List of state leaders in the 21st century

Last updated

State leaders: 1951–2000Current state leadersState leaders by year

This is a list of state leaders in the 21st century (2001–present) AD, such as the heads of state, heads of government, or the general secretaries of single-party states.

A head of state is the public persona who officially represents the national unity and legitimacy of a sovereign state. Depending on the country's form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a ceremonial figurehead or concurrently the head of government. In a parliamentary system the head of state is the de jure leader of the nation, and there is a separate de facto leader, often with the title of prime minister. In contrast, a semi-presidential system has both heads of state and government as the leaders de facto of the nation.

The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, who often presides over a cabinet, a group of ministers or secretaries who lead executive departments. "Head of government" is often differentiated from "head of state", as they may be separate positions, individuals, or roles depending on the country.

General Secretary or First Secretary is the official title of leaders of most Communist political parties. When a Communist party is the ruling party in a Communist-led one-party state, the General Secretary is typically the country's de facto leader—though sometimes this leader also holds state-level positions in order to hold de jure leadership of the state as well. One exception to this rule is the People's Republic of China from 1978 to 1990 where the Chairman and then General Secretary of the Communist Party were subordinate to Deng Xiaoping who was the de facto paramount leader of China.


These polities are generally sovereign states, including states with limited recognition (when recognised by at least one UN member state), but excludes minor dependent territories, whose leaders can be found listed under territorial governors in the 21st century. For completeness, these lists can include colonies, protectorates, or other dependent territories that have since gained sovereignty.

Sovereign state Political organization with a centralized independent government

In international law, a sovereign state, sovereign country, or simply state, is a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.

A dependent territory, dependent area or dependency is a territory that does not possess full political independence or sovereignty as a sovereign state yet remains politically outside the controlling state's integral area.

Colony territory under the political control of an overseas state, generally with its own subordinate colonial government

In history, a colony is a territory under the immediate complete political control and occupied by settlers of a state, distinct from the home territory of the sovereign. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception.


Africa: Central

José Eduardo dos Santos President of Angola

José Eduardo dos Santos is an Angolan politician who served as President of Angola from 1979 to 2017. As President, José Eduardo dos Santos was also the commander in chief of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) and President of the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the party that has ruled Angola since it gained independence in 1975. He was the second-longest-serving president in Africa, surpassed only by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, who took power less than two months before dos Santos.

João Lourenço Angolan politician, president of Angola

João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço,GColIH is an Angolan politician who has served as the President of Angola since 26 September 2017. Previously, he was Minister of Defence from 2014 to 2017. In September 2018 he became the Chairman of the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the ruling party. He was the party's Secretary-General from 1998 to 2003.

Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos, known as Nandó, is an Angolan politician who was Vice President of Angola from February 2010 to September 2012. He was the Prime Minister of Angola from 2002 to 2008 and President of the National Assembly of Angola from 2008 to 2010. He has again served as President of the National Assembly since 2012.

António Paulo Kassoma is an Angolan politician. He was named Prime Minister of Angola in September 2008 and remained in office until the new constitution replaced this function in February 2010. Kassoma then served as President of the National Assembly of Angola from 2010 to 2012. On August 27, 2016 Kassoma was named Party Secretary of the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola.

Peter Mafany Musonge Cameroonian politician

Peter Mafany Musonge is a Cameroonian politician who was Prime Minister of Cameroon from September 1996 to December 8, 2004.

Ephraïm Inoni Prime Minister of Cameroon

Ephraïm Inoni is a Cameroonian politician who was Prime Minister of Cameroon from 2004 to 2009. He was a long-time aide of President Paul Biya and is a member of the ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (RDPC). He was appointed to the position of Prime Minister by Biya on December 8, 2004 and was sworn in that day.

Philémon Yang Prime Minister of Cameroon

Philémon Yunji Yang is a Cameroonian politician who served as Prime minister from 30 June 2009 to 4 January 2019. Previously he was Assistant Secretary General of the Presidency, with the rank of minister, from 2004 to 2009. He served in the government from 1975 to 1984 and was Cameroon's Ambassador to Canada from 1984 to 2004. He is the longest-serving Prime Minister in Cameroonian history.

Ange-Félix Patassé former President of the Central African Republic

Ange-Félix Patassé was a Central African politician who was President of the Central African Republic from 1993 until 2003, when he was deposed by the rebel leader François Bozizé. Patassé was the first president in the CAR's history to be chosen in what was generally regarded as a fairly democratic election (1993) in that it was brought about by donor pressure on the André Kolingba and assisted by the United Nations Electoral Assistance Unit. He was chosen a second time in a fair election (1999) as well. However, during his first term in office (1993–1999), three military mutinies in 1996–1997 led to increasing conflict between so-called "northerners" and "southerners". Expatriate mediators and peacekeeping troops were brought in to negotiate peace accords between Patassé and the mutineers and to maintain law and order. During his second term as president, Patassé increasingly lost the support of many of his long-time allies as well as the French, who had intervened to support him during his first term in office. Patassé was ousted in March 2003 and went into exile in Togo.

François Bozizé Central African politician

François Bozizé Yangouvonda is a Central African politician who was the President of the Central African Republic from 2003 to 2013.

Michel Am-Nondokro Djotodia is a Central African politician who was President of the Central African Republic from 2013 to 2014. He was the first Muslim to hold that office in the predominantly Christian country. Djotodia was a leader of the almost entirely Muslim Séléka rebel coalition in the December 2012 rebellion against President François Bozizé. Following a peace agreement, Djotodia was appointed to the government as First Deputy Prime Minister for National Defense in February 2013. When the peace agreement unravelled, Séléka captured Bangui and Djotodia took power on 24 March 2013. He promised to lead a transition to new elections in which he would not be a candidate, but his time in office was marked by escalating sectarian violence, and he was ultimately pressured into resigning by regional leaders on 10 January 2014.

  • President (2013)
  • Transitional Head of State (2013–2014)

Africa: East

post currently abolished
post currently abolished

Africa: Northcentral

  • President of the General National Congress of Libya (2013–2014)
  • Contesting Chairman of the 2014 General National Congress of Libya (2014–2016)

Africa: Northeast

Africa: Northwest

Africa: South

  • Ntfombi, Queen Regent (1983–1986), Ndlovukati (1983–present)
post currently abolished

Africa: West

post currently abolished
  • Yahya Jammeh, Chairman of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (1994–1996), President (1996–2017)
  • Adama Barrow, President (2017–present)


Americas: Caribbean

  • Fidel Castro, Prime minister (1959–1976), President of the Council of Ministers (1976–2008)
  • Raúl Castro, President of the Council of Ministers (2008–present)

Americas: Central

Americas: North

Americas: South


Asia: Central

  • Emomali Rahmon, Chairman of the Supreme Assembly (1992–1994), President (1994–present)

Asia: East

  • Jiang Zemin, General Secretary (1989–2002), paramount leader (1989–2002)
  • Hu Jintao, General Secretary (2002–2012), paramount leader (2002–2012)
  • Xi Jinping, General Secretary (2012–present), paramount leader (2012–present)

Asia: Southeast

  • Hun Sen, Prime minister (1998–present)

Asia: South

Asia: West

  • Qaboos, Sultan (1970–present)
Houthi takeover in Yemen


Europe: Balkans

Europe: British Isles

Europe: Central

Europe: East

Baltic states

Non-Baltic states

Europe: Nordic

Europe: Southcentral

Europe: Southwest

Europe: West

  • Henri, Grand Duke (2000–present)

Eurasia: Caucasus


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