|Born:||April 11, 1958 (age 63)|
|Career:||Prime minister of Mozambique, 2004-2010|
|Education:||B.A., Eduardo Mondlane University|
M.A., University of London
Luisa Dias Diogo was appointed prime minister of Mozambique in February 2004, becoming the first woman ever to hold the post. Diogo held the position until January 2010. As prime minister, she earned a reputation as a progressive reformer, a passionate advocate and a savvy business-woman.
Diogo was born on April 11, 1958, in the western Mozambique province of Tete. She studied 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. When she joined the Finance Ministry, the country was in year five of a civil war 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. Diogo quickly rose through the ranks of the ministry, becoming a department head in 1986; in 1989, she was named national budget director and remained in the position for four years. After earning her master's degree she went to work for the World Bank, serving as a 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. As deputy finance minister, Diogo was a key player in drafting and rolling out the government's first five-year development plan. Because the country was still reeling from civil war, the main focus of the plan was on cementing peace within Mozambique's borders. By 1999, the second five-year development plan had room to focus on economic reform. That same year, Diogo was promoted to minister of finance and she immediately tackled Mozambique's biggest problems: poverty and economic growth. She served as Mozambique's minister of finance for five years, from 1999 to 2004.
In February 2004, the prime minister of Mozambique, Pascoal Mocumbi, resigned his post to take a senior position with the World Health Organization (WHO). President Chisanno chose Diogo to be Mocumbi's replacement; she would also retain the position of finance minister until the December 2004 elections. She served as prime minister until January 2010.
Recently, Diogo has focused on gender equality and women's empowerment through the Network of Women Ministers and Parliamentarians (MUNIPA), whose goal is to strengthen advocacy and lobbying activities for policies and legislation favorable to gender equity and women's empowerment. Diogo is also a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an international network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development.
Photo by World Economic Forum [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons