Monday, Apr. 26, 2004

Luisa Diogo

On a continent where women rarely reach the highest rungs of politics, Mozambique's first female Prime Minister leads a government that was once written off as a failed state but that now posts economic-growth rates of an Asian tiger. Income per head in Mozambique has doubled over the past decade.

Diogo joined her country's Ministry of Planning and Finance in 1980, when Mozambique was an economic wreck, hobbled by the legacy of colonial rule and riven by an awful civil war that would continue for another decade. At the war's end, Mozambique was a devastated nation, strewn with land mines and facing a range of disasters, from floods to soaring HIV/AIDS infection rates.

Diogo has consistently used her contagious passion for Mozambique to drive real economic change and has become an outspoken advocate of transparency, accountability and good governance in a region that has long been victimized by corruption. Her achievements are increasingly attracting global attention. She has been singled out by the World Bank for her efforts in poverty reduction and recently served on the United Nations Commission on the Private Sector and Development, helping to map out a vision of how even the poorest countries can unleash entrepreneurship and mobilize the private sector to meet their development challenges.

Brown is the Administrator of the UN Development Programme

From the Archive
Mozambique Agony: Famine and civil war grip a former Portuguese colony