JOYCE BANDA

An entrepreneur, activist, politician and philanthropist, Her Excellency Dr Joyce Banda was President of Malawi from 2012 to 2014.

She was Malawi’s first female president and Africa’s second. Voted Africa’s most powerful woman by Forbes Magazine two years in a row, Dr Banda is a champion for the rights of women, children and people who have been marginalized, including people with disabilities.

Before becoming President of Malawi, Dr Banda served as a Member of Parliament, the Minister of Gender and Child Welfare, the Foreign Minister and the Vice-President of Malawi. While serving as Minister of Gender and Child Welfare, Dr Banda championed the enactment of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill in 2006, which provides a legal framework and instrument for the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.

Through her unwavering commitment to the promotion of women’s maternal health and reproductive rights, Dr Banda established the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood. During her presidency, maternal mortality was reduced by 32%.

She is the recipient of more than 15 international awards, including the Hunger Project’s Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger, shared with President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique in 1997.

The Joyce Banda Foundation was established to transform Malawi from the grass roots. The Foundation is focused on women, education, youth and rural communities.

Dr Banda sits on a number of international organization bodies, including the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health and the Scientific Advisory Board for the global health and social change programme at Harvard Medical School.