Her Excellency, Dr. Joyce Hilda Banda, originally from Zomba, Malawi, is the President of the Republic of Malawi. She took her oath of office on April 7, 2012 after serving as Vice President of Malawi for three years. President Banda is Malawi’s first female President and Africa’s second female Head of State. She is married to Chief Justice Richard Banda SC (retired).
President Banda’s driving vision is to eradicate poverty in Malawi through economic growth and wealth creation. Specifically she has prioritized programs to assist women and youth in gaining social and political empowerment through entrepreneurship and education.
Among her first initiatives as President, Dr. Banda quickly established the Presidential Initiative on Poverty and Hunger Reduction aimed at influencing policy and practice on innovative programs to increase food security and the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood aimed at accelerating Malawi’s reduction of maternal mortality.
Prior to her election to the office of the President, President Banda served as Minister of Gender, Child Welfare and Community Services and as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – roles in which President Banda was a prominent leader in facilitating diplomatic relationships with several governments and spearheaded zero tolerance campaigns on child abuse and human trafficking with initiatives such as the introduction of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill in 2007.
Beyond her positions in public office, President Banda has a 30-year history of commitment to Malawi’s development. She is the founder of, among dozens of other programs, the National Association of Business Women (NABW), the Young Emerging Leaders Network, and the Market Women Activities in Development (MWAI) – work for which she has received notable recognition from several organizations including The Hunger Project in 1997 as an Africa Prize Laureate.
President Banda holds a Bachelor of Social Studies in Gender Studies from the Atlantic International University, USA and a diploma in NGO Management from the International Labour Organization (ILO) Centre in Turch, Italy. Currently, she is completinga Master of Arts Degree in Leadership at Royal Roads University in Canada. Jeonju University of South Korea conferred an Honorary Doctorate Degree on President Bandain January 2013.
The Hunger Project is honored to welcome President Banda as the Keynote Speaker at the 2013 Fall Gala.