Joyce Banda

President, Malawi 2012-2014

Public service career

An entrepreneur, activist, politician and philanthropist, Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda served as the President of the Republic of Malawi from 2012-2014. She was Malawi’s first female President and Africa’s second. Prior to assuming office, President Banda served as a Member of Parliament, Minister of Gender and Child Welfare, Foreign Minister, and Vice President of the Republic of Malawi. While serving as Minister of Gender and Child Welfare, she championed the enactment of The Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill (2006), which provided the legal framework to support the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.

During her reign as President, Dr Joyce Banda is credited with turning around an ailing economy which was on the verge of collapse to one that registered 6.2% in 2014 from 1.8% registered in 2012. This followed her aggressive economic reforms which led to significant economic expansion. Under President Banda, Malawi’s operational industrial capacity improved from 35% in 2012 to 85% in July 2014, and the foreign exchange import cover improved from one week to three and half months in July 2014. In the areas of democracy, good governance, and rule of law, President Banda repealed a number of draconian laws which had weakened essential democratic institutions, infringed upon civil liberties, and restricted the freedom of the press.

In 1997, after receiving the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger that she shared with President Chissanu of Mozambique, she used the prize money of $50,000 to establish the Joyce Banda Foundation. The Foundation seeks to transform villages in Malawi and internationally through its work in supporting women’s economic empowerment, education, maternal health and HIV/AIDS programs, leadership training, and support for human rights.   The Joyce Banda Foundation has reached 1.3 million Malawians with Women’s empowerment, education, maternal health, leadership, and rights.

Post-political career 

In her post-presidency, Dr Banda has been leading election observation missions to Botswana and Nigeria. She currently serves as Pan African Climate justice champion further raising climate Justice issues in developing countries, in general, and Africa in particular.

President Banda is an international speaker on leadership, democracy, good governance, and women’s and girl’s rights and motivational speaker.  She has delivered numerous lectures at universities including Harvard Medical School and the Kennedy School of Politics, the London School of Economics and Political Science, George Washington University, Kansas State University, among others. She is also a recipient of many global awards ranging from leadership, democracy and girls rights.

Affiliations and Publications

  • Board Member, Tana High Level Forum for Peace and Security in Africa
  • Member, Southern Africa Community Development (SADC) Panel of Elders on Conflict Resolution, Peace and Security
  • Member, Club de Madrid
  • From Day One: Why Supporting Girls Aged 0 to 10 is Critical to Change Africa’s Path