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Biography of Luisa DIOGO

Mozambique > Politics : Luisa DIOGO

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Born on 11/04/1958 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Luisa Diogo (b. April 11, 1958), is a Mozambican politician who became the Prime Minister of Mozambique in February 2004.Before becoming Prime Minister, she was Minister of Planning and Finance, and she continued to hold that post until February 2005. She is the first female Prime Minister of Mozambique. Luisa Diogo represents the party FRELIMO, which has ruled the country since independence in 1975.Diogo has earned a reputation as a progressive reformer, a passionate advocate, and a savvy business-woman. According to Time, which ranked Diogo as one of the top leaders and revolutionaries in the world, she "leads a government that was once written off as a failed state but that now posts economic-growth rates of an Asian tiger."

 Located in southeastern Africa, the tiny country of Mozambique is one of the poorest in the world, with approximately 70 percent of the population living below the poverty line. It is also a country frequently devastated by drought and floods, and in the early 2000s it was still recovering from a civil war that rocked the nation for nearly seventeen years (1975–92). Despite its problems, however, Mozambique is fortunate to have a visionary leader at its helm: Prime Minister Luisa Diogo. Diogo served as Mozambique's minister of finance for five years, from 1999 until 2004, and during her tenure the country experienced a slow but steady recovery. In February 2004, she was appointed prime minister, becoming the first woman ever to hold the post.

Luisa Dias Diogo was born on April 11, 1958, in the western Mozambique province of Tete. She attended Dona Maria Primary School in Tete City until she was twelve years old and the Tete Commercial School until she was fourteen. Diogo's high school years were spent at Maputo Commercial Institute. Following high school Diogo went on to study economics at Maputo's Eduardo Mondlane University. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1983, she continued her studies at the University of London, where she earned a master's degree in financial economics in 1992.

In 1980, while still in college, Diogo began working in Mozambique's Finance Ministry. It was a rocky time in the country's history; Mozambique was embroiled in political and military upheaval. In 1975, the nation won its independence from Portugal and became the People's Republic of Mozambique. Peace, however, was short-lived. A civil war erupted between two Mozambique factions: the Mozambique Liberation Front (FREMILO), a coalition of anti-Portuguese, Communist-backed, liberation groups that helped the country win its freedom from colonial Portuguese rule; and the Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO), an anti-Communist political organization. (Communists believe in a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single party holds power.) Hostilities between the groups lasted for the next seventeen years, resulting in the deaths of millions.

When Diogo joined the Finance Ministry the country was in year five of its civil war. The FREMILO party was in power, having established a one-party, socialist government, but it faced constant opposition from members of RENAMO. Guerrilla
The economy of Mozambique was basically in shambles, and the government needed an infusion of new blood. Twenty-two-year-old Diogo proved to be just the answer, and she quickly rose through the ranks of the ministry, becoming a department head in 1986; in 1989 she was named national budget director.

Diogo remained in the position of director for four years, but after she earned her master's degree she went to work for the World Bank, serving as program officer in Mozambique. After the 1994 Mozambique elections, President Joaquim Chissano invited Diogo to leave the World Bank and join the FREMILO government as deputy finance minister. This marked the economist's entry into the upper level of the Mozambique federal government. Diogo was just thirty-six years old.

In 1994 she joined the FRELIMO government as deputy finance minister.

In September 2005, she was the international guest speaker at the British Labour Party Conference.

As a female leader, Diogo has urged the African health ministers to offer reproductive and sexual health services free of charge throughout the continent. These services could reduce infant mortality by two thirds, reduce maternal mortality by three quarters, reverse the spread of AIDS, and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. The target set by the UN is to achieve these goals by 2015.


The tireless leader of Mozambique is also a wife and mother of three. She is married to Albano Silva, one of the country's leading attorneys. Her duties, however, keep her constantly on the go as she fights to resurrect the nation to which has devoted most of her life. One of her primary goals is to make Mozambique, and all developing countries, self-sufficient. Diogo has consistently used her contagious passion for Mozambique to drive real economic change and has become an outspoken advocate of transparency, accountability and good governance in a region that has long been victimized by corruption. Her achievements are increasingly attracting global attention.


Last update : 08/28/2009

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