- Andry Nirina Rajoelina (44) ‘Madagascar’
Mr. Andry Nirina Rajoelina (born 30 May 1974) is currently the youngest president in Africa.
He was inaugurated on 19 January 2019 as the sixth president of Madagascar after winning 2018 keenly contested presidential election.
Andry Nirina Rajoelina was born in Antananarivo to a relatively wealthy family on May 30, 1974.
Young Andry had the luxury of a good education. At the age of 13, he was junior class national karate champion in 1987.
He started disc jockeying at parties and clubs while in high school and once he completed his baccalaureate, he forsook further studies, choosing instead to become an entrepreneur.
Andry’s foray into politics was instigated by government’s obstruction to the expansion of his business. He was elected Mayor of Antananarivo in 2007.
In December 2008, the government shut down his television station Viva TV for interviewing an exiled former head of state. He organized series of rallies in the capital to protest the frustrating policies of the government.
On March 21, 2009, Andry Rajoelina was sworn in as President of the Haute Autorité de Transition (High Transitional Authority) of Madagascar.
He thus became the youngest President or Head of State in Africa two months before his 35th birthday.
The international community did not support Andry Rajoelina’s administration, seeing his ascension to power as a coup and undemocratic.
In the build up to the 2013 presidential elections, Andry Rajoelina declined to contest.
He later contested in 2018 to emerge the current president of Madagascar.
2. Faure Gnassingbe (52) ‘Togo’
Faure Gnassingbé (born 6 June1966) 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.
Following his father’s death in 2005, Faure Gnassingbé was immediately installed as President with support from the army.
Doubts regarding the constitutional legitimacy of the succession led to heavy regional pressure on Gnassingbé to resign. He succumbed to pressure and resigned on 25 February 2005.
He then won a controversial presidential election on 24 April 2005, and was sworn in as President.
Gnassingbé was re-elected for a second term in 2010.
In the April 2015 presidential election, Gnassingbé won a third term, defeating his main challenger, Jean-Pierre Fabre, by a margin of about 59% to 35%, according to official results.
3. George Weah (52) ‘Liberia’
George Weah (born 1 October 1966) is a Liberian politician and former professional football player 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. He is 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.
Weah became involved in politics in Liberia following his retirement from football in 2003. He formed the Congress for Democratic Change and ran unsuccessfully for President in the 2005 election, losing to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the second round of voting.
In the 2011 election, he ran unsuccessfully for Vice President alongside Winston Tubman. Weah was subsequently elected to theLiberian Senate for Montserrado County in the 2014 elections.
Weah was elected President of Liberia in the 2017 election, defeating the incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai, and sworn in on 22 January 2018.
4. Adama Barrow (54) ‘The Gambia’
Adama Barrow (born 16 February 1965) is a Gambian politician and real estate developer who is the third and current president of the Gambia, in office since 2017.
Born in Mankamang Kunda, a village near Basse Santa Su, he attended Crab Island Secondary School and the Muslim High School.
He then worked for Alhagie Musa & Sons, a Gambian energy company, where he became a sales manager. Moving to London in the early 2000s, Barrow studied for qualifications in real estate and concurrently worked as a security guard.
After returning to the Gambia in 2006, he founded Majum Real Estate, and was its CEO until 2016. He became the treasurer of the United Democratic Party an opposition party, and then became its leader in September 2016 after the previous leader was jailed. Barrow was then chosen as the UDP candidate in the 2016 presidential election.
It was later announced that he would stand as an independent with the backing of the opposition group ‘Coalition 2016’ (a coalition supported by the UDP and six other parties).
Barrow won the 2016 presidential election with 43.34% of the vote, defeating long-time incumbent Yahyah Jammeh.
Jammeh initially accepted the result, but later reneged on this, and Barrow was forced to flee to neighbouring Senegal.
He was inaugurated at the Gambian embassy in Senegal on 19 January 2017, and Jammeh was forced to leave the Gambia and go into exile on 21 January. Barrow returned to the Gambia on 26 January 2017.
5. Julius Maada Bio (54) ‘Sierra Leone’
Julius Maada Bio (born May 12, 1964) is a Sierra Leonean politician, the 5th and current president of Sierra Leone, since April 4, 2018.
He is a retired Brigadier General in the Sierra Leone Army and he was the military Head of State of Sierra Leone from January 16, 1996 to March 29, 1996 under a military junta government.
As the candidate of the main opposition Sierra Leone people’s party, Bio defeated Samura Kamara of the ruling All People’s Congress in the runoff vote of the 2018 Sierra Leone presidential election with 51.8% of the votes to Kamara”s 48.2%.
International and local observers declared the election free, fair and credible.
Bio succeeded Ernest Bai Koroma as president, who was constitutionally ineligible to run for the presidency having served the maximum two five year terms.
As the military Head of State, Bio returned Sierra Leone back to a democratically elected government, when he handed power to Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, following Kabbah”s victory in the 1996 Sierra Leone presidential election.
Upon retiring from the military in 1996, Bio moved to the United States where he was granted political asylum, and he did not return to Sierra Leone from the U.S until 2005.