Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe has appointed the country’s first female prime minister.
According to CNN, Victoire Tomegah Dogbe, 60, became the first female prime minister of the tiny West African nation of about eight million people.
Dogbe, whose appointment was confirmed by President Faure Gnassingbe on Monday, replaces Komi Selom Klassou, who resigned as prime minister on Friday, a position he held since 2015.
Dogbe is well known and respected in Togo, having served in several positions under Gnassingbe’s government in the past decade, including working as his chief-of-staff, director of the cabinet of the President of the Republic and more recently as Minister for youth and grassroots development, according to local media reports.
Prior to joining politics, she worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) according to information from the agency.
Her appointment comes after an expected cabinet reshuffle, which was delayed by the country’s fight against coronavirus pandemic, following the controversial re-election of Gnassingbe, who has ruled Togo since 2005.
He took power from his father who, before his death, ruled Togo for 38 years, dating back to a 1967 coup.
Despite a series of protests between 2017 — 2019 calling for an end to a single-family rule in Togo, Gnassingbe forced a constitutional reform in 2019 that allowed him to run for an election which he won easily in February 2020. His current tenure runs till 2025.
The 56-year-old leader has seen growing opposition, following slowed economic growth, accusations of electoral fraud, corruption, and human rights violations.
Dogbe’s has vast experience in governance and administration which is well-positioned to help the country achieve a long-expected economic boom which has eluded the country since independence in 1960.
Dogbe has been deeply involved in the country’s fight against youth unemployment and poverty, introducing reforms that have been praised as a local success in her country, according to Togo-First, an online publication in the country.
As the parliament awaits Dogbe’s policy plan, observers are keen to see what economic difference her reforms can make in a country where half its population live below the poverty line, according to a 2014 report by the International Monetary Fund.