Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (born October 29, 1938) is the current President of Liberia. Her victory was formally announced by the Liberian electoral commission on 23rd November 2005 following the 2005 election. She is the first elected female President of an African country. Her Vice-President will be Joseph Boakai
Educated at Harvard, Johnson-Sirleaf became involved in government when she became Finance Minister in President William Tolbert's administration in 1970. While running for Senate in 1985, she spoke out against the military regime, and was sentenced to ten years in prison. Released after a short period, she left in exile and returned in 1997 in the capacity of an economist, working for the World Bank, and Citibank in Africa.
Initially supporting Charles Taylor's rebellion against Sergeant Samuel Doe, she later went on to oppose him, and ran against him in the 1997 presidential elections. She managed only 10% of the votes, as opposed to Taylor's 75%. Taylor charged her with treason. She campaigned for the removal of President Taylor from office, playing an active and supportive role in the transitional government, as the country prepared itself for the 2005 elections. With Taylor's departure, she returned to take over the leadership of the Unity Party.
In the first round of 2005 voting, she came second with 175,520 votes, putting her through to the runoff vote on November 8 against former footballer George Weah. On November 11th, the National Electoral Commission of Liberia declared Johnson-Sirleaf to be President-elect of Liberia. On November 23rd they confirmed their decision saying that Johnson-Sirleaf had won with a margin of almost 20% of the vote. Weah is currently awaiting the results of the inquiry by the National Electoral Commission concerning his allegations of fraud. However, independent international, regional, and domestic observers have all declared the vote to be free, fair and transparent.
Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf is the mother of four sons and has six grandchildren.
- 1972 - 1973: Secretary of State for Finance of the Government of Liberia
- 1980 - c. 1985: Minister of Finance of the Government of Liberia
- 1982 - 1985: Vice-President of the Africa Regional Office of Citibank, Nairobi
- 1986 - 1992: Vice-President and member of the Executive Board of Equator Bank, Washington, D.C.
- 1992 - 1997: Director of UN Development Programme Regional Bureau for Africa
- 1997: Standard Bearer of Unity Party
- 2004-2005: Chairperson of the Commission on Good Governance (Liberia)
- 2005: Standard Bearer of Unity Party; Candidate for President
Johnson-Sirleaf has also been:
- Founding member of the "International Institute for Women in Political Leadership"
- Member of the Advisory Board of "Modern Africa Growth and Investment Company"
- Member of the Finance Committee of "Modern Africa Fund Managers"
- President of "Liberian Bank for Development and Investment"
- President of "Kormah Development and Investment Corporation"
- Senior Loan Officer of World Bank
- Vice President of Citibank
Publications From Disaster to Development (1991)
The Outlook for Commercial Bank Lending to Sub-Saharan Africa (1992)
- Recipient of the 1988 Franklin Delano Roosevelt
- Freedom of Speech Award
- Ralph Bunche International Leadership Award
- Grand Commander Star of Africa Redemption of Liberia
- Commandeur de l'Ordre du Togo (Commander of the Order of Togo)
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's Speech to the U.S. Congress (Video)
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's Speech to the U.S. Congress (Text)
Video of Ellen Sirleaf on BBC's "Have your say" program. (Video)
Inaugural Speech (Audio)
Inaugural Speech (Text)
Other Sites on Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf