10 Notable African Leaders Who Studied Abroad

Political leaders are usually the most knowledgeable people because of the high level of responsibilities they possess.

Here are 10 notable african leaders who studied abroad:

1. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: Sirleaf was the first elected female Head of State in Africa, serving as President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018.

Sirleaf received an associate degree in accounting from Madison Business College, a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Colorado Boulder’s Economics Institute, and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

2. Dr. Akinwumi “Akin” Adesina: Dr. Adesina is the President of the African Development Bank and a Nigerian economist.

He was previously the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria.

Dr. Adesina earned a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University in 1985 and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University in 1988, where he was awarded the Outstanding Ph.D. thesis prize for that year.

3. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian-American economist, global development specialist, environmental sustainability campaigner, human welfare champion, and sustainable finance maven.

Okonjo-Iweala has been the Director-General of the World Trade Organization since March 2021. In 1976, she graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with an AB in Economics.


She then graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a master’s degree in city planning in 1978 and a Ph.D. in regional economics and development in 1981.

4. Kofi Atta Annan: Kofi Atta Annan: Annan was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the United Nations’ seventh Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006. Annan and the United Nations shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

Annan earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Macalester College, a master’s degree in international relations from the Graduate Institute Geneva, and a master’s degree in management from MIT.

5. Sahle-Work Zewde: Sahle-Work is Ethiopia’s current President and the country’s first female leader. She studied natural sciences at the University of Montpellier in France.

6. Chile Eboe-Osuji: Nigerian-born Eboe-Osuji is the former President of the International Criminal Court.

After completing his bachelor’s degree in Nigeria, he went on to receive his PhD from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands (with thesis in international criminal law); Master of Laws (LLM) degree from McGill University, Canada, where he also did his Canadian law degree accreditation studies.

7. Ameenah Gurib: Dr. Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim is a Mauritian politician who served as the sixth president of Mauritius from 2015 to 2018.

She graduated from the University of Surrey in 1983 with a BSc degree in chemistry.

She also obtained her PhD degree in organic chemistry at Exeter University.

8. Joyce Banda: Former Malawian President (from 7 April 2012 to 31 May 2014) took office as President following the sudden death of President Bingu wa Mutharika.

She earned a Cambridge School Certificate, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education from Columbus University.

9. Catherine Samba-Panza: Panza is a Central African lawyer and politician who served as interim President of the Central African Republic from 2014 to 2016.

She studied corporate law in Bangui, and was trained in law at Panthéon-Assas University, in Paris, France.

10. Bola Ahmed Tinubu: Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the current President of Nigeria. He studied business administration at Chicago State University and graduated in 1979.


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