African Stand wants to highlight those African leaders who have made it a priority to leave a legacy of accountability and frugality.
It has become the norm for government officials to embezzle as much as they can while they are in office. They see public office as a jackpot, an opportunity to get rich, and to live a life of comfort and luxury.
This is true from the ground to the top, even police officers as low as constables and sergeants make it a point to gather as much money as they can, and so it is no surprise when we see their superiors stealing money that is meant for welfare or any other purpose, or presidents pocketing money that should go into national development.
In this article, however, we are not interested in the wealthiest presidents, or anywhere in the world, but in those of little or modest means. We want to highlight those African leaders who have made it a priority to leave a legacy of accountability and frugality, thus changing the mentality of ‘steal as much as you can’ which is widely obtainable in Africa today.
Here is the list of Top 10 Poorest Presidents in Africa 2020
1. Muhammadu Buhari – Nigeria
He has been proclaimed the poorest African leader with an estimated net worth of just over $150,000. Well, that raises some important questions because he has five homes and two mud houses in his native village in Daura Local Government Area of Katsina State, Nigeria.
He also has an orchard and ranch with 270 head of cattle, 25 sheep, five horses, and poultry farms. Furthermore, his children studied in prestigious universities in London. All these he claims he got with his personal savings.
The Washington Post has said in one of its’ reports that Buhari may be the only leader in Africa with the least wealth. According to the report, Buhari was described as being extremely poor when compared to other sub-Saharan African leaders.
It was also reported that President Muhammadu Buhari has five homes and two mud houses in his native home in Daura Local Government Area of Katsina State, Nigeria, an orchard and ranch with 270 head of cattle, 25 sheep, five horses, and poultry farms.
The president was said to have acquired two automobiles through his personal savings. It was reported that he had no foreign account, factory, private companies nor oil wells. President Buhari has shares in one of the top paint manufacturing companies, Union Bank and Skye Bank.
His other assets include two undeveloped plots of land in one of the ancient cities in the North and another in the Southern region of the country.
2. John Magufuli’s – Tanzania
As soon as he took office he cut his own salary into 3; his predecessor received 15,000 dollars a month! In a televised interview he said: “My salary is Tsh 9 million. I have not increased and will not increase because my goal is to serve Tanzanians”. His net worth is estimated at 1 million dollars.
3. Sahle-Work Zewde – Ethiopia
Sahle-Work Zewde is the President of Ethiopia and the third poorest president in Africa. She is the first woman to hold the office and the only woman on our list. A career diplomat, she was elected president unanimously by members of the Federal Parliamentary Assembly on 25 October 2018.
It would be a terrible thing if the first woman to hold the office of president spent all her time stealing the country’s money, so thankfully that is not what she has done. She receives a monthly salary of $3,686.17 and has a net worth estimated at less than 1 million dollars.
Before becoming president Sahle-Work was previously Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to the African Union, and she also served as Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union. This was in the capacity of the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.
4. Edgar Lungu – Zambia
Edgar Lungu is the President of Zambia. He earns a monthly salary of K51,437.67. Edgar Lungu of Zambia has seen perhaps more than his fair share of controversy, as he has faced sharp criticism with every word and action he has taken.
There has been widespread disbelief about his finances as he has declared, and many say that he has hidden so much money away from a public account. In any case, his official net worth is estimated at around 1 to 2 million dollars.
5. João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço – Angola
João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço is the president of Angola. He has held that office since 26 September 2017. Before that, he was Minister of Defense from 2014 to 2017.
In September 2018 he became the Chairman of the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the ruling party.
Since coming into office as president he has taken a stern stand against corruption and has been transparent about his earnings. He receives a basic salary of $168.50 monthly and has a net worth estimated at around 1 million dollars.
6. Evaristo do Espírito Santo Carvalho – Sao Tome
President Evaristo do Espirito Santo Carvalho has been president of Sao Tome and Príncipe since 3 September 2016. Before that, he has served the country on two occasions as the Prime Minister.
He was Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe from 7 July 1994 to 25 October 1994 and was again opportune to serve from 26 September 2001 to 28 March 2002.
He has made a name for himself as a public servant who wants to better a lot of the people, not enrich himself. He is a member of the Independent Democratic Action (ADI) party. He has an estimated Net Worth of $1 Million – $5 Million.
7. Adama Barrow – Gambia
Seventh on our list of poorest presidents in Africa, Adama Barrow is a real grace to grace story. He is a Gambian politician and real estate developer who is the third and current President of the Gambia, and he has been in office since 2017. He moved to London in the early 2000s and worked as a security guard while studying for qualifications in real estate.
He went back to the Gambia in 2006 and founded Majum Real Estate. He became the treasurer of the United Democratic Party, an opposition party, and then he rose to become its leader in September 2016.
He subsequently ran for the office and won in an election in which then incumbent president rejected the results. It was only after international pressure that Adama Barrow was allowed to take office. He receives 3,583 dollars a month and has an estimated net worth of around 1 million dollars.
8. Pierre Nkurunziza – Burundi
Pierre Nkurunziza is Burundi’s president and also a long time political strong-man. He is also known for having served as Deputy Secretary-General for the CNDD-FDD in 1998.
After declaring he would run for a third term, he faced political upheaval, unrelenting protests, and was forced to meet with UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon.
At least six people were killed in the first two days of the protests. The government shut down many radio stations and arrested opposition and civil society leaders.
Despite his human rights violations he is not generally seen as a person enriching himself by underhand means. His estimated Net Worth is around $1 Million – $5 Million.
9. Danny Faure – Seychelles
Danny Faure is a Seychellois politician and public servant with merit. He has been President of Seychelles since 16 October 2016. Before that, he served as Vice President of Seychelles from 2010 to 2016.
Faure is a member of the United Seychelles Party (PP). Over the years, he has served in various ministerial capacities including Minister of Education, Youth, Finance, Trade and industries, public administration and information, and also communication technology. Danny Faure estimated net worth is somewhere between $ USD 9 Million and 10 million dollars.
10. Idriss Deby – Chad
This is a very reasonable statement because the man has retained power for 27 years and is still counting. That is enough time to become a billionaire if he desired to, and it doesn’t matter if the country should burn while doing so.
This African leader has also spent his time in office gathering a bad human rights record for himself, especially as regards actions directed towards the opposition. No wonder he has remained in power for this long.