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First 10 female presidents in Africa

Slyvie Kiningi becomes the first acting female President in Africa, but Ellen Johnson Sirleaf becomes the first elected female President in Africa. Thus Slyvie Kiningi becomes the African first female President. The overview of 10 female presidents in Africa.

Samia Suluhu Hassan was officially sworn in as President of Tanzania, thereby making the counter move to 10 female presidents in Africa so far. This is one of the many unknown great stories of African women. The narrative we often hear is negative, portraying the African woman’s struggle and never her victories.

It is undeniable the contribution of women to what Africa is today. However, recovery from the ravages of colonization and the slave trade has been prolonged. This profile of African women heads of state aims to tell a different side of their story and, most importantly, to inspire today’s and tomorrow’s generations of African women to be greater than those who came before them.

These are the African female Presidents as of 2021

1. Slyvie Kiningi (Acting President of Burundi)

Slyvie Kiningi (Acting President of Burundi)
Slyvie Kiningi (Acting President of Burundi)

Slyvie Kiningi becomes the first female President in Africa. She was Prime Minister of Burundi from 10 February 1993 to 7 October 1994. During this period, she served as acting President of the country from 27 October 1993 to 5 February 1994, when incumbent President Melchior Ndadaye was shot along with six of his officials. After his death, Kiningi assembled 15 ministers to continue running the country. She thus formally became the first woman president in Africa.

2. Ivy Matsepe-Cassaburri (Acting President of South Africa)

Ivy Matsepe-Cassaburri (Acting President of South Africa)
Ivy Matsepe-Cassaburri (Acting President of South Africa)

The second acting female President in Africa is Ivy Matsepe-Kassaburi. She was an interim President of South Africa when the President and his deputy left the country for four days in September 2005. Ivy was elected by the Cabinet as the constitutional and official head of state for an interim period at 2 pm on 25 September 2008. This was between the resignation of the current President, Thabo Mbeki, and the assumption of office by Kgalema Motlanthe.

3. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (President of Liberia)

These African women occupy high political offices
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (President of Liberia)

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the first female elected African President to serve two consecutive terms after winning the 2005 and 2011 presidential elections. She originally ran for President in 1997 against Charles Taylor but lost. In June 2016, during her tenure, she was also elected President of the Economic Community of West African States.

4. Rose Francine Rogombe (Acting President of Gabon)

Rose Francine Rogombe (Acting President of Gabon)
Rose Francine Rogombe (Acting President of Gabon)

Rosa Francine Rogombe served as acting President of Gabon from June 2009 to October 2009 following President Omar Bongo’s death. As President of the Senate, she automatically became head of state because, according to the constitution, she was first due for the presidential succession.

5. Agnes Monique Ohsan Bellepeau (Acting President of Mauritius)

Agnes Monique Ohsan Bellepeau (Acting President of Mauritius)
Agnes Monique Ohsan Bellepeau (Acting President of Mauritius)

The first African female President to become acting President twice is Agnes Monique Ohsan Bellepeau. She was Acting President of Mauritius from 31 March 2012 to 21 July 2012. This was a transitional period between the resignation of President Anerod Jagnauth and the inauguration of the new President Kailash Purriaga. She again served as Acting President between Purrjag’s resignation and the new President Amina Gurib from 29 May 2015 to 5 June 2015.

6. Joyce Hilda Banda (President of Malawi)

Joyce Hilda Banda (President of Malawi)
Joyce Hilda Banda (President of Malawi)

Joyce Hilda Banda, the most powerful woman in Africa in 2014, took over as the President of Malawi from 7 April 2012 to 31 May 2014 following President Bingu wa Mutharika’s death. Thus, Joyce becomes Malawi’s fourth president. She was also the country’s first female vice-president (from May 2009 to April 2012).

7. Catherine Samba-Panza (Acting President of CAR)

Catherine Samba-Panza (Acting President of CAR)
©World Bank – Catherine Samba-Panza (Acting President of CAR)

Catherine Samba-Panza was the Central African Republic’s acting President from 2014 to 2016. She became interim President when rebel leader Michael Djotodia resigned from his self-appointed Presidency.

8. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (President of Mauritius)

8. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (President of Mauritius)
©Zoltan Mathe/AP – Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (President of Mauritius)

The first female President of Mauritius from 2015 to 2018 was Amina Gurib-Fakim. She was elected as a presidential candidate in 2014 following the resignation of then-President Kailash Purriaga. Amina Gurib-Fakim was secretly elected President of the National Assembly.

9. Sahle-Work Zewde (President of Ethiopia)

Sahle-Work Zewde (President of Ethiopia)
Sahle-Work Zewde (President of Ethiopia)

Sahle-Work Zewde is Ethiopia’s first elected female President. Zewde took office on 25 October 2018 after being independently elected by members of the National Parliamentary Assembly. Before she was elected President, she served as the United Nations Office head to the African Union.

10. Samia Suluhu Hassan (President of Tanzania)

Samia Suluhu Hassan (President of Tanzania)
Samia Suluhu Hassan (President of Tanzania)

Samia Suluhu Hassan becomes the first female President in Tanzania. Suluhu was born in 1960 in the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar and took her first steps in politics at a young age. In 2000 she obtained a seat in the Parliament of Zanzibar and a seat in the national parliament ten years later. She was Magufuli’s running mate in the 2015 and 2020 elections. The then-vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan was officially sworn in as President of Tanzania.

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