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African Leaders

The widely-held belief is that political leaders and presidents receive huge monthly and annual salary, accompanied by donations, gifts and sometimes bribes.

Though the leaders of Cameroon, South Africa and Kenya are said to be the highest earning presidents, there are others who are earning a fraction of what they pocket every month.

They are taking these lowest figures largely as part of ways to cut government spending and improve the welfare of their people. Others, though, are already well-to-do and so their salary – whether small or not – is no big deal.

Here are some of the African leaders with the lowest pay:

Isaias Afwerki

The Eritrean leader is one of the lowest paid African leaders,  earning a monthly salary of US$500, as of 2017.  Two years prior, there were reports that he earned on average less than US$ 400 a month, making less than what some mining companies that had set up in his own doorstep and their workers make.

Afwerki has been president since Eritrea’s independence in 1993. He led the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) to victory in May 1991, ending the 30-year-old Eritrean War of Independence.

He has been cited for human rights violations by the United Nations and Amnesty International. In 2015, Reporters Without Borders ranked Eritrea last in its press-freedom index for the eighth year running. His recent visit to Addis Ababa, the capital of its neighbour Ethiopia, to make peace was described as a major move for the 72-year-old leader who often remained isolated diplomatically.

John Magufuli

The Tanzanian president recently revealed that he earns a salary of 9 million Tanzanian shillings ($4,000) per month. This was after his government had slashed salaries of executives at state-owned companies at 15 million Tanzanian shillings ($6,700) a month, Reuters reported.

Since taking office in November 2015, Magufuli has implemented cost-cutting measures across various sectors in his government, including restricting foreign travels for government officials and removing ghost workers from the government payroll in a bid to reduce government spending.

Abiy Ahmed

The Ethiopian prime minister is on a salary of just $300 a month, he revealed in October this year, saying that his mission is not to canvass wealth for himself but to bring changes in the country’s economy. Ahmed, after assuming office, also promised to deal with ethnic conflicts in the country, that have displaced over two million people since last year.

In July, Ahmed met his country’s longtime adversary, the Eritrean president, Isaias Afwerki, and the two countries smoked the peace pipe and restored diplomatic relations after nearly 20 years of conflict.

Ahmed has since made attempts to reconcile with several rebel groups in the country and he is now optimistic that the women he has brought on board his government would help in restoring peace and stability.

Beji Caid Essebsi

He is Tunisia’s first democratically elected President, having won the election in December 2014. His salary is $16,400 USD per year though he is said to be living a comfortable life due to his family’s ties to the aristocracy and monarchy that was deposed 60 years ago.

His administration in 2016 made some cuts in the salaries of ministers but the country is still hoping to make further improvements in the economy.

Though he has vowed to be president of all Tunisian men and women without exclusion, some believe he is attempting to build a family dynasty with his son who has often clashed with the prime minister, Beji Caid Essebsi over political and economic reforms.