Meet Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, born in Monrovia to a Gola father and a Kru-German mother. Sirleaf was educated at the College of West Africa before moving to the United States, where she studied at Madison Business College and Harvard University.
She is a Liberian politician who served as the 24th President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018. Sirleaf was the first elected female head of state in Africa.
From the beginning of her presidency, Sirleaf vowed to make reduction of the national debt, which stood at approximately US$4.9 billion in 2006, and she did. She even went further and vowed to prevent unsustainable borrowing in the future by restricting annual borrowing to 3% of GDP and limiting expenditure of all borrowed funds to one-off infrastructure projects.
Amongst her many achievements and awards, in February 2018 she was awarded the 2017 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. The award provided $5 million, disbursed over 10 years, followed by an annual $200,000 stipend for the rest of Johnson Sirleaf’s life.
So, next time you want to learn about woman who changed the game in Africa, look no further, Ellen Johnson is one of the modern ones.
Mduduzi Mbiza is a writer, content strategist, researcher, consultant and author of the book, ‘Human Education: The Voyage of Discovery’. He has contributed his articles on education to Daily Maverick, The South African, Voice360 and EduOne.