Africa is slow in politics when it comes to handing over women to the presidency. While many African countries are yet to hand over to a female president, some countries have achieved that remarkable feat.
While most of us are familiar with Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, we have other women who ruled their countries you should know. We have listed some of the women presidents in Africa.
Sylvie Kinigi – Burundi
Sylvie Kinigi was the first female president in Africa. Kinigi served as prime minister of Burundi from February 10, 1993, to October 7, 1994. She became the acting president from October 27, 1993, to February 5, 1994, after Burundi President Melchior Ndadaye was shot and killed. She governed Burundi as acting president for three months until a new president was elected.
Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri – South Africa
Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri functioned as the acting president of South Africa for four days. This happened when President Thabo Mbeki and his vice president were out of the country in September 2005. She became the acting president again for 14 hours on September 25, 2008, acting as interim president between the resignation of President Thabo Mbeki. She stepped down when President Kgalema Motlanthe took office.
Rose Francine Rogombe – Gabon
Rose Francine Rogombe became the interim president of Gabon from June 2009 to October 2009 after the death of President Omar Bongo. She was the senate president when the president died and ascended to the presidency as a result. This was according to the constitution of the country.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-Liberia
Currently, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the longest-serving female president in Africa. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was the first elected female head of state in Africa. She served two consecutive terms until she left office in January 2018.
Monique Ohsan Bellepeau – Mauritius
Mauritius is a special country in Africa that has warmed to females becoming presidents. While these women were ceremonial figureheads, the island regards their prime minister more than the president.
Monique Ohsan Bellepeau became the acting president of Mauritius when President Anerood Jugnauth resigned. She ruled from March 31, 2012, to July 21, 2012. She was appointed the president again from May 29, 2015, to June 5, 2015.
Joyce Hilda Banda – Malawi
Joyce Hilda Banda started as the first female vice president of Malawi before she became the president. She served as president after President Bingu wa Mutharika died between April 2012 and May 2014.
Catherine Samba – Central African Republic
Catherine Samba became the acting president of the Central African Republic from 2014 to 2016 after rebel leader Michael Djotodia resigned as the president.
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim – Mauritius
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim was the first elected female president of Mauritius and served until March 2018.
Sahle-Work Zewde – Ethiopia
Sahle-Work Zewde was the first elected female president of Ethiopia on October 25, 2018, even though the position of Ethiopian president is largely ceremonial.
Samia Suluhu Hassan-Tanzania
Samia Suluhu Hassan was Tanzania’s first female vice-president with President Magufuli. She briefly served as the second female interim Head of State in the EAC – 27 years after Sylvie Kinigi of Burundi, spanning a period around the end of the year 1993. She was elected president after the death of Magufuli. She will serve out the remaining four years of the late Magufuli’s term, which ends in October 2025.
The strength of the African woman is beginning to show in leadership positions on the continent and it is our hope that this laudable achievements continue into the future.