Festus Mogae

Chairperson, Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation

His Excellency was born on 21st August, 1939 at Serowe in the Central District of Botswana. He matriculated at Moeng College and went on to train as an Economist at the Universities of Oxford and Sussex in the United Kingdom.

He took up post as Planning Officer in 1968 and progressed to become Director of Economic Affairs. He was Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning from 1975 to 1976. He became Alternate Governor for Botswana at the International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development from 1971 to 1976. His Excellency served in various parastatal boards, as, Member of the Board for Water Utilities, Botswana Housing Corporation, Botswana Meat Commission, Botswana Meat Commission (United Kingdom) Holdings, ECCO Cold Stores Limited and Allied Meat Importers Limited. He was also Director, then later Chairman, Botswana Development Corporation, Representative of the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation, Director of the De Beers Botswana Mining Company (Pty) Limited (Diamond Mining Company), Botswana RST Limited, Bangwato Concessions Limited (BCL) and Bank of Botswana.

His Excellency served in Washington, DC as Alternate and Executive Director, International Monetary Fund for Anglophone Africa from 1976 to 1980. He then came home to take up the position of Governor of the Bank of Botswana from 1980 to 1981. From 1982 to 1989 His Excellency was Permanent Secretary to the President, Secretary to the Cabinet and Supervisor of Elections.

He was appointed Minister of Finance and Development Planning in 1989 and became Vice President in 1992, until 31st March, 1998 when he became the Third President of the Republic of Botswana. He was Chairman of Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers from 1992 until 1996. By virtue of his position as Vice President, he was also Leader of the House for Botswana National Assembly. In 1994, he contested in the general elections and won a seat for the Palapye Constituency. He was an active member of the Botswana Democratic Party and served in various committees of the party including, Member of the Botswana Democratic Party Central Committee and Chairman of its Finance and Economic Committee, and Member of the Central Committee responsible for Letswapo Region from 1992 to 1995.

He was also Member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Member of the Parliamentarians for Global Action based in New York and the Global Coalition for Africa based in Washington D.C.

His Excellency was Governor for Botswana for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Member of the Joint Development Committee of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on the transfer of real resources to developing countries, Washington DC from 1989 to 1990.

He was also involved in community oriented organisations which include Kalahari Conservation Society, Botswana Society (Research Organisation) of which he is President, Lions Club of Palapye, President of the Botswana Society for the Deaf as well as being Patron of the Junior Achievement Botswana. He is also Chairman of the National AIDS Council (launched 30 March 2000).

Mr Mogae serves on the boards of several international organisations involved in leadership, governance and the fight against HIV and AIDS. These include his leadership of the Champions for an HIV-Free Generation group of some former African leaders such as First President of Zambia Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Former President of Mozambique Chissano, Former President of Tanzania Benjamin Mkapa and Archibishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. He is also Chairperson of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA), and a board member of the MasterCard Foundation. He is also a member of the Commission on HIV Prevention of UNAIDS and Commission on HIV and the Law of UNDP.

His Excellency was awarded the highest honour of the Republic of Botswana, Naledi Ya Botswana – Gaborone (30th September 2003) and the Presidential Order of Honour of Botswana (1989). He was also awarded the Officier de I’Order Nationale D’e Cote d’Ivoire (1979); I’Order Nationale du Mali and the HATAB’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Botswana’s Tourism Industry (1997); Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws – University of Botswana (September 1998); the Global Marketplace Award by the Corporate Council on Africa – Houston, USA (May 1999); an Honorary Fellowship of the Botswana Institute of Bankers – Gaborone, Botswana (July 1999); the Distinguished Achievement Award for AIDS Leadership in Southern Africa by the Medunsa Trust – Washington DC, USA (June 2000); the AIDS Leadership Award by Harvard AIDS Institute – Gaborone (December 2001); the 2002 Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference Weekend Chairman’s Award – Washington D.C., USA (September 2002); the Africa-America Institute National Leadership Award – New York, USA (September 2002); the Honorary Fellow – University College Oxford (2003); The Knight Commander of the Most Courteous Order of the Kingdom of Lesotho – Maseru, Lesotho (April 2004); the Golden Plate Award by the Academy of Achievement – New York, USA (June 2005); the Grand Croix – Highest award in Madagascar grated to dignitaries of the Nation) Antananarivo, Madagascar (June 2006), the Pan African Tsetse and Tryponofomiasis (PATTEC) by the African Union – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (January 2007), Doctorate of Humanity by the University of Limkokwing, Gaborone Botswana (January 2008) and The Commander of the Legion d’Honneur Grand Croix of the Republic of France (March 2008); Taylor and Francis Award for significant contribution to women’s development and welfare – Gaborone, Botswana (July 2008); the Honorary Life Membership Award by the Botswana Branch of the Southern African HIV/AIDS during term of Office as President – Gaborone, Botswana (September 2008); He was appointed United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change (September 2008-December 2009); He is the winner of the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African leadership for ensuring “stability and prosperity” – Alexandria, Egypt (November 2008); He was the 2nd Botswana Retired President to be appointed “The Balfour African President-in-Residence” by the African Presidential Archives and Research Center (APARC) at Boston University – USA, (March-May 2009) The Former President was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Howard – Washington DC, USA (May 2009); Recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree, University of Sussex in recognition of services to economic development and governance in Southern Africa – Brighton, United Kingdom (July 2009); Awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by the University of Southern California for distinguished achievements, – Los Angeles, USA (May 2010); He was a Visiting Public Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC, USA (August-October 2010).

Former President’s tenure office ended on 31st March 2008 and was succeed by his former Vice President Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama as the 4th President of the Republic of Botswana.

His Excellency is married with three daughters born between 1969 and 1987 and a grand-daughter.

Mogae was previously a member of the 21st Century Council.