In recent years there has been a subtle surge of politicians in their 30s and 40s winning leadership roles in Africa, one of them is Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed who at 44 is the youngest president in Africa, He is closely followed by Madagascar’s Andry Rajoelina who is 46 years old. They both became presidents of their respective countries in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Scroll down to see the Top 10 Youngest Serving Presidents (and kings) in Africa as at 2021.
Top 10 Youngest Presidents in Africa (Updated: 2021)
1. Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia (Age: 44)
Abiy Ahmed is the youngest president in Africa. He was born on 15 August 1976 in Beshasha, and became Ethiopia’s prime minister on 2 April 2018. He is married to Zinash Tayachew & has 4 children.
Abiy joined the armed struggle aged 15 & later became a military intelligence officer in the Ethiopian National Defense Force. He has a degree in Computer Engineering, MBA, MA in Leadership, Diploma in Cryptology & a PhD in Peace & Security.
2. Andry Rajoelina, Madagascar (Age: 46)
Andry Nirina Rajoelina was born on 30 May 1974 in Antsirabe, he became the president of Madagascar on 19 January 2019. He married Mialy Razakandisa in 2000 & they have 3 children.
Rajoelina dropped out of college-aged 19 to start an events company called Show Business. His business empire has expanded to include radio & tv stations.
Andry Rajoelina is the second Youngest President in Africa.
3. Mswati III, Swaziland (Age: 52)
Mswati III is the King of Swaziland, a crown he inherited from his father Sobhuza II,. He is the head of the Swazi Royal Family. He was introduced as the crown prince in 1983 and was crowned on April 25 1986, at the age of 18.
Mswati III is currently the youngest head of state in Africa.
Together with his mother, Ntombi Tfwala, now Queen Mother, he rules the country as an absolute monarch. Mswati III is known for his practice of polygamy and currently has 15 wives. Although he is respected and fairly popular in Swaziland, his policies and lavish lifestyle have led to local protests and international criticism
4. Faure Gnassingbe, Togo (Age: 54)
Faure Gnassingbe has been the President of Togo since May 4 2005. He was appointed to the government by his father Gnassingbe Eyadema before he passed away on February 5 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
5. George Weah, Liberia (Age: 54)
After defeating Vice President Joseph Boaka in the 2017 election, George Weah (Former professional footballer) became the President elect of Liberia. Making him the fifth youngest president in Africa.
6. Adama Barrow, Gambia (Age: 56)
Adama Barrow is a Gambian politician and real estate developer who is the third and current President of the Gambia (Also the fourth youngest president in Africa). He was sworn into office in 2017 after he defeated Yahya Jammeh in a free and fair election.
7. Letsie III of Lesotho (Age: 57)
Letsie III is the current king of Lesotho. He succeeded his father, Moshoeshoe II, when the latter was forced into exile in 1990. His father was briefly restored in 1995 but soon died in a car crash in early 1996, and Letsie became king again. As a constitutional monarch, most of King Letsie’s duties as monarch of Lesotho are ceremonial.
8. Félix Tshisekedi, (Age: 57)
Félix Tshisekedi is a Congolese politician who has been the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 25 January 2019. He took up the position at the age of 55. He is the leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), the oldest and largest party of the Democratic Republic of Congo, succeeding his late father Étienne Tshisekedi in that role.
Tshisekedi was the UDPS party’s candidate for president in the December 2018 general election, which he won, despite accusations of irregularities from several election monitoring organisations and other opposition parties. His victory was upheld by the Constitutional Court of the DRC after another opposition politician, Martin Fayulu, challenged the result, but Tshisekedi has been accused of making a deal with his predecessor, Joseph Kabila.
The election marked the first peaceful transition of power since the DRC became independent from Belgium in 1960.
9. Macky Sall, Senegal (Age: 59)
Macky Sall is a Senegalese politician who has been President of Senegal since April 2012. Under President Abdoulaye Wade, Sall was Prime Minister of Senegal from April 2004 to June 2007 and President of the National Assembly (Senegal) from June 2007 to November 2008.
He was the Mayor of Fatick from 2002 to 2008 and held that post again from 2009 to 2012.
10. Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya (Age: 59)
Uhuru Kenyatta has been the President of Kenya since April 9 2013. He is the fourth president of Kenya. His father Jomo Kenyatta was Kenya’s first president. He is also the tenth youngest president in Africa.
Uhuru was re-elected for a second term in the August 2017 general election, winning 54% of the popular vote. The win was formally declared on national television by the Chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Wafula Chebukati. However, Uhuru’s election was challenged in the Supreme Court of Kenya by his main competitor, Raila Odinga. On 1 September 2017, the court declared the election invalid and ordered a new presidential election to take place within 60 days from the day of the ruling. A new presidential election was held on 26 October, which Uhuru won, with 39% participation due to voter fatigue, voter apathy and being boycotted by the opposition.
Make sure you checkout our list of Top 10 Oldest presidents in Africa (updated)
Ali Bongo Ondimba, Gabon (Age: 62)
Ali Bongo Ondimba is a Gabonese politician who has been President of Gabon since October 2009. Before him, His father Omar Bongo was the President of Gabon from 1967 to 2009, when he died. During his father’s presidency, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1989 to 1991 and represented Bongoville as a Deputy in the National Assembly from 1991 to 1999; subsequently he was Minister of Defense from 1999 to 2009. Following his father’s death after 41 years in power, he was first elected in the August 2009 presidential election and was again re-elected in August 2016, in elections marred by numerous irregularities, arrests, human rights violations and post-election violence.
