7 African Leaders You Probably Didn’t Know ‘Have No College Degree’

A college degree or higher institution education can open a number of doors for those who hold them. But throughout history, some politicians have found success despite sidestepping their higher education.

Many times presidents are often regarded as highly educated men and women committed to using their credentials to assist their countries.

However some African leaders have challenged this status quo by proving that having a college degree or higher institution education is not required to run a country.

Lets take a look at 7 of such leaders who stood against all odds to keep their dreams alive:

1. Isaias Afwerki, Eritrea

Afwerrki is the first president of the state of Eritrea, a position he has held since its independence in 1993. Isaias grew up in Asmara and graduated from Prince Makonnen High School in 1965.

Scoring good grades in the General School Leaving Certificate Exams enabled him to secure admittance to the highly competitive College of Engineering at Haile Selassie I University (now called Addis Ababa University) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In late 1966, he abandoned his engineering studies and headed for Kassala, Sudan, where he joined the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) in exile.

2. Dennis Sassou-Nguesso, Republic of the Congo

Sassou-Nguesso a member of the Mbochi tribe, was born in Edou in the Oyo district in northern Congo in 1943. He is a Congolese politician who has been the President of the Republic of the Congo since 1997; he was previously President from 1979 to 1992.

Sassou-Nguesso attended Loubomo Secondary School from 1956 until 1961. He then joined the army, which sent him to Algeria and France for military training. In 1963 Sassou-Nguesso was appointed commander of military forces inBrazzaville and by the early 1970s had risen to the rank of colonel.

3. Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria

Buhari a native of Daura of Katsina state is the incumbent president of Nigeria. He is a retired army major general and was Head of State of Nigeria from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985.

He attended primary school in Daura and Mai’adua before proceeding to Katsina Model School in 1953, and to Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Government College Katsina) from 1956 to 1961. He joined the Nigerian Army by enrolling in the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC) in 1961.

4. Paul Kagame, Rwanda


Kagame is the sixth and current president of Rwanda having taken the oath office in 2000. A refugee in neighbouring Uganda since childhood, he is schooled in conflict. He began his primary education in a school near the refugee camp, where he and other Rwandan refugees learned English and began to integrate into Ugandan culture

At the age of nine he moved to the respected Rwengoro Primary School, where he graduated with the best grades in the district. He subsequently attended Ntare School, one of the best schools in Uganda. The death of Kagame’s father in the early 1970s, and the departure of Rwigyema to an unknown location, led to a decline in his academic performance. He was eventually suspended from Ntare and completed his studies without distinction at Old Kampala Secondary School.

5. Yahya Jammeh, Gambia

President Jammeh joined the Gambian National Army in 1984, was commissioned a Lieutenant in 1989, and in 1992 became commander of the Gambian Military Police. He received extensive military training in neighboring Senegal and at United States Army School of the Americas.

In 1983 he passed the General Certificate of Education (GCE 0′ Level) with Credits in Geography, English, French, Biology and Physics. Also obtained passes in Chemistry and Oral English. Jammeh joined the Gambian National Army in 1984, was commissioned a Lieutenant in 1989, and in 1992 became commander of the Gambian Military Police.He received extensive military training in neighboring Senegal and at United States Army school.

6. Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, Sudan

Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir did his Primary school in the village of Hoshe Bannaga and his secondary education in Khartoum, apart from these there is no evidence of any other academic qualifications accredited to Omar Hassan.

He studied at the Egyptian Military Academy in Cairo and then at the Sudan Military Academy in Khartoum from where he graduated in 1966. He Joined the Sudanese Army and studied at the Egyptian Military Academy in Cairo and served in the Army since then until he became the president of Sudan.

7. Ismail Omar Guelleh, DJbouti

Guelleh was born in dire Dawa, Ethiopia, into the Mamassan subclan of the Issa Clan. When he was younger he attended a traditional Islamic school. In the late 1960s, Guelleh migrated to Djibouti before finishing high school. He later joined the police, becoming a junior non-commissioned officer.

His highest level of formal academic education known to be attained is from secondary school, although he received training from the Somali National Security Service and then from the French Secrete Service.


Written by How Africa

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