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DR Congo appoints country’s first female prime minister

News. Congo first female prime minister. On Monday, Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi appointed Judith Suminwa as Prime Minister, making her the country’s first-ever female to hold the position.

Ms. Suminwa takes over from Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, who resigned at the end of February after winning a parliamentary seat, as required by law.
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Previously serving as the Minister for Planning since March 2023, Ms. Suminwa’s appointment comes after weeks of uncertainty following President Tshisekedi’s inauguration for a second term in January. Before naming a prime minister and forming a government, the National Assembly needed to form a majority coalition.

Ms. Suminwa’s immediate task is to form a new government within a coalition comprising the President’s party and numerous political parties.

The new Prime Minister faces significant challenges, including a deteriorating conflict and humanitarian crisis in eastern regions, as well as the management of Congo’s substantial mineral wealth.

Speaking on national television, Ms. Suminwa acknowledged the immense responsibility ahead and pledged to work towards peace and the country’s development, emphasizing the need for unity and support from the Congolese people.

She expressed concern for the ongoing conflicts in various parts of the country and vowed to address them with determination.
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During his first term, President Tshisekedi promised to combat endemic corruption, revive the economy, address deep-rooted inequalities, and address insecurity in the eastern regions. However, critics argue that he failed to fulfill these promises.

Before her appointment as Minister for Planning in 2023, Ms. Suminwa was not widely known in Congolese politics. She holds a master’s degree in applied economics from the Université Libre de Bruxelles and has worked in the banking sector as well as with United Nations agencies, including the UNDP.