DR Congo president appoints country's first female prime minister

Democratic Republic of Congo's President Felix Tshisekedi has appointed Planning Minister Judith Suminwa as the new prime minister.

Photo credit: Courtesy

President Félix Tshisekedi on Monday appointed Judith Suminwa as prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, making her the first woman to hold the post in the country's history.

The new prime minister replaces Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, who resigned at the end of February as required by law after winning a parliamentary seat.

Ms Suminwa has been Minister of Planning in the Congolese government since March 2023.

Her immediate task is to form a new government in a coalition around President Félix Tshisekedi that includes hundreds of political parties.

The new prime minister is eagerly awaited because of the urgent needs of the country.

 at a time when large parts of the DRC's territory in North Kivu, in the east, have been taken over by the M23.

On the economic front, Congolese expectations have been raised by the sharp depreciation of the local currency. The economic crisis has been grafted onto the security crisis in the east of the country and in the major cities, including Kinshasa, where urban banditry poses a serious challenge to the country's leaders.

In her first words, the new Prime Minister declared: "I know that the task and the challenges are immense. But together, with the Head of State, the government and the support of the Congolese people, we will succeed".

"My thoughts go out to the east and to all the corners of our country that are now facing conflicts with enemies who are sometimes hidden, who do not reveal themselves, but who will be found one way or another," Judith Suminwa added.

The new Prime Minister was not a well-known politician in the DRC until March 2023, when she was appointed Minister of Planning. She holds a master's degree in applied economics from the Université Libre de Bruxelles. She worked in the banking sector before joining United Nations agencies, including the UNDP.