Joaquim Chissano is a former President of Mozambique.
Born 22 October 1939, in Gaza province, south of Mozambique, Mr. Chissano registered at the University of Poitiers, France to study Medicine in 1961 but in 1963 decided to leave his studies and move to Tanzania to dedicate himself fully to the movement for national liberation with the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) which he helped establish in 1962.
Soon after arriving in Tanzania, he was named Personal Assistant of President Eduardo Mondlane and Chairman of the Department of Education. In 1964 he was named Chairman of the Department of Security and Defence. That same year he travelled to Moscow to receive military training. Upon his return, he retook his responsibilities in the Department of Education and worked as a teacher in the FRELIMO’s Secondary School and the Institute of Mozambique, in Dar-es-Salaam.
In 1966 he undertook more military training and upon his return was named Chairman of the Department of Security, now independent from the Department of Defence, and was put in charge of its development. In 1968 he was elected member of FRELIMO’s Central Committee and in 1969 FRELIMO’s Permanent Representative in Tanzania, a position he carried out together with his responsibilities in the Department of Security.
He played a fundamental role in the negotiations of the Lusaka Accord signed in 1974 with the Portuguese Government on the Independence of Mozambique. In September of the same year, with only 35 years of age, he was named Prime Minister of the transitional government that led to the proclamation of independence in June 1975. After independence, he was named Minister of Foreign Affairs. Along with Samora Machel, serving as president, he participated in the negotiations of the N’Kotami Accord signed with South Africa in 1984. After Samora Machel’s death in 1986 Mr. Chissano was elected President of the Republic.
As Head of State, he undertook important socio-economic reforms, formalised in the 1990 constitution, opening the country to a multiparty system and the free market similarly, he successfully managed negotiations with the former military group RENAMO putting an end to 16 years of war with a peace treaty signed in 1992. In 1994 he won the first multiparty elections in the country and was re-elected in 1999. Although the Constitution allowed it, he decided not to run for re-election in 2004 and dedicated himself to his Foundation (The Joaquim Chissano Foundation) and other causes. He is currently the Chairperson of the Africa Forum (Forum for Former African Heads of State and Government).
He occupied various important positions in international organizations during his Presidency, these include President of the SADC, Vice-president of the Socialist International and in July 2003 he was elected President of the African Union.