Joyce Banda

Born:April 12, 1950 (age 72)
Career:President of Malawi, 2012-2014
Vice president of Malawi, 2009-2012
Minister of Foreign Affairs (Malawi), 2006-2009

Joyce Hilda Banda was president of the Republic of Malawi from April 7, 2012 to May 31, 2014. She was Malawi's fourth president and its first female president. Before becoming president, she was Malawi's first female vice-president.

Banda was born on April 12, 1950, in Malemia, a village in the Zomba District of Nyasaland (now Malawi). She has a Bachelor of Arts in early childhood education from Columbus University, a Bachelor of Social Studies in gender studies from the Atlantic International University and a Diploma in Management of NGOs from the International Labour Organization (ILO) Centre in Turin, Italy.

Between 1985 and 1997, Banda achieved success in several business ventures, leading her to help other women achieve financial independence. She was the founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation, the National Association of Business Women (NABW), Young Women Leaders Network and the Hunger Project.

Banda was elected to parliament in 1999, representing the Zomba-Malosa constituency, and was named minister for gender, children's affairs and community services. She was re-elected in 2004, and served as foreign minister from 2006 to 2009. She was Malawi's vice president from 2009-2012, becoming president upon the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika in April 2012, despite attempts by Malawi's cabinet to block her presidency. She was defeated for re-election by Peter Muthirika, brother to the late President Bingu wa Muthirika.