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.
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.
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.
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.
Liberian politician, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, served as the 24th President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018. She was the first elected female head of state in Africa. An alumnus of the Harvard University, she began her political career in the 1970s and rose through the ranks with time. She is the recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.
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.
13 Yahya Jammeh
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.
People have often compared Jean-Bédel Bokassa to the tyrannical Roman emperor Nero. The Central African military leader who later took over as the president and emperor of Central Africa, had opened the country to foreign investors, while he allegedly fed his rivals to crocodiles and lions in his personal zoo.
17 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.
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.
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).
Juvénal Habyarimana was a Rwandan politician whose presidency, which spanned from 1973 until his death in 1994, was responsible for pushing Rwanda into extreme poverty. His assassination on 6 April 1994 helped spark the Rwandan genocide, which had lasting effects on Rwanda. The genocide resulted in the death of nearly 1 million Rwandans.
21 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.
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.
28 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.
29 Idriss Déby
31 Kweisi Mfume
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.
Jakaya Kikwete is a Tanzanian politician. From 2005 to 2015, Kikwete served as the president of Tanzania. Before being elected as the fourth president of Tanzania, Kikwete served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs for 10 years. Apart from being a politician, Jakaya Kikwete is an avid sports fan and played competitive basketball in school.