Premier of African Monarchy Is First Leader to Die of Covid

Eswatini Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini died after contracting Covid-19, the first world leader to succumb to the disease. He was 52.

Dlamini died Sunday while receiving medical care in neighboring South Africa, the government said in a statement. “He died of Covid-19 complications,” it said on Monday.

Dlamini announced on Nov. 15 he had tested positive for Covid-19. The government announced on Dec. 1 that he was being transferred to a hospital in South Africa to receive treatment for the disease.

While global leaders including U.S. President Donald Trump, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson have contracted Covid-19, none have died from the disease. Former Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza was reported by local media to have succumbed to Covid-19 in June, but the government said his cause of death was a heart attack.

Dlamini served as chief executive officer of MTN Eswatini, a unit of South African mobile-phone operator MTN Group Ltd., from 2010 until his appointment as prime minister in 2018. He was also the first Swazi managing director of South African lender Nedbank Group Ltd.’s operations in the country.

Eswatini is Africa’s last monarchy. A landlocked nation of 1.1 million people, the southern African nation has been led by King Mswati III since 1986 and was previously known as Swaziland before changing its official name in 2018.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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