Education is necessary for every individual. It is definitely essential for every heads of state as these leaders play a great role in deciding the future of the nation and are responsible for the nation’s progress. Although many African countries are still seen as poor and underdeveloped, we see many of the world’s most highly educated leaders coming from Africa.
Interestingly, the former president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe was considered the most educated president in the world during his lifetime. On paper, he was the most qualified man in the world to assume the office of president. Unfortunately, history does not speak too well of his achievements in Zimbabwe after his 40 years of rule.
While we can agree that education is a fundamental ingredient of governance – the evidence or lack thereof has made very little difference in the African context.
In no particular order, here are Africa’s top 10 most educated leaders who have attained higher education degrees and certifications:
- President John Pombe Magufuli, TANZANIA
President Magufuli is a seasoned educationist and Chemist. Nicknamed the “Tanzanian bulldozer”, Dr. John Magufuli became the president of Tanzania in 2015. He was a former school teacher; he has a Ph.D. in Chemistry.
- BSC in Chemistry from University of Dar es Salaam
- Master’s degree in Chemistry from University of Dar es Salaam
- Doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Dar es Salaam.
- King Mohammed VI, MOROCCO
King Mohammed VI took over the throne of Morocco in 1999 after the death of his father, King Hassan is the superpower of Morocco and is responsible for appointing a Prime Minister in the country.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Law from the Mohammed V University at Agdal.
- Ph.D. in Law from the French University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
In 1987, Mohammed obtained his first Certificat d’Études Supérieures (CES) in political sciences, and in July 1988 he obtained a Diplôme d’Études Approfondies (DEA) in public law.
- President Alassane Ouattara, IVORY COAST
President Alassane has been at Ivory Coasts’s helm of leadership since 2010. He is a seasoned economist and financial expert. Critics argue that his understanding of economics has significantly impacted and sustained the economy of the Ivory Coast, making it one of the best in terms of economic growth in Africa.
- Bachelor of Science Degree from the Drexel University, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
- Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
- President Peter Mutharika, MALAWI
President Mutharika is a renowned international Economic Law expert; his remarkable academic qualifications were a big reason behind his success at the presidential polls in 2014. He served as an adviser to his elder brother, ex-President Bingu Wa Mutharika who died in 2012.
- Law Degree from the University of London.
- Master of Laws Degree (LL.M) from Yale University.
- Doctor of the Science of Law Degree (JSD) from Yale University.
- President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, MALI
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has been serving Mali as its president since 4 September 2013. He was educated at the Lycée Janson-de-Sailly in Paris, the Lycée Askia-Mohamed in Bamako, the University of Dakar, the University of Paris I and the Institut d’Histoire des Relations Internationales Contemporaines.
- Ibrahim studied at the Lycée Janson-de-Sailly in Paris and Lycée Askia-Mohamed in Bamako.
- He furthered at the University of Dakar, the University of Paris I and the Institut d’Histoire des Relations Internationales Contemporaines (IHRIC; Institute of the Modern History of International Relations).
- Ibrahim Keita has three degrees in Political International Relations, History, and Political Science, including graduate degrees in Political Science and International Relations.
- He also has a Master’s Degree in History
- President Faure Essozimma Gnassingbe, TOGO
Faure Essozimma Gnassingbe became the president of Togo on 24 April 2005 and has remained so ever since then. He grabbed the power following his father Gnassigbe Eyadema’s death, who had already ruled the country for about 38 years.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Financial Management from the Sorbonne, in Paris.
- Master’s Degree in Business Administration from George Washington University in the United States.
- George Weah, LIBERIA
Before venturing into politics, George Weah was a football player famously known as one of Africa’s best players of all time. He had played in the UEFA Champions League as well as the English Premier League. He also became the first and only African player to win FIFA world’s best player and other noteworthy awards.
- BA in Sports Management from Parkwood University, London (Note that this certificate is honourary, and not earned from the study)
- Degree in Business Administration from Devry Univesity Maimi
- Master’s Degree in Management from Keller’s Graduate School of Management.
- Namibian President, Hage Geingob
Hage Geingob is the president of Namibia. He took power in 2015 after serving in different leadership positions.
- Bachelor of Arts from Fordham University, New York.
- Master of Arts in International Relations from Graduate Faculty of The New School, New York.
- President Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca, CAPE VERDE
President Jorge Forseca is a Cape Verdean politician, lawyer and university professor who has been President of Cape Verde since 2011.
He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1991 to 1993.
- Graduate in Law, University of Lisbon, Portugal
- Masters in Legal Sciences Faculty of Law, University of Lisbon, Portugal.
- President Paul Biya, CAMEROON
President Paul Biya is the second President of the State of Cameroon. He assumed office on 6 November 1982 following the resignation of President Ahmadou Ahidjo.
- BA in Law and Political science, University of Paris, Paris, France, 1960
- Diplome, Institut d’Etudes Politiques, Paris, 1961
- Diplome, Institut des Hautes Etudes d’Outre-Mer, 1962
- Diplome, Etudes Superieures en Droit Public, 1963