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Festus Mogae


Festus Gontebanye Mogae (born 21 August 1939) is the former President of Botswana. He succeeded Quett Masire as President in 1998, and stepped down in 2008.

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Created: 18th Mar 2008
Modified: 27th Mar 2009
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Festus Gontebanye Mogae

Festus Gontebanye Mogae served as the third President of Botswana between 1998 and 2008. He first became President in April 1998 as the leader of the Botswana Democratic Party and won a second term in 2004.

At his inauguration ceremony in 1998, President Mogae vowed to address poverty and unemployment. His time in office was characterised by programmes to develop education and health infrastructure, and to privatise parts of the economy, notably the airlines and telecommunications industry.

Under President Mogae’s stewardship of the economy and careful management of the country’s mineral resources, Botswana experienced the steady economic growth that has characterised its post-independence history. Having been one of the poorest African countries at the time of independence, President Mogae consolidated Botswana’s place as one of the most prosperous countries on the continent.

After decades of enforcing strict anti-corruption measures, Botswana is regularly ranked as one of the least corrupt countries in Africa. Describing the principles that guided his time in office in his final State of the Nation address, President Mogae said that “prudent, transparent and honest use of national resources for your benefit has been my guiding principle and code of conduct”.

Following the Botswana Democratic Party’s victory in the October 2004 General Election, President Mogae was sworn in for a second term in November 2004. He again promised to fight poverty and unemployment, and pledged to halt the spread of HIV-AIDS in Botswana by 2016.

In April 2008, in accordance with Botswana’s constitution, President Mogae stepped down as President, serving two terms in government. He was succeeded by Seretse Khama Ian Khama.

After leaving office, Mr Mogae launched ‘Champions for an HIV-Free Generation’, a group of former African Presidents and other influential personalities which aims to strengthen efforts to prevent the spreads of HIV-AIDS in Africa.

In 2002, the Africa-America Institute awarded Mr Mogae its National Leadership Award, which recognises extraordinary leadership in the development and growth of Africa. It had been presented only once before, to Nelson Mandela.

In March 2008, Mr Mogae was awarded the Grand Cross of the Légion d'honneur by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for his "exemplary leadership" in making Botswana a "model” of democracy and good governance.

More recently, in September 2008, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Mr Mogae as one of his four Special Envoys on Climate Change.

Rise to power

Festus Gontebanye Mogae was born in Serowe, Botswana, on 21 August 1939. He was educated for the most part in the UK, where he studied economics, first at the University of Sussex and then at University College, Oxford.

Upon returning to Botswana, Mr Mogae began work as a civil servant. From 1975 to 1976, and 1982 to 1989, he served as Permanent Secretary to the President. He also held positions in the De Beer s Botswana Mining Co, the Bank of Botswana, and the International Monetary Fund. In 1989 he was named Minister of Finance and Development Planning.

From 1992 to 1998, Mr Mogae served as the Vice-President of Botswana under President Masire.

Key Dates

D.O.B 21st August 1939
1975 - 1976 Permanent Secretary to the President
1982 – 1989 Permanent Secretary to the President
1992 - 1999 Vice-President of Botswana
Oct 1999 Sworn in as President following General Election
Oct 2004 Re-elected as President for a second term
March 2008 Awarded the Grand Cross of the Légion d'honneur
April 2008 Stepped down as President
Aug 2008 Launched Champions for an HIV-Free Generation
Sept 2008 Appointed as a UN Special Envoy on Climate Change

Biography from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation

Biographical Information
Festus Mogae
(At a Glance)
  City: Gaborone
Place of Origin: Botswana

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