Rama Yade (born Mame Ramatoulaye Yade on December 13, 1976 in Ouakam, Senegal) is a French politician who has served in the government of France since 2007. She is currently the Secretary of State for Sports and married to Joseph Zimet – son of famous Yiddish singer Ben Zimet, an adviser to Secretary of State Jean-Marie Bockel.
Yade comes from a Lebou family. Her mother Aminata Kandji was a professor and her father Djibril Yade, also a professor, was the personal secretary of Senegalese President Léopold Sédar Senghor. Yade was educated in Catholic schools and then at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, where she graduated in 2000.
Yade worked at the Paris city hall and the National Assembly before becoming an administrator in the Senate in 2002. She joined the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) political party in 2005 and became National Secretary in charge of Francophonie in 2006. She credits Nicolas Sarkozy‘s charisma with making her want to join the UMP.
In November 2008, Yade was rumoured to be Nicolas Sarkozy’s favorite choice for replacing Jean-Pierre Jouyet as Secretary of State for European Affairs, and was also privately asked to lead one of the UMP lists for the 2009 European Parliament elections. However, on 7 December, she declined to run for a seat in the European Parliament and declared herself “more interested in national mandate”. On 9 December, Le Monde reported that Nicolas Sarkozy was “deeply disappointed” by her attitude and that she had “ruined all her chances” to succeed Jouyet. The following day, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, in an interview with Le Parisien, said he regretted his suggestion to appoint a Secretary of State for Human Rights, although he noted that Yade had “done, with talent, what she could do”. She currently has the highest approval rating in the French government, with over 70%.
Yade was moved to the post of Secretary of State for Sports on 24 June 2009. This was interpreted as a demotion in connection with Sarkozy’s disapproval of her decision to not stand in the European elections.