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AFRICA

Youngest African Presidents

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Ethiopian Prime Minister ,  Abiy Ahmed

Abiy Ahmed Ali is currently 42 years  old. Born  on August 15, 1976 in Beshasha, he became Ethiopia’s Prime Minister on  April 2, 2018. He is married to Zinash Tayachew and the union is blessed with fourchildren.

Abiy joined the armed struggle at the early age of 15 and  later became a military intelligence officer in the Ethiopian National Defence Force. He has a degree in Computer Engineering, MBA, MA in Leadership, Diploma in Cryptology and  a PhD in Peace & Security.

While serving in the Ethiopian National Defence Force, Abiy received his first degree, a Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the Microlink Information Technology College in Addis Ababa in 2001.

He holds a Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership,  earned from the business school at Greenwich University, London, in collaboration with the International Leadership Institute, Addis Ababa in 2011. Abiy also holds a Master of Business Administration from the Leadstar College of Management and Leadership in Addis Ababa in partnership with Ashland University in 2013.

The PM who started his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) work several years ago as a regular student, finally completed his Ph.D. in 2017 at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies, Addis Ababa University.

He did his Ph.D. work on the Agaro constituency with the PhD thesis entitled “Social Capital and its Role in Traditional Conflict Resolution in Ethiopia: The Case of Inter-Religious Conflict In Jimma Zone State”. As a follow-up to his Ph.D. thesis, he published a research article on de-escalation strategies in the Horn of Africa in a special journal issue dedicated to countering violent extremism.

President of Madagascar , Andry Rajoelina

Andry Nirina Rajoelina 45 ,  was born on May 30, 1974 in Antsirabe. He became the President of Madagascar on January 19, 2019. He  married Mialy Razakandisa in 2000 they have three children.

Rajoelina dropped out of college at the age of 19 to start an events company called , “Show Business”. His business empire has expanded to include radio & Tv stations.

He started his career in the private sector, first organising events on the Island (Live concerts), and then investing the advertising business (Injet, billboards and print) and the media (Viva, TV and radio).

He was the Mayor of Antananarivo from December 2007 to February, 2009, and President of the High Transitional Authority of Madagascar from March 21, 2009  to  January 25, 2014.

After stepping do wn as President of the HAT, he remained head of the majority party, the MAPAR. On winning the 2018 presidential election, he was inaugurated on January 19, 2019.

Prior to this stage, on  March 6, 2009 while the Malagasy authorities attempted to arrest him, Andry Rajoelina took refuge in the French embassy. On March 10, the Army released a 72-hour ultimatum, urging the political leaders to find a solution to the crisis.

On March 15, Ravalomanana went on air to declare a referendum to solve the crisis, an offer refused by Rajoelina who instead called for the President’s arrest. The following day, Ravalomanana dissolved the government, resigned, and transferred the Presidential seal to a senior committee of the Army.

Interestingly, on  March 18,  the Army transferred power directly to Rajoelina, making him president of the High Transitional Authority (HAT). Madagascar’s constitutional court deemed the double-transfer of power (Ravalomanana-Army-Rajoelina) to be legal.

To this effect, Rajoelina was sworn in as President on March 21 at the age of 35, making him the youngest President in the country’s history and the youngest head of government in the world at that time.

 

Mswati III, King of eSwatini

Mswati III aka Prince Makhosetive is currently 51 years old. He was born on  April 19, 1968 at Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital in Manzini. He became the King of eSwatini on  April 25,1986 at the tender  age of 18 years.

Mswati III was the only child of Ntfombi Tfwala & King Sobhuza II who had more than 125 wives. He attended primary school at Masundvwini Primary School and secondary school at Lozitha Palace School. From 1983 to 1986, he attended Sherborne School in north-west Dorset, England.

Mswati was introduced as Crown Prince in September, 1983 and was crowned king on April 25, 1986 at the age of  18 years and 6 days, an act which made him the youngest reigning monarch until the ascension of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan on  December 14, 2006.

He was also the youngest head of state until Joseph Kabila took office on  January 26, 2001 as President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

Liberian President,  George Weah

George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah was 53 years ago( born on October 1, 1966) in the Clara Town district of Monrovia; he became the President of Liberia on January 22, 2018.

Weah is one of Africa’s greatest footballers who won the African Footballer of the year award three times. He is the only African to win the FIFA World Player of the Year & the Ballon d’Or.

Weah’s father, William T. Weah, Sr., was a mechanic while his mother, Anna Quayeweah was a trader. He has three brothers, William, Moses and Wolo. He was one of the thirteen children largely raised by his devoutly Christian paternal grandmother, Emma Klonjlaleh Brown , after his parents separated when George was still a baby.

He attended middle school at Muslim Congress and high school at Wells Hairston High School, and reportedly dropped out in his final year of studies. He began to play football for the Young Survivors youth club at the age of 15 and later moved to other local football clubs, assuming starring roles for Mighty Barrolle and Invicible Eleven.

Before his football career allowed him to move abroad, Weah worked for the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation as a switchboard technician.

 

Togolese President,  Faure Gnassingbé

Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé Eyadém was born on  June 6,  1966 (53 years old) in Afagnan, Lacs. He became the President of Togo on May 4, 2005.

Gnassingbé has a degree in Finance from France and an MBA from the USA. He was appointed Minister of Equipment, Mines, Posts, and Telecommunications by his father, the late President Eyadéma in 2003 before becoming President in February 2005.

Eyadéma died suddenly on February 5, 2005. According to the Togolese Constitution, after the President’s death, the President of the National Assembly should become acting President. At the time of Eyadéma’s death, National Assembly President Fambaré Ouattara Natchaba was out of the country, and Gnassingbé was sworn in as acting President to “ensure stability”.

Many believed that Natchaba did not want to come back to Togo due to fear of assassination by the Gnassingbé clan. The army wanted him to resign his position and allow Gnassingbé to legally take over.

 

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