Top 10 oldest presidents in Africa, 2021
In another news, Here are the top 10 oldest African presidents.
1. Paul Biya
Age: 87 Years
Paul Biya has been the President of Cameroon since November 1982. At the age of 87 and still in power, Paul Biya is the oldest president in Africa and the oldest president in central Africa. He is also the second-longest ruling president in Africa (after Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea), and the longest-ruling non-royal leader in the world.
Read Also: Meet The Most Educated Presidents in Africa
2. Alpha Condé
Age: 82 years
Alpha Condé was elected as President of Guinea in 2010. This was after two unsuccessful attempts to outrun President Lansana Conté in the 1993 and 1998 presidential elections. When he took office that December, he became the first freely elected president in the country’s history.
Currently Alpha Conde is the 2nd oldest president in Africa and the oldest president in West Africa.
3. Alassane Ouattara
Country: Ivory Coast
Age: 79 years
Alassane Dramane Ouattara has been President of Côte d’Ivoire since 2010. At 79, Alassane Ouattara is the third oldest president in Africa and the second oldest president in west Africa.
4. Teodoro Nguema Mbasogo
Country: Equitorial Guinea
Teodoro Nguema has been President of Equatorial Guinea since 1979. He ousted his uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema, in an August 1979 military coup.
He is the longest serving president in Africa and the second longest-serving non-royal national leader in the world (after Paul Biya of Cameroon).
5. Emmerson Mnangagwa
Emmerson Mnangagwa is serving as the third and current President of Zimbabwe since November 2017.
A longtime ally of his predecessor Robert Mugabe and a senior member of the ruling ZANU–PF party, Mnangagwa served as First Vice President of Zimbabwe from 2014 until his dismissal in early-November 2017, which prompted a coup d’état that ousted Mugabe On 21 November 2017, (a removal recognised in a statement by the
African Union, not as a “coup”, but as a legitimate expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people).
Emmerson Mnangagwa is the fifth oldest president in Africa and the oldest president in Southern Africa.
6. Muhammadu Buhari
Age: 78 years
Nigeria’s Buhari came into democratic power in 2015. He had been unsuccessful in earlier bids for the presidency in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 general elections. The President previously served as the nation’s head of state from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985, after he took power in a military coup d’état.
In February 2019, Buhari was re-elected, defeating his closest rival former Vice President Atiku Abubakar by over 3 million votes.
Buhari is also one of the longest serving Nigerian president
7. Nana Akufo-Addo
Age: 76 years
Nana Akufo-Addo became the president of Ghana in 2017 after he defeated John Dramani Mahama in the first round (winning with 53.85% of the votes), which marked the first time in a Ghanaian presidential election that an opposition candidate won a majority outright in the first round. Nana was again re-elected in the 2020 general elections (winning with 51.59% of the vote) defeating John Dramani Mahama.
8. Yoweri Museveni
Age: 76 years
Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni was involved in rebellions that toppled Ugandan leaders Idi Ami and Milton Obote. He was therefore seen by Ugandans as a hero. But the 73-year-old has since played fast and loose with the rules, scrapping Presidential term limits in 2005 to enable the extension of his rule. On 16 January 2021, the electoral commission of Uganda announced that Museveni won re-election for a sixth term with 58.6% of the vote.
9. Abdelmadjid Tebboune
Age: 75 years
Tebboune took over from former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who served as President of Algeria for almost 20 years, from 1999 to his resignation in 2019 and former Acting Head of State Abdelkader Bensalah. Previously, he was Prime Minister of Algeria from May 2017 to August 2017. In addition, he was also Minister of Housing from 2001 to 2002 for a year and again from 2012 to 2017 for 5 years.
Currently Tebboune is the ninth oldest President in Africa, and the oldest president in North Africa.
10. Ismail Omar Guelleh
Age: 73 years
Ismaïl Omar Guelleh was first elected as President in 1999 as the handpicked successor to his uncle, Hassan Gouled Aptidon, who had ruled Djibouti since independence in 1977. Guelleh was re-elected in 2005, 2011 and again in 2016; Guelleh has been characterized as a dictator, and his rule has been criticized by some human rights groups.
Currently Ismaïl Omar Guelleh is the oldest president in East Africa and the tenth oldest president in Africa.
Jorge Carlos Fonseca – Cape verde, Age: 70 years
Jorge Carlos Fonseca took office as President on 9 September 2011, becoming Cape Verde’s fourth president since independence in 1975. He was re-elected again in 2016.
Bah Ndaw – Mali, Age: 70 years
Bah Ndaw is a Malian military officer and politician. He has been president of Mali since 25 September 2020. Between May 2014 and January 2015 he was Minister of Defense.
Mahamadou Issoufou – Niger, Age: 69 years
Issoufou was the prime minister of Niger from 1993 to 1994, president of the National Assembly from 1995 to 1996, and he has been a candidate in each presidential election since 1993. He led the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS-Tarayya), a social democratic party, from its foundation in 1990 until his election as president in 2011. In February 2016 Issoufou won a second term in seat with 92.5% of the votes. He has been described by The Economist as “a staunch ally of the West”.