Joyce Hilda Banda (Nee Ntila) is a politician from Malawi and the nation’s former president (from 7 April 2012 to 31 May 2014). She was born on April 12,1950 in Malemia, a village in the Zomba District, Nyasaland (now Malawi). She assumed presidency after President Bingu wa Mutharika unexpectedly passed away.
The People’s Party, founded in 2011, is run by her as its founder and leader. Banda is also a teacher and ardent supporter of women’s rights. She served as Malawi’s Vice-President from May 2009 to April 2012 and as Foreign Minister from 2006 to 2009. Before taking office as president of the Republic of Malawi, she had held a number of positions, including those of member of parliament and minister for gender and child welfare.
She established the National Association of Business Women (NABW), the Young Women Leaders Network, the Hunger Project, and the Joyce Banda Foundation before entering politics.
Banda served as Malawi’s fourth president, the country’s first female leader after Elizabeth II, and its second female head of state. Following Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, she was the second woman to hold the office of president on the African continent. She was also the first female vice president of the nation. President Banda was ranked the most powerful woman in Africa and the 40th most influential woman in the world by Forbes in June 2014. She was listed in the BBC’s 100 Women in October 2014.
Ndekani Garments (1985), Akajuwe Enterprises (1992), and Kalingidza Bakery (1995) are just a few of the companies and organisations that Banda managed and founded between 1985 and 1997. Her accomplishment motivated her to support other women in achieving financial freedom and ending the cycle of poverty and violence.
Richard Banda, a former Chief Justice of Malawi, and Joyce Banda are married; they have two children together.
A nonprofit organisation run by Banda provides educational support to orphans and young people in Malawi. It is a collection of elementary and secondary schools in Blantyre’s Chimwankhunda neighbourhood. There is an orphan care facility there with six facilities and 600 kids. By giving 40 women and 10 youth organisations microcredit, it also helps the nearby communities. Over 10,000 farmers received seeds from it, and it also made additional donations. Four clinics have been built by the charity in four of the 200 villages it supports. Additionally, the charity supports rural development. It collaborates with the Jack Brewer Foundation, an organisation dedicated to global development and created by former NFL player Jack Brewer.
Banda reduced her pay by 30% as a result of government austerity measures in October 2012. She also disclosed the sale of the presidential aircraft.
Awards and Recognitions
- Woman of the Year, Malawi, 1997
- Woman of the Year, Malawi, 1998
- Nyasa Times Multimedia ‘Person of the Year’, 2010
- Martin Luther King Drum Major Award, 2012, Washington DC
- Legends Award for Leadership, 2012, Greater African Methodist Episcopal Church
- Women of Substance Award, 2010, African Women Development Fund
- Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger, 1997, Hunger Project of NY
- International award for entrepreneurship development, 1998, Africa Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs and Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
- 100 Heroines award, 1998, Rochester, New York
- Certificate of Honors, 2001, Federation of World Peace and Love, Taiwan, Republic of China
- Most powerful woman in the world 2014, Forbes Magazine – rank 40th
- Most powerful woman in the world 2013, Forbes Magazine – rank 47th
- Most powerful woman in the world 2012, Forbes Magazine – rank 71st
- Most powerful woman in Africa 2012, Forbes Magazine – rank 1st
- Most powerful woman in Africa 2011, Forbes Magazine – rank 3rd