chief Program Officer for the Mastercard Foundation giving his opening remarks at the Mastercard Foundation #EdTechConference2024

“We want to bring stakeholders and the government together to have conversations about what is missing,” said Nsengimana on the sidelines of the conference. "What is your wish list? What kind of goals do you want to see that will make your job easier."

With over 200 tech hubs in Africa, funding constraints have slowed growth in the EdTech sector. Despite receiving $81 million of investments in 2021, the number of funded companies in Africa fell from 29 in 2021 to 23 in 2023.

Limited access to internet connectivity, infrastructure, and electricity have persisted as significant roadblocks to improving EdTech. Ojoma Ochai, a panelist and managing director of CCHub, mentioned the difficulty of acquiring data for educational innovation.

Funding constraints and scalability emerged as critical pain points. The Mastercard Foundation hopes to address these issues by sharing successful strategies and fostering ICT innovations. "If you look at the publishing, the publishers are making money from books. How can we make it make sense for the investor?” Nsengimana added.

The Foundation plans to facilitate knowledge sharing among the 144 startups it has already supported.

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