Hon’ble President of Liberia
Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the 24th President of Liberia and Africa’s first democratically elected female Head of State, serving her second term as President after winning the 2011 presidential election. She’s one of the three who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. Her entry into politics began in 1972. In 1975 she joined the then Treasury Department in Liberia, rising to the position of Minister of Finance in 1979. In 1992 she joined the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as Assistant Administrator and Director of its Regional Bureau of Africa with the rank of Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations.
In 1997 she returned home and contested the general and presidential elections and was ranked second in votes to opponent Charles Taylor. She successfully contested the 2005 general and presidential elections; resulting in her historic win on January 16, 2006, as President of the Republic of Liberia. Her leadership has led to more than $4 billion in debt relief in June 2010 and to the lifting of UN trade sanctions to allow Liberia access international markets. She has increased the national budget from $80 million in 2006 to more than half a billion in 2011 and has driven annual GDP growth to at least 7 percent in the same period.
The Liberian leader is also Goodwill Ambassador for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Africa. She is also a proud recipient of numerous prestigious awards including: the FAO CERES Medal (2008); the Crisis Group Fred Cuny Award for the Prevention of Deadly Crisis (2008) for outstanding leadership in democracy, development and peace-building in Africa; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2007), the highest civilian honor bestowed by an American President.
President Sirleaf has been recognized amid numerous honors such as 14 honorary degrees from American colleges and universities. In 2010, Newsweek magazine listed Johnson Sirleaf as one of the ten best leaders in the world; Time placed her among the top ten female leaders; and the Economist called her “the best President the country has ever had.”