Former President of the United States, Barack Obama, has the distinction of being the first African-American president of the nation. A civil rights attorney and an academic, he has been credited with bringing about a significant improvement in America’s reputation abroad. His efforts to strengthen international diplomacy was recognized with the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
Muhammadu Buhari is a Nigerian politician and the current president of Nigeria. Since becoming the president, Buhari has introduced many social welfare programs that address unemployment and poverty. The programs were mainly introduced to help increase economic development in the country.
Cyril Ramaphosa is a politician and the current president of South Africa. Also the president of South Africa's popular political party African National Congress (ANC), Ramaphosa played a key role during the nation's transition to democracy during which he served as ANC's chief negotiator. He also played a crucial role in ending apartheid and was considered Nelson Mandela's political heir.
The incumbent Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta is the leader of the Jubilee Party of Kenya. Son of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, he was dragged into a controversy after sweeping the 2017 re-elections by winning 98% of the total votes. However, a Supreme Court ruling dismissed all charges against him.
Ugandan politician, Yoweri Museveni, has been serving as the president of Uganda since 1986. He played a key role in a series of rebellions that overpowered Ugandan political leaders Idi Amin and Milton Obote before capturing power in the 1980s. Under his presidency, Uganda has achieved significant success in fighting HIV/AIDS. The country has also experienced relative peace under Museveni.
Initially a teacher, Nigerian former president Goodluck Jonathan, boasts of a PhD in zoology and has also headed an oil-oriented government agency. He plunged into politics with the PDP, and his tenure as the president witnessed major acts of terror by the jihadist group Boko Haram.
Robert Mugabe was a Zimbabwean revolutionary. He played a major role in the Rhodesian Bush War, which eventually led to the Lancaster House Agreement, resulting in the creation of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Subsequently, Mugabe served as the first prime minister of Zimbabwe and later as its president. A controversial figure, Mugabe is also often criticized for his tyrannical ways.
Canaan Banana was a Zimbabwean politician, theologian, and Methodist minister. In 1980, Banana became the first president of Zimbabwe, a position which he held until 1987. Ten years later, he made the headlines when he was involved in a highly publicized trial after being accused of being a homosexual. He served six months in prison after being convicted of sodomy.
Kenneth Kaunda is a Zambian former politician. He served as the first president of Zambia from 1964 to 1991. A major figure in Zambia’s struggle for independence from British rule, he became the first president of independent Zambia. As the president, he implemented many educational and economic reforms to accelerate the rate of modernization in the country.
17 Idriss Déby
Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe was a Nigerian political leader and statesman. From 1963 to 1966, Azikiwe served as the first president of Nigeria. Often referred to as the Father of Nigerian Nationalism, Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe played an important role in Nigeria's struggle for independence. He is also credited with establishing the University of Nigeria (UNN).
José Eduardo dos Santos is an Angolan politician. Having served as the president of Angola from 1979 to 2017, dos Santos is Africa's second-longest-serving president. An influential and powerful man, dos Santos also served as the Angolan Armed Forces' commander in chief throughout his presidency. In 2014, he was named Man of the Year by Africa World magazine.
20 Siad Barre
Somali military general Siad Barre became the country’s president after overthrowing the existing republic in 1969. His dictatorial rule witnessed the imposition of “Scientific Socialism” and a new Roman alphabet. He was forced into exile in Nigeria after a rebellion ousted him from power and launched a civil war.
Sudanese rebel leader Salva Kiir Mayardit became the first president of South Sudan. In 2020, he signed an agreement with opposition leader and current vice president Riek Machar to share power and create a unified government, putting an end to a brutal civil war that has seen mass rapes and murders.
22 Mwai Kibaki
Mwai Kibaki is a Kenyan politician. From 2002 to 2013, Kibaki served as the president of Kenya. Before being elected as the third president of Kenya, Kibaki served as the vice-president of Kenya from 1978 to 1988. Apart from being a politician, Kibaki is an avid golfer and is one of the most important members of the Muthaiga Golf Club.
25 Kweisi Mfume
Léopold Sédar Senghor was a Senegalese cultural theorist, poet, and politician. He was Senegal's first president, a position in which he served from 1960 to 1980. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most prominent African intellectuals, Senghor is credited with founding the Senegalese Democratic Bloc party. Senghor received many awards, including the African Studies Association's Lifetime Achievement Award.
The first president of Equatorial Guinea, Francisco Macías Nguema transformed his nation into what critics called the Dachau of Africa, killing or exiling about a third of its population and declaring himself the president for life. He was eventually executed after a coup by his own nephew.
31 Paul Biya
Paul Biya is a Cameroonian politician and the current president of Cameroon. Serving as Cameroon's president since 1982, Biya is Africa's second-longest-ruling president. He is also Africa's oldest head-of-state and the world's longest-ruling non-royal leader. Despite claims that most of his presidential elections were rigged, Paul Biya continues to serve as president of Cameroon.
The president of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio had previously been a brigadier general with the country’s army. He is one of the 35 children of Sherbro Paramount Chief Charlie Bio II. After multiple military coups, Bio became an SLPP member. His main focus is on healthcare and renewable energy.
38 Assimi Goïta
40 Idi Amin
45 Adama Barrow
Charles Taylor is a former Liberian politician who served as the 22nd President of Liberia. As a young man, he was the head of a Libyan-backed rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, and played a key role in initiating the First Liberian Civil War. He was elected the president after the war in 1997. He resigned in 2003.
William Tubman grew up sleeping on floor pallets because his father believed beds would hinder Tubman's character development. The former Liberian president had a long tenure of almost 3 decades. He introduced several modern reforms such as property rights for women and the participation of tribes in the government.
Omar al-Bashir is a Sudanese politician who served as the seventh president of Sudan. A former military officer, he is the founder of the National Congress Party that remained the dominant political party in the country until 2019. He was deposed in a coup d'état the same year and subsequently arrested and convicted on multiple corruption charges.