Former Malawi President Joyce Banda has yet again been named among 12 most powerful female politicians in Africa by the influential ‘African Leadership’ magazine.
The magazine notes that most African nations have not fully adopted democracy into their politics and women representation remains low, while men hold more political influence.
The publication says, however, some female politicians in Africa have been exceptionally influential, including being presidents, such as Joyce Banda and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.
According to the magazine, after taking office in April 2012, President Joyce Banda quickly made her stake as a leader dedicated to national unity. She has for long been involved in a variety of grassroots initiatives, including those aimed at aiding orphans, providing development opportunities for women, combating hunger, and much more.
“During her term, she sold a US$15 million presidential jet, reduced her salary by 30 percent and dismissed the entire cabinet due to corruption allegations.
“These austerity measures significantly reduced government expenditure. Western nations and International Monetary Fund lifted monetary sanctions on the Southern Africa nation during her term in power,” reports the African Leadership magazine.
Between 2014 and 2015, Banda has received nine (9) International Awards, including being named as the ‘Most Inspirational Woman in Politics’ by CNN. She has received the ‘Legacy Award’from the International Women’s Forum; the African Union (AU) ‘Living Legends’ Award; and the ‘Women of Distinction’ Award from Celebrating Women International of The Bahamas.
Last week, the Professional Women’s Network (PROWNET) in Malawi also recognized former President Banda as being among Malawi’s ‘Women of Distinction’.
Other African women politicians recognized by the African Leadership magazine alongside Banda and Johnson Sirleaf include Ngozi Iweala Okonji who served two terms as Minister of Finance in Nigeria, from 2003 until May, 2015; Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson African Union Commission; Lindiwe Mazibuko, former Parliamentary Leader for the Democratic Alliance, South Africa; Speciosa Wandira-Kazibwe, United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa and Fatou Bensouda (Gambia), Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court since June 2012
The magazine also recognised Thuli Madonsela, Public Protector, South Africa; Joice Mujuru, former Vice President of Zimbabwe; Samia Suluhu Hassan, Vice-President of Tanzania; Martha Karua, politician and one of the firstKenyan female legislators; and Hanna Tetteh, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ghana.