Top 10 Least Educated Presidents in Africa Ever

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If one could be true to himself, he would realize that bad leadership could be traced to the poor educational background of the leaders in question. Coming down to African leaders, most of the countries experiencing bad leadership exemplify this. We know that in today’s world, for one to thrive, they should be sound academically because intelligence and education are the bedrock of this innovative era.

When a leader lacks the basic knowledge (which mostly are acquired through education), he may lack the capacity to lead. A learned leader stands the chance of leading his people than the unlearned counterparts. Africa is such an interesting continent where an uneducated person is allowed to run the affairs of a nation. This is so sad. Technology, in this dispensation of global innovation, is part of the requirements for a successful leadership, which makes one wonder how an uneducated man could lead millions of educated people successfully.

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In this article, we want to give you a run-down of African leaders whose lack of basic educational qualifications are the reason for their poor leadership. It will surprise you to know that some of them have no educational qualification. How then, do they lead a country with a large population?

  1. Dennis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of Congo

The president of the Republic of Congo, Dennis Sassou-Nguesso has been the president of his country since October 25, 1997. He had his educational training at a teachers’ college in Dolisie. Thereafter, he proceeded to receive a military training at the officer’s schools of Cherchell in Algeria and the Infantry Academy in France between 1961 and 1963.

  1. Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo

The only basic educational qualification of Joseph Kabila is a high school certificate, though he has currently got a training at the PLA National Defence University in Beijing, China. Also, he followed a military curriculum in Tanzania, then at Makerere University in Uganda after the acquisition of his high school certificate.

For over 40 years, he has been ruling the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose leadership position he mounted at the tender age of 35.

  1. Jacob Zuma of South Africa

Jacob Zuma is the fourth president of South Africa. After attaining grade five in primary school, there was no known or recorded formal education he could boast of. It is even argued that he has no sort of education at all, due to his poor background. Following the footstep of a union activist relative, however, Jacob Zuma started politics at a very young age. May 2009 saw him as the South African president. There has been a hot debate surrounding his lack of education as a basis for his unfit to rule the nation.

  1. Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti

Born in Dawa, Ethiopia, Ismail Omar Guelleh was a very young boy when he attended a traditional Islamic school. His clan, Issa clan, was known to be a politically powerful clan. Before the end of his high school education in the ‘60s, he migrated to Djibouti and later joined the police force with the rank of a junior non-commissioned officer.

Although he received training from the Somalia National Security and the French Secrete Service, the highest known level of formal education attained by the president of Djibouti is secondary school education.

  1. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania

He was born in 1956 in Akjouit, Mauritania and attended college at the Royal Military Academy in Morocco. Thus, he pursued a military career in Mauritania, thereby, forfeiting every possibility of acquiring a high school certificate.

In 1977, he joined the Royal Military Academy of Meknes, Morocco and founded the elite Presidential Security Battalion (BASEP) after several promotions. He was one of the key role players to foil an attempted military coup in June 2003 and a military uprising in August 2004. No matter how much he has labored for his people, the problem still remains that he is uneducated.

  1. Yahya Jammeh of Gambia

Yahya Jammeh received his primary education at St Edwards Primary School in Bwiam and his secondary educational certificate at Gambia High School in Banjul. He obtained his General Certificate of Education with more credits and few passes in some subjects in1983 and in 1984, he joined the Gambian National Army. He became a lieutenant in 1989 and a commander of the Gambian Military Police in 1992. He further received some military training in Senegal and the United States Army School respectively.

  1. Paul Kagame of Rwanda

Paul Kagame started his primary education in a school close to a refugee camp where he joined other refugees in Rwanda to learn English. He later moved to the Rwengoro Primary School where he graduated with the best grades. Subsequently, he enrolled in Ntare School in Uganda and in the early ‘70s when he lost his father, he encountered a decline in education. He also fought those who looked down on Rwanda which led to his suspension at the school and completed his studies without any distinction at the Old Kampala Secondary School. That was the end of his educational career and today, he is the president of Rwanda.

  1. Muhammad Buhari of Nigeria

Buhari attended primary education in Daura and Mai’adua and then, proceeded to Katsina Provincial Secondary School (Government College, Katsina) where he obtained his secondary education between 1956 and 1961. His highest educational qualification is secondary education.

  1. Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea

Isaias Afwerki obtained his secondary school education from Prince Makonnen High School. He gained admission to study at the College of Engineering at Haile Selassie University. However, he dropped out of school after studying for one year and joined the Eritrean freedom struggle. He is the first president of Eritrea.

  1. Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria

Abdelaziz Bouteflika grew up in Oujda and attended Abdel Moumen High School. It was recorded that he was a good student, but he did not receive any higher education. He is the president of Algeria.

Reasons for Political Leaders to be Educated

  1. Education is very important for effective leadership because the educated president has a deeper knowledge of the country as well as their subjects and can also make use of their initiatives to think out practical solutions to any impending problem.
  2. The future of the country needs a quality educated president. A good president has a futuristic vision and knows how to convert his ideas into a success story. Moreover, if problems arise in the future, the president may not be able to tackle it as he lacks the requisite knowledge of leadership.
  3. A poorly educated president could ridicule himself anytime, even though his advisors are properly educated. This displays itself in the quality of decisions he takes in the face of challenges. Political activities are laced with complexities, conflicts and challenges. The decision of the leader to make a fair and quality decision is what makes him to stand out among others. This will have a negative effect on the country as a whole.
  4. Political leaders are the ones who form the government take decisions in a country. A president is meant to know and understand how the economy runs. This is beyond speaking and writing. Decision makers need education to take diplomatic decisions and be able to communicate in a convenient way.
  5. The level of development in any country is looked upon through the lens of its leadership. A poorly educated president is likely to address the problems of the country in a poor way because he has little or no knowledge of how to address issues.

Qualities expected of an Educated President

For a president to rule his people right, he is expected to possess the following qualities and more.

  • Emotional Intelligence: A good president must connect with his people emotionally. Emotional intelligence helps him to be socially aware, manage emotions effectively, resolve issues amicably and communicate his ideas the best possible way. An emotionally intelligent leader will never take any hasty decision and also cares about the emotions and feelings of his subjects.
  • Vision and purpose: A president who has a great vision will be able to communicate effectively to his people and convince them to see the bigger picture. He shares his strategies and action plans to achieve his goals.
  • Delegation and teamwork: An educated leader does not work alone. he knows exactly when to delegate duties and empower his followers. This will help him to focus on important matters, while overseeing the general affairs of the country. Most importantly, it builds trust in his people.
  • Decision-making capabilities: A great president has the power, not only to see the future, but to take the right decisions that will have a profound impact on his people. Before taking decisions, a president must think hard and long, as well as consult key stakeholders when the need be.
  • Accountability: A great president is one who takes more than his share of the blame and less of his share of credit. He must be accountable and inspire every of his subordinate to be accountable. If they perform well, let them be given the credit and if they flop, they would need to be helped to improve better. Taking account of his actions makes the president to be a responsible one.

Education is a vital element in the life of every president. Without proper education, he cannot rule the country well. No wonder Africa is so backward and lacks development and technological advancement. Poor educational background of the leaders, as we have seen, is the major reason they lack proper decision making. This also affects the growth of the economy.


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