The average age of the 15 oldest African leaders is 77, compared to 52 for the world’s ten most-developed economies. Could this be one of the major reasons for Africa’s under-development?

If former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, 94, was not unceremoniously marched out of the office he held for 37 years in 2017, he would have still been the President of the country till date.

Despite gaining power in 1987, he refused to step down from office until 2017. His rule was highly controversial. He once won the top prize in a lottery organized by a state-owned bank, among other things.

Well, Mugabe was replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa nicknamed ‘Crocodile’, a 75-year-old onetime loyalist to the ex-president.

Why are African leaders so bent on holding to power? Once they get into office, they throw their brilliant credentials and track records out the window as seen in the cases of Mugabe, El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba, Gaddafi, etc.; no matter how good a leader is, he/she cannot be the only candidate in the entire country capable of leading the country.

Recently in Uganda, after weeks of political wrangling, threats, intimidation and embarrassing fisticuffs, the parliament finally pushed through a change to the constitution which removes age limits for holders of the highest office in the land. The age limit had been 75. President Yoweri Museveni is 74. He has been president of Uganda since 1986.

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi is 91. His presidency follows a term as Prime Minister, a role he took following the revolution in the country which sparked the Arab Uprising across the Middle East.

85 years old Paul Biya has been Cameroon’s president since 1982. He is seen as a particularly entrenched African leader, having survived a number of coup attempts.

Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is 81. Having been in his position since 1999, he is currently in his fourth term. He also served a long tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1963 to 1979.

Arthur Peter Mutharika is a Malawian politician, educator and lawyer who has been President of Malawi since 31 May 2014. He is 79 Years.

Alpha Conde is 80 years old and has been President of Guinea since December 2010, after many years spent in opposition. He survived an assassination attempt in 2011.

Hage Geingob, 74, is the third president of Namibia. After serving as Prime Minister of the country for 12 years he became President in March 2015.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is the President of Ghana, in office since January 2017. He previously served as Attorney General from 2001 to 2003 and as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2007.

Manuel Pinto da Costa is a Santoméan economist and politician who served as the first President of São Tomé and Príncipe from 1975 to 1991. He is serving again as President since 201.

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has ruled Equatorial Guinea since 1979. He is 76 years old. He has also faced allegations of corruption, particularly in relations to the country’s oil resources. He won the last elections in 2009 with over 95% of the vote. His son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, is Vice President, and is thought to be his favored successor.

Top 15 Oldest President is Africa