Mogae, Festus Gontebanye

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 AIDSAIDS
or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome,
fatal disease caused by a rapidly mutating retrovirus that attacks the immune system and leaves the victim vulnerable to infections, malignancies, and neurological disorders. It was first recognized as a disease in 1981.
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, 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 KhamaKhama, Seretse Khama Ian
, 1953–, Botswanan political leader and military officer, president of Botswana (2008–); eldest son of Botswana's first president, Sir Seretse Khama. Like his father, he became (1979), by virtue of birth, chief of the Ngwato.
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. Later that year Mogae was awarded the $5 million Ibrahim Prize for excellence in African governance.