Mozambique profile

President: Filipe Nyusi

Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi

Former defence minister Filipe Nyusi won the presidential election in October 2014 and was inaugurated in January 2015.

As candidate of the ruling Mozambican Liberation Front's (Frelimo) he took 57% of the vote, well ahead of his nearest rival Afonso Dhlakama, the leader of the main opposition Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) party, with 37%.

Renamo - which fought Frelimo in a long civil war which ended in 1992 and resulted in an estimated one million deaths - disputed the result. It boycotted the first sitting of parliament since the elections and threatened to form a parallel government.

Frelimo has dominated politics in Mozambique since the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975. But despite Mr Nyusi's win, the party saw a sharp decline in votes compared to the previous election in 2009 when predecessor Armando Guebuza scored a massive 75%. In contrast, Mr Dhlakama's 37% has seen Renamo more than double the 16% it achieved in 2009.

Despite holding the high-profile position of defence minister for several years, Nyusi was seen as somewhat of an unknown entity before the elections. Born in 1959, he hails from the gas-rich far northern province of Cabo Delgado near Tanzania.

Mechanical engineering

His parents were veterans of the country's civil war and he was educated at a Frelimo party school set up for the children of fighters. He went on to study mechanical engineering at a Czech university before taking a post-graduate course in management at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.

On his return to Mozambique in 1992, he worked for a number of years at the country's main rail and ports company, Caminhos de Ferro de Mocambique (CFM), rising through the ranks to become the firm's executive director in the northern region.

Although credited as a protege of predecessor Armando Guebuza, Mr Nyusi does not hold a senior position in Frelimo. During his election campaign, he promised to continue the work of his predecessors, describing himself as industrious and pledging to turn the country's fortunes around.

Mozambique is one of Africa's fastest-growing economies with billions of dollars worth of natural resources. But it remains one of the world's poorest countries.

On taking office, one of the toughest challenges said to be facing Mr Nyusi was turning the nation's new found prosperity into jobs, services and infrastructure and by doing so, potentially stemming the decline in Frelimo's popularity.

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