Festus Gontebanye Mogae

Mogae, Festus Gontebanye 1939–, Botswanan political leader, president of Botswana (1998–2008), b. Serowe. After studying economics at Sussex and Oxford universities, he returned to Botswana, where he began a civil service career; he also held posts in the International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Beginning in the 1980s, he was governor of the Bank of Botswana (1980–81), secretary to the cabinet (1982–89), minister of finance and development planning (1989–92), and vice president (1992–98). In 1998 Mogae became president following the resignation of President Quett Masire; he subsequently was elected to the office in 1999 and 2004. In office, he was particularly noted for his leadership in the fight against AIDS, which had ravaged his country. He also worked to diversify Botswana diamond-reliant economy. In 2008 Mogae resigned and was succeeded by Vice President Seretse Khama Ian Khama. Later that year Mogae was awarded the $5 million Ibrahim Prize for excellence in African governance.

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