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.
1. William Ruto
William Kipchirchir Samoei Arap Ruto is a Kenyan politician currently serving as the President of the Republic of Kenya since 2022. He previously served as the Deputy President of Kenya from 2013 to 2022, and in several cabinet positions. He served as Minister for Home Affairs under the Daniel Arap Moi administration from August 2002 to December 2002. Under the Mwai Kibaki administration, he was Minister of Agriculture from 2008 to 2010 and Minister for Higher Education from April 2010 to October 2010.
2. 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.
3. Moeketsi Majoro
Moeketsi Majoro is a Mosotho economist and politician who has been serving as the sixth prime minister of Lesotho since May 2020. He was previously the minister of Finance in the cabinet of Tom Thabane from 2017 to 2020. Majoro has been representing the Thetsane Constituency No. 33 in the National Assembly since his election in 2017. He was formerly a senator and the minister of Development Planning from 2013 to 2015. Majoro is a member of the All Basotho Convention (ABC).
4. King Mohammed VI
Mohammed VI is the King of Morocco. He belongs to the ‘Alawi dynasty and acceded to the throne on 23 July 1999, upon the death of his father, King Hassan II. Upon ascending to the throne, Mohammed initially introduced a number of reforms and changed the family code, Mudawana, which granted women more power.
- 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
5. 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.
6. 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
7. 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.
8. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is a Somali politician who has served as the president of Somalia since May 2022. He is the founder and current chairman of the Union for Peace and Development Party. He was elected as President of the Federal Republic of Somalia on 15 May 2022. He previously served in the same position as the 8th president of Somalia from 2012 to 2017. A civil and political rights activist, Hassan was previously a university professor and dean.
- Undergraduate diploma in technology, Somali National University
- Master’s degree in technical education, Bhopal University (now Barkatullah University)
- Graduate of Eastern Mennonite University’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute, Harrisonburg, Virginia
9. Samia Suluhu Hassan
Samia Suluhu Hassan is a Tanzanian politician who has been serving since 2021 as the sixth (and first female) president of Tanzania. She is a member of the ruling social-democrat Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party and the third female head of government of an East African Community (EAC) country. Suluhu became Tanzania’s first female vice-president following the 2015 general election, after being elected on the CCM ticket with President Magufuli. In 2021, she became president after the death of Magufuli.
- Advanced diploma in public administration, Institute of Development Management (now Mzumbe University)
- Postgraduate diploma in economics, University of Manchester
- MSc in Community Economic Development, Joint-programme between the Open University of Tanzania and the Southern New Hampshire University
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