Abdou Diouf is a former Senegalese president who was secretary-general of the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) from 2003 to 2014. He was elected to this position at the OIF’s Beirut summit in 2002, taking office in January 2003. He was reelected at the Bucharest summit in 2006 and again at the Montreux summit in 2010. Born on 7 September 1935 in Louga, he went to school in Saint-Louis, began his university studies at the Dakar law faculty, and continued them in Paris, graduating from the Overseas France National School (ENFOM) in 1960.
At 25, he began his career as a senior civil servant in Senegal, in the course of which he was director for international technical cooperation, secretary-general of the defence ministry and governor of the Sine-Saloum region.After acting as President Léopold Sédar Senghor’s chief of staff in 1963, he was appointed secretary-general of the president’s office in 1964. He was minister of planning and industry from 1968 to 1970, when he was appointed prime minister, a position he held for 11 years. He became president when Senghor resigned in January 1981, was confirmed in this position in the election held in 1983, was reelected in 1988 and 1993 and stood down after losing the March 2000 presidential election to Abdoulaye Wade. His years as president were marked by increasing tolerance of opposition political parties, economic liberalization and decentralization. He has helped to make Senegal’s voice heard internationally and has pressed for more African unity, presiding the Organization of African Unity from July 1985 to July 1986 and again in 1992, and acting as chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) from July 1991 to July 1992.