The continent of Africa is home to a group of leaders who have been at the forefront of their respective countries’ political scenes for an extended period. These leaders, however, are not without their challenges, as some have been in power for so long that their rule has become synonymous with autocracy and oppression. In this article, we will take a look at the top 10 oldest presidents in Africa as of 2023.
Updated: Top 10 Oldest Presidents in Africa, 2023
1. Paul Biya
Age: 90 Years
Paul Biya has been the President of Cameroon since November 1982. At the age of 89 and still in power, Paul Biya is the oldest president in 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.
2. Hage Gottfried Geingob
Age: 82 years
Hage Gottfried Geingob is currently serving as the third president of Namibia since 21 March 2015. Geingob was the first Prime Minister of Namibia from 1990 to 2002, and served as prime minister again from 2012 to 2015.
Currently Hage Gottfried Geingob is the oldest president in Southern Africa and the 2nd second oldest president in Africa.
3. Alassane Ouattara
Country: Ivory Coast
Age: 81 years
Alassane Dramane Ouattara has been the President of Côte d’Ivoire since 2010. At 80, 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 fourth oldest president in Africa, 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
Age: 81 Years
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. Nana Akufo-Addo
Age: 79 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.
7. Yoweri Museveni
Age: 79 years
Yoweri Museveni is an Ugandan politician and the ninth and incumbent President of Uganda. Museveni was involved in rebellions that toppled Ugandan leaders Idi Ami and Milton Obote. He was therefore seen by Ugandans as a hero and celebrated by the West as part of a new generation of African leaders. 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 in an election that was marred with electoral fraud.
8. Abdelmadjid Tebboune
Age: 78 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 8th oldest President in Africa, and the oldest president in North Africa.
9. Ahmed Tinubu
Age: 76 years?
Nigeria’s president Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is alleged to be 75 years old, is the 9th oldest president in Africa. However, his age is not without controversy, as there are ongoing debates and conspiracies surrounding his true age, with some claiming he may actually be 85. The uncertainties surrounding his age have sparked discussions about the suitability of an older leader governing a country, particularly when there are concerns about physical stamina and mental agility. Bola Ahmed Tinubu emerged as the victor in Nigeria‘s 2023 election, which was unfortunately marred by unprecedented levels of violence and intense tribal tensions.
10. Ismail Omar Guelleh
Age: 76 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 10th oldest president in Africa.
Scroll down to see the Top 10 Youngest Serving Presidents (and kings) in Africa as of 2023.
Top 5 Youngest Presidents in Africa (Updated: 2023)
1. Ibrahim Traoré, Burkina Faso (Age: 35)
Ibrahim Traoré is a Burkinabé military officer who has been the leader of Burkina Faso since the 30 September 2022 coup d’état which ousted interim president Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba. At age 34, Traoré is Africa’s youngest leader and the world’s youngest currently-serving world leader.
2. Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia (Age: 47)
Abiy Ahmed is the second 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.
3. Andry Rajoelina, Madagascar (Age: 49)
Andry Nirina Rajoelina is a Malagasy politician and businessman who has been the president of Madagascar since 2019. He was previously president of a provisional government from 2009 to 2014 following a political crisis and military-backed coup, having held the office of Mayor of Antananarivo for one year prior.
Andry Rajoelina is the third Youngest President in Africa.
4. Évariste Ndayishimiye, Burundi (Age: 55)
Évariste Ndayishimiye is the fourth youngest president in Africa. Ndayishimiye began his seven-year term on 18 June 2020 and announced his first cabinet on 28 June 2020. He shrunk the cabinet ministers from 21 to 15 and mainly nominated ex-regime hardliners to take up key positions. Ndayishimiye’s tenure has been noted to have been less isolationist than his predecessor.
5. Mswati III, Swaziland (Age: 55)
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 fifth 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.