In total, Africa has only had 7 female presidents. The very first of this was Sylvie Kinigi, who served as acting Head of State in Burundi between 1993 and 1994.
Perhaps the least known of them all was Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, who served as South Africa’s acting President for all of 14 hours in September 2008 between Thabo Mbeki’s resignation and Kgalema Motlanthe’s ascension to power.
Currently in Africa , only Mauritius and Liberia and now the recent entry into the female presidents list is Ethiopia totaling it to three countries in Africa having female presidents.
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, a biodiversity scientist, became president of the Republic of Mauritius on 5th June 2015. She’s Africa’s third female president in history, the highest record of female heads of state on the continent.
The second is Ellen Sirleaf, who has been president of Liberia since 2006. She was the first elected female head of state on the African continent. Actually, to this day, Ellen Sirleaf remains the only female head of state elected to office.
Everyone else has been either appointed as an interim president (Central African Republic, South Africa), nominated (as happened in Mauritius), or ascended by constitutional right (such as after death of the president, as happened in Malawi and Gabon).
Ethiopia on Thursday appointed a woman to the largely ceremonial position of president for the first time.In a unanimous vote, Ethiopian lawmakers picked career diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde to replace Mulatu Teshome who resigned.
Sahle-Work, who is in her late 60s, has been Ethiopia’s ambassador to France, Djibouti, Senegal and the regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Just prior to her appointment as president she was the UN’s top official at the African Union. She is fluent in English and French as well as Amharic.
As president she is expected to serve two six-year terms.
Political power in Ethiopia is wielded by the prime minister with the president’s role is restricted to attending ceremonies and functions.
Ethiopia’s reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last week appointed a slimline 20-person cabinet in which half the posts are held by women.
They include defence minister Aisha Mohammed and Muferiat Kamil who leads the newly-created Ministry of Peace, responsible for police and domestic intelligence agencies.