African presidents are often criticized for the problems affecting the continent. Considering the actions of a majority of Africa's leaders, critics are often justified when submitting that the issue of Africa is one of leadership.
Although the actions of many African leaders are nothing short of shameful, there a few good apples on the tree, some African leaders have led by example and are worthy of commendation.
However, these leaders are not considered flawless but are ranked based on their policies and achievements in the area of economic stability, education, infrastructural development, and employment while in office.
Their approval ratings by both followers and opposition also come into consideration when ranking their achievements.
President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo, Ghana
Often referred to as Ghana's number one worker, President Nana Akufo-Addo has gained admiration from across the continent and beyond for his Pan-African believes and people-friendly policies.
Since assuming office, he has cut down on salaries of public office holders and created about a million job opportunities for the Ghanaian people while stabilizing the economy. He is also credited for digitalizing the NHIS, Driver's License, and other Government-issued documentation.
His highest commendation has been in reducing corruption among top public service holders. President Akufo-Addo recently extended the free electricity and water to citizens by three months after making a move to ease the sufferings of his people during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is celebrated not just in Africa but across the world for bringing a breath of fresh air to the continent.
President Paul Kagame, Rwanda
When Paul Kagame became Rwanda's president in 2000, he inherited a country that had been torn apart by genocide. To rebuild it, he had to rely on mostly uneducated guerrilla fighters and a handful of ill-trained cadres. Even the most optimistic of analysts doubted his chances.
But 19 years later, the country is stable, prosperous, unified, and in large part, reconciled. Social services, such as education, healthcare, housing, and livestock are provided to the needy, with no distinction of ethnicity or region of origin - two forms of discrimination that characterized the governments leading up to the genocide against the Tutsi, which Kagame, as leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), brought to an end.
Before the emergence of President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo of Ghana, President Kagame was considered the most performing African president for many years.
President Danny Faure, Seychelles
Since President Faure took office since October 16, 2016, he has sailed the economy of Seychelles to greater heights. He didn't inherit a weak economy, but he deserves accolades for maintaining the economy of the island country.
In 2019, Faure was awarded the National Geographic Society's prestigious 'Planetary and Leadership Award' at a National Geographic Awards Ceremony, at the George Washington University, in Washington DC.
The president introduced a laptop scheme which provided free laptop computers to students across the country since 2017
President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, Burkina Faso
President Roch Marc Christian Kabore's track record has been mixed. In particular, his ability to deliver on his electoral pledges has been curbed by funding constraints and rising insecurity. However, some social programmes have produced positive results.
He has gained commendations for his fight against insurgency in the country and his ability to open a new market for Gold exploration and exportation. He has also helped assist farmers in the country.
As a result, agriculture currently employs about 80% of the country's total population.
President Adama Barrow, The Gambia
President Adama Barrow inherited a country in chaos; there were reports in the press that the former longtime dictator of the country, Yahya Jammeh emptied the country's treasury before going on exile in Equatorial Guinea.
In June 2019, he received The Great Builder Super Prize award which is The Africa Road Builders Babacar Ndiaye Trophy for his achievements in the area of infrastructure in the country.
One area where the president has gained commendation the most is in allowing the judiciary to carry out an independent trial on the former president and demanding justice for the numerous victims that suffered human rights abuse under Yahya Jammeh
President George Weah, Liberia
President Weah took over the office in 2018 amidst criticism from sectors who believed he was not qualified to rule the people of Liberia.
Although accusations of corruption have marred his government, many critics claim that the Weah Administration's achievements surpass that of any other President since the country's independence in 1847.
His greatest achievements include the announcement of free education for Liberians up to the university level and his commitment to connecting all county capitals by paved.
President João Lourenço, Angola
Taking over from José Eduardo dos Santos, President Lourenço's government has exposed the corruption and nepotism that prevailed in Angola.
Since taking office in September 2017, President Lourenço has made significant reforms to improve financial sector transparency, liberalize the foreign exchange rate regime, and pursue a more business-friendly trajectory to improve international investors' perception of the country's business climate.
In its first year in office, the new government's plan that focused on anti-corruption and free-market economic reforms has sent positive signals of political change.
President Macky Sall, Senegal
President Sall has gained huge commendation for his achievements in the health sector. He has also called on other African leaders on numerous occasions to invest more resources into health to address the health challenges facing the continent.
The president also won the hearts of Africans when he called for the completion of the bridge-road-rail project between Brazzaville and Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
His investments in the health sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic did not go unnoticed. They encouraged the World Bank Board of Executive Directors to approve on a $100 million – half in grant and half in credit - to assist the Government of Senegal in responding to the social and economic impact of the pandemic.
President Sahle-Work Zewde, Ethiopia
In October 2018, Sahle-Work Zewde became Ethiopia's first woman president and the only serving female head of state in Africa.
She is a seasoned diplomat and veteran of the United Nations, Zewde was appointed with a unanimous vote by parliament.
Since she was appointed president, she has assisted Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in privatizing the economy. The partnership has provided the young Prime Minister with the much-needed experience and advice to place the country on the track of achieving its aim to become a lower-middle-income economy by 2025.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa
A lover of fast cars, vintage wine, trout fishing, and game farming, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa is a controversial figure.
However, the president deserves some accolades for repositioning the South African economy to take over the number one position in Africa with a target of R1.2 trillion over the next three years.
As a skilled negotiator and strategist who acted as the ANC's Chief Negotiator during South Africa's transition to democracy, Ramaphosa built up the most influential trade union in the country – the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
His negotiation skills have helped in no small way in helping the country overcome hostile situations that would ordinarily have affected the country's stability and relationships with other African nations.
An example of this was his meeting with Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari during the recent xenophobia attacks in South Africa.
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