At 27, this Namibian minister emerges as Africa’s youngest cabinet member

Meet Emma Theofelus, Africa's youngest cabinet minister breaking barriers in politics.

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Emma Theofelus, a 27-year-old Namibian politician, was appointed as the new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) minister.

She was appointed by the current president of Namibia, Nangolo Mbumba on February 9, 2024, who took over as head of state after the death of the late President Hage Geingob on February 4. This made her the youngest serving cabinet minister in Namibia and on the African continent.

Theofelus, born on March 28, 1996, was a member of parliament and the deputy minister of ICT before she was appointed minister of ICT. She was 23 years old when she was appointed deputy minister of ICT in March 2020.

She holds a diploma in business management from Amity University, an LLB with honours from the University of Namibia, and a diploma in Afrikan feminism and gender studies from the University of South Africa.

She was also named a Laureate in the Individual Category of the United Nations Population Award in June 2022, an international award presented annually by the United Nations Population Fund to individuals and organisations that have made significant contributions to population and reproductive health issues.

She is currently an Amujae Leader 2023, an initiative to shift the landscape for women in public leadership in Africa under the mentorship of former Liberian President and the first elected female head of state in Africa Ellen Jonson-Sirleaf.

Uganda’s Francis Zaake who was born in 1991 and has been a member of parliament in Uganda since 2016, Nigeria’s Chike Ukaegbu who contested for the presidency in Nigeria at the age of 35 in 2019 and the achievements of Theofelus in politics at such a young age have all been steps in the direction of the participation of youth aged 35 and under in politics and governance in Africa.

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