Joyce Banda

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  • Africa's Second Female President
  • President of the Republic of Malawi (2012-2014)
  • Member, UN Council of Women World Leaders
  • Activist and Philanthropist

An entrepreneur, activist, politician and a philanthropist, Dr. Joyce Banda is the former president of Malawi, making her the country's first female president and Africa's second. Voted as Africa's most powerful woman by Forbes magazine and voted as one of the most powerful women in the world, she is a champion for the rights of women, children, the disabled and other marginalized groups. Continuing her tireless work encouraging women to enter political office and championing the rights of women and the disenfranchised, Dr. Banda has taken on a Distinguished Visiting Fellowship at the Center for Global Development, jointly with the Woodrow Wilson Center, where she brings her invaluable experiences as a leader in African politics. In 2016, she also joined as a member of the United Nation's Council of Women World Leaders. 

 
  

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  • George Washington University
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Explore Joyce Banda's Talks

Women's Challenges and Opportunities in Public Life

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Women's Participation in Agribusiness for Economic Growth

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Social Justice and Global Education

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Redefining Leadership to Advance Social Justice

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<p>Redefining Leadership: Head of State Joyce Banda</p>

Redefining Leadership: Head of State Joyce Banda

In this video profile, Africa's second female President Dr. JOYCE BANDA, a champion for the rights of women, children, and the disabled and other marginalized groups, describes her ascendancy to being the first woman president of Malawi. Dr. Banda was named to the United Nations Council of World Women Leaders, where she continues to serve as a tireless advocate for women's leadership at the highest levels around the globe.

Watch the video here >>
<p>Dr. Banda is named to the United Nations Council of Women World Leaders</p>

Dr. Banda is named to the United Nations Council of Women World Leaders

DR. JOYCE BANDA is the first female president of Malawi and the second in Africa.  She is a passionate advocate for expanding women's leadership around the world- from within their own homes to the executive offices of nations.  According to the Council of Women World Leaders, the expanding network of women leaders is an important catalyst for global action - necessary to achieve women’s leadership, gender equality and other sustainable development goals. Dr. Banda supports women’s full participation and representation in the political process at the highest levels, and encourages future women leaders.

Learn more about Dr. Banda's support of women's leadership around the world >>
<p>Joyce Banda joins the Woodrow Wilson Center as a Distinguished Fellow</p>

Joyce Banda joins the Woodrow Wilson Center as a Distinguished Fellow

Dr. Banda's work will focus on supporting women's leadership in the public sector. The Wilson Center is the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community.

Read more about Dr. Banda's work with the Wilson Center >>
<p>Programming Idea: Host Head of State Joyce Banda</p>

Programming Idea: Host Head of State Joyce Banda

If your event is seeking gravitas, hosting a former head of state and the first female president of her nation will deliver on expectations.  A leader who transformed a nation through grassroots efforts, President Banda redefined leadership to advance progress in her African nation of Malawi.

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<p>Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda empowers youth at We Day Saskatchewan 2016</p>

Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda empowers youth at We Day Saskatchewan 2016

Dovetailing with her declared life's work as a champion for the rights of women, children, and the disabled and other marginalized groups, Her Excellency DR. JOYCE BANDA took the stage at the We Day Saskatchewan 2016 to help nurture compassion in young people and give them the tools to create transformational social change.

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<p>Joyce Banda Foundation</p>

Joyce Banda Foundation

A recipient of more than 15 international accolades including the “Hunger Project Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger” shared with President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique in 1997, President Banda is a strong advocate for women and girls’ emancipation and empowerment and a prominent civil rights campaigner. She founded the Joyce Banda Foundation International, which guides projects that range from empowering women to providing for orphans’ education.

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Biography

An entrepreneur, activist, politician, and philanthropist, Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda is Former President of the Republic of Malawi, having ruled Malawi from 2012 -2014. She is Malawi’s first female president and Africa’s second.  Voted as Africa's most powerful woman by Forbes magazine for two years running and voted as one of the most powerful women in the world, Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda is a champion for the rights of women, children, and the disabled and other marginalized groups.

Before becoming President of Malawi, Dr. Joyce 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, Dr. Joyce 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.

President Banda is credited for turning around Malawi’s ailing economy, which was on the verge of collapse when she became president in April 2012. She instituted a number of economic reforms which did not only bring the economy back on the right track but also saw the economy growing from 1.8% in 2012 to over 6.2 % in 2014; improved the operational industrial capacity from 35% in 2012 to 85% in July 2014;   enhanced Malawi’s foreign exchange import cover from one week in 2014 to three and half months in July 2014; and also turned around Malawi’s fuel cover from 1 day in 2014 to 15 days in 2014 at any given time.  In the areas of democracy, President Banda repealed a number of draconian laws that infringed on people’s civil liberties, media freedom and weakened institutions of good governance and rule of law.

Dr. Joyce Banda’s unwavering commitment to the promotion of women’s maternal health and reproductive rights saw her establish the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood which spearheaded the fight against high maternal mortality and the promotion of safe motherhood in Malawi. Remarkably during the two year period of her presidency, Malawi registered considerable success in the areas of maternal and child health and reproductive health in general as the country reduced the maternal mortality ratio from 675 deaths per 100,000 live births to 460.  This achievement is attributed to the model which President Banda introduced, which was a balanced act of both traditional and technical dimensions and approaches.

Staying fast to her humanitarian convictions, President Banda sold the multi-million dollar presidential jet and donated 30% of her salary to Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA), an organization for people with disabilities during her two years of presidency.

A recipient of more than 15 international accolades including the “Hunger Project Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger” shared with President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique in 1997, President Banda is a strong advocate for women and girls’ emancipation and empowerment and a prominent civil rights campaigner. She founded Joyce Banda Foundation International, which has guided projects from empowering women to providing education for orphans. Currently Joyce Banda Foundation International has benefited  over 1.3 million people in Malawi through various programs and interventions ranging from economic empowerment, agriculture and food security, education, water and sanitation, and youth development, just to mention a few.  Among many other organizations, she established the National Association of Business Women, which lends women start-up cash to build small businesses, and the Young Women's Leadership Network, which mentors female students in schools.

On the international scene, President Banda was instrumental in the formation of such organizations as African Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (AFWE) currently running in 41 countries in Africa, Council for the Economic Empowerment of Women in Africa (CEEWA) and Americans & Africans Business Women’s Alliance (AABWA) of which she served as First President.

President Banda sits on a number of international organization bodies. These include the Executive Advisory Committee of UNIFEM, Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, and Scientific Advisory Board of the Programs in Global Health and Social Change for Harvard Medical School. Continuing her tireless work encouraging women to enter political office and championing the rights of women and the disenfranchised, Dr. Banda has taken on a Distinguished Visiting Fellowship at the Center for Global Development, jointly with the Woodrow Wilson Center, where she brings her invaluable experiences as a woman in African politics.

President Banda has been a panelist and motivation speaker at a number of international conferences and forums, including the International Conference on Women in Beijing, the American and African Business Women's Africa Conference in London, and the Women Deliver Conference in Washington, DC.