Africa has the most educated presidents in the world, but despite of their academic achievements, the continent lags behind in economic progress. Education is a fundamental tool in leadership, but in the African context, the evident or lack of it makes very little difference. Africa is home to the most poorly developed countries in the world, something often attributed to poor leadership and rampant corruption. If there’s one thing this the situation about African leadership has thought us, is that education credentials alone do not make a good leader.
Here are the top 10 most educated African presidents.
John Pombe Magufuli is a Tanzanian politician and the fifth President of Tanzania, in office since 2015. First elected as a Member of Parliament in 1995, he served in the Cabinet of Tanzania as Deputy Minister of Works from 1995 to 2000, Minister of Works from 2000 to 2006, Minister of Lands and Human Settlement from 2006 to 2008, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries from 2008 to 2010, and as Minister of Works for a second time from 2010 to 2015. Magufuli’s presidency has been marked by a focus on reducing government corruption and spending and also investing in industries in Tanzania.
2. King Mohammed VI
Mohammed VI is the King of Morocco. He is a member of the Alaouite dynasty and ascended to the throne on 23 July 1999 upon the death of his father, King Hassan II.
- Certificat d’Études Supérieures (CES) in Political Sciences
- Diplôme d’Études Approfondies (DEA) in Public Law
- Bachelor’s Degree in Law, Mohammed V University, Agdal
- PhD in Law, French University of Nice Sophia Antipolis
3. Peter Mutharika
Arthur Peter Mutharika is a Malawian politician, educator and lawyer who has been President of Malawi since 31 May 2014. Mutharika has worked globally in the field of international justice. He is an expert on international economic law, international law and comparative constitutional law. He has also held positions as Minister of Justice and later as Minister for Education, Science and Technology. Mutharika also served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2011 to 2012.
4. Alassane Ouattara
Alassane Dramane Ouattara is an Ivorian politician who has been President of Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) since 2010. An economist by profession, Ouattara worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Central Bank of West African States, and he was the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire from November 1990 to December 1993.
5. Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta
Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, or as he is often known as IBK, is the incumbent President of Mali since 2013. He was Prime Minister of Mali from 1994 to 2000 and President of the National Assembly of Mali from 2002 to 2007. Mr Keïta is the founding father of a left-wing political party called Rally for Mali (RPM) in 2001.
- Three degrees in Political International Relations, History, and Political Science, including graduate degrees in Political Science and International Relations
- Master’s Degree in History
6. Faure Gnassingbé
Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé Eyadéma is a Togolese politician who has been the President of Togo since 2005. Before assuming the presidency, he was appointed by his father, President Gnassingbé Eyadéma, as Minister of Equipment, Mines, Posts, and Telecommunications, serving from 2003 to 2005.
7. George Weah
George Manneh Oppong Weah is a Liberian politician and former professional footballer currently serving as the 25th President of Liberia, in office since 2018. Prior to his election to the presidency, Weah served as Senator from Montserrado County. During his football career, he played as a striker. His prolific 18-year professional playing career ended in 2003. He is the first former professional footballer to become a head of state. Widely regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, in 1995, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d’Or, becoming the first and to date only African player to win these awards.
- Bachelor of Arts in Sports Management, Parkwood University, London
- Degree in Business Administration, DeVry University, Miami
- Master’s Degree in Management, Keller’s Graduate School of Management
8. Hage Geingob
Hage Gottfried Geingob is the third and current president of Namibia, in office since 21 March 2015. Geingob was the first Prime Minister of Namibia from 21 March 1990 to 28 August 2002, and served as Prime Minister again from 4 December 2012 to 21 March 2015. Between 2008 and 2012 Geingob served as Minister of Trade and Industry.
9. Jorge Carlos Fonseca
Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca is a Cape Verdean politician, lawyer and university professor who has been President of Cape Verde since 2011. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1991 to 1993.
10. Paul Biya
Paul Biya is a Cameroonian politician serving as the President of Cameroon since 6 November 1982. A native of Cameroon’s south, Biya rose rapidly as a bureaucrat under President Ahmadou Ahidjo in the 1960s, serving as Secretary-General of the Presidency from 1968 to 1975 and then as Prime Minister of Cameroon from 1975 to 1982. His regime is supported by France, which supplies it with weapons and trains its forces. France is the leading foreign investor, ahead of the United States. Biya occupied the function of president on the 6 November 1982, making him the second longest ruling president in Africa, the longest-ruling non-royal leader in the world and the oldest ruler in Africa.
- Diplome, Institut d’Etudes Politiques, Paris
- Diplome, Institut des Hautes Etudes d’Outre-Mer
- Diplome, Etudes Superieures en Droit Public
- Bachelor of Arts in Law and Political science, University of Paris, Paris, France