First Female Prime Minister of DRC, Judith Tuluka Suminwa Sworn In

By Diana Wenwa

In a historic ceremony held yesterday, Judith Tuluka Suminwa was sworn in as the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), becoming the first woman to hold this esteemed position since the country’s independence.

President Félix Tshisekedi, who nominated Suminwa on April 1, 2024, presided over the ceremony, which also saw the inauguration of her 54-member cabinet by the National Assembly.

The ceremony marked the end of a six-month wait, paving the way for renewed efforts towards stability and development in a nation grappling with numerous challenges.

Suminwa’s appointment is not just a milestone for gender equality but also a testament to President Tshisekedi’s commitment to fostering positive masculinity and empowering women in leadership roles.

Born on October 19, 1967, Judith Tuluka Suminwa has led a distinguished career marked by significant contributions to both national and international organizations.

Her academic background includes a master’s degree in applied economics from the Université libre de Bruxelles and a diploma of additional studies in Work in Developing Countries, equipping her with a strong foundation to tackle complex economic and social issues.

Before venturing into politics, Suminwa accumulated extensive experience in the banking sector. She then transitioned to international development, working with United Nations agencies, including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), where she served as a national expert in a community support project in eastern DRC.

Suminwa’s domestic political career began at the Ministry of the Budget, where her skills and dedication quickly earned her the position of deputy coordinator of the Presidential Strategic Watch Council (CPVS).
Her success in these roles paved the way for her appointment as Minister of Planning under Prime Minister Sama Lukonde on March 24, 2023.

The DRC is rich in natural resources yet burdened by decades of conflict and political instability, stands at a crossroads.

Suminwa’s leadership as Prime Minister is expected to bring a fresh perspective and renewed vigour to the government’s efforts to address the nation’s myriad challenges, including poverty, infrastructure deficits, and regional conflicts.

Her swearing-in comes at a critical time when the DRC is seeking to strengthen its democratic institutions and foster economic growth.

With a diverse and experienced cabinet by her side, Suminwa is poised to lead initiatives aimed at improving governance, enhancing social services, and promoting sustainable development.

Judith Tuluka Suminwa’s position as the prime minister is a symbol of progress and hope for many Congolese women.

Her achievement is a significant step toward gender parity in a society where women have long been underrepresented in positions of power. By breaking this glass ceiling, she has not only made history but also inspired countless women and girls across the DRC to aspire to leadership roles.

In the words of President Tshisekedi, “This is a momentous occasion for our nation. Prime Minister Judith Tuluka Suminwa’s appointment is a beacon of hope and a testament to the strength and potential of our people. Together, we will work tirelessly to realize the dreams and aspirations of every Congolese citizen.”