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 Presidents 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 successfully 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 he 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.