President, Republic of Malawi
Her Excellency, Mrs. Joyce Banda, was sworn in as President of the Republic of Malawi on 7th April, 2012. She was born on 12th April, 1950 in Malemia Village, Traditional Authority Malemia in Zomba. She holds a Bachelor of Social Studies in Gender Studies from the Atlantic International University, USA and a Diploma in Management of NGOs from the International Labour Organization (ILO) Centre in Turch, Italy. Currently, she is reading for a Master of Arts Degree in Leadership at Royal Roads University in Canada.
She was first elected Member of Parliament in 2004 under the United Democratic Front (UDF). She served as Minister of Gender, Child Welfare and Community Services (2004-2006) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (2006-2009); and in 2009 she was elected Vice President of the Republic of Malawi. In 2011 she formed the People’s Party (PP) following her expulsion from the then ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
H.E. Mrs. Banda has strong passion for women, children and the under-privileged. In this regard, she has been involved in development and humanitarian work. She formed the National Association for Business Women (NABW), an organization that lends start-up cash for small scale business people, especially women, in 1990. In 1998 she successfully negotiated with The Hunger Project in New York to establish the Hunger Project in Malawi. The Hunger Project reaches out to many rural households with sustainable livelihoods activities. In 2000 she, founded the Young Emerging Leaders Network which aims at enhancing leadership skills among young executives, and mentors female students in school. In addition, she also founded the Joyce Banda Foundation, which provides integrated rural development services to over 250,000 resource poor beneficiaries in such areas as Free Secondary School for Orphans, Early Childhood Development and Orphan Care, Youth Development, Food and Income Security, Safe Motherhood, Water and Sanitation, Women’s Leadership and Economic Development for Women.
The first Malawi female President has been a panellist and motivation speaker at a number of international conferences and fora, including the following: International Conference on Women-Beijing (1995), State of World Forum-San Francisco, USA (1998), Micro-Credit Summit- Washington, USA (1998), WID-SADC Trade Fair and Investment forum Namibia (2000), World Women Work- Berlin, Germany (2001), Rotary International Conference (2002), Social Economic Forum for Africa-Barcelona, Spain (2003), American & African Business Women’s Africa Conference, First Annual Africa & American Business – Gateway for Women in Business, DFID MDG 5 Conference, London (2010), Harvard University (2010, 2011), Women Deliver Conference, Washington (2010) and Clinton Centre, Arkansas, (2011).
On the international scene, H.E. Mrs. Banda is Founding Member of the African Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (AFWE) currently operating in 41 countries in Africa, the Council for the Economic Empowerment of Women in Africa (CEEWA) and Americans and Africans Business Women’s Alliance (AABWA) headquartered in Washington DC where she served as its first Chairperson. She also served as Vice President of Micro-Fin-Africa, an organisation that seeks to bring together institutions which offer credit facilities to the poor (1997-1999), member of the Advisory Board of the for Federation of World Peace and Love, Taiwan, Republic of China (2001) and was appointed member of the Executive Advisory Committee of United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) (2006).