Discover the life and work of the Commander Pedro Pires, its commitments and political achievements.
Pedro Verona Rodrigues Pires was born on April 29th, 1934, in the Municipality of São Filipe, on the Island of Fogo.
He is married to Adélcia Barreto Pires and has two daughters, Sara and Indira Pires.

He attended Primary School and part of High School in the cities of S. Filipe and Praia, having graduated from Gil Eanes High School in São Vicente.
In 1956 he headed to Portugal where he attended the Faculty of Science in Lisbon. Meanwhile, he was drafted into mandatory military service, having served as an Officer in the Portuguese Air Force.
Pedro Pires’s early years are marked with painful memories of famine that devastated Cabo Verde in the years of 1943 and 1947. While in Lisbon, interactions with nationalists from the other colonies at the Casa dos Estudantes do Império (House of Students from the Empire), the development of African nationalism, and the start of armed struggle in Angola, contributed to reinforce his patriotic consciousness and to raise his awareness of the need for the immediate termination of colonial domination that the peoples of Angola, Cape-Verde, Guinea, Mozambique and São Tomé were subjected.
In June of 1961, along with a large group of young Africans, he decides to secretly abandon Portugal to join PAIGC (African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cabo Verde).
After meeting Amilcar Cabral in Ghana, Pedro Pires heads to Guinea-Conakry, where PAIGC’s Secretary General was, and subsequently, joins PAIGC’s delegation at the Permanent Secretariat of the Conference of Nationalist Organizations from Portuguese Colonies, in Morocco.
From 1962 to 1965 he works in Senegal and France mobilizing Cape-Verdean patriots to join the armed struggle, while at the same time making connections with other PAIGC clandestine structures in Cabo Verde.
From 1965 to 1968 he leads the first group of Cape-Verdean fighters that received military training in Cuba and then in the former USSR, with the objective of preparing for armed struggle in Cabo Verde.
From 1968 to 1974, integrated in PAIGC’s political and military structures on the Guinea-Bissau front, he has an important role in political and military planning, as a member of the Struggle’s Executive Committee and the War Council, and as commander of a Military Region.
In 1973, at the II PAIGC Congress, he is chosen to preside over the National Commission for Cabo Verde.
With the proclamation of independence of Guinea-Bissau in September 1973, he integrates the first Guinean Government as Deputy Commissioner for FARP (People’s Revolutionary Armed Forces – Under Secretary of Defense.)
After the overthrow of the Portuguese Government in April 25th, 1974, Pedro Pires heads the PAIGC delegation that negotiates with the Portuguese Government the recognition of Guinea-Bissau’s independence, culminating in the signing of the Argel Accord, in August of that same year.
In October 1974, he returns to Cabo Verde to head PAIGC’s national organization, which at the time made great advances in favor of national independence.
In June 1975, he is elected Deputy of the National Assembly (Member of Parliament) and chosen to head the first independent Government of Cabo Verde.

During three successive mandates, Governments headed by Pedro Pires achieved great strides in governing in an objective and pragmatic manner, envisioning the building of an organized state that was efficient and credible, and equally useful in the international scene.

In order to solve the serious and urgent needs of the country, while, at the same time, lay the foundation for its development, the Government elaborated emergency plans and conceived and implemented reform programs in various areas of domestic affairs. After that, economic liberalization measures were adopted as a way to encourage national investment and savings and to attract foreign direct investments.
Among other achievements, Governments led by Pedro Pires were able to, in 12 years, from 1976 to 1988, move the country from a situation of extreme poverty to the multiplication of the national product by 2,5 and the doubling of production per inhabitant. The Gross National Product (GNP) went from $260 USD to $816 USD.
Cabo Verde achieved, during this period, one of the best Human Development Indexes in Africa. There were substantial gains in health, education, training and literacy, which translate into a significant improvement in the conditions of life of the population and in the protection of the environment.
At the international level, Cabo Verdean government played an important role in the negotiation processes that led to the independence of Namibia and to the withdrawal of Cuban and South-African military forces from Angola.
In 1981, Pedro Pires drives the political movement that leads to the separation of the Cape-Verdean component of PAIGC, leading to the emergence of PAICV – African Party of Independence of Cabo Verde. He was then elected PAICV’s Deputy Secretary-General.
At the IV PAICV Congress in February 1990, foreseeing the need for thorough changes in the national political system, he strives to open the country to political pluralism. He is elected leader of his party.

He loses the first multi-party elections held in Cabo Verde in January of 1991, being elected Member of Parliament (National Assembly) for the electoral circle of Praia. In the same year, the V Congress of PAICV reconfirms him as Secretary-General.
In 1993 he is replaced in his position as Secretary-General of PAICV. In September of 1997, he once again returns to PAICV’s leadership, and remains in this position until mid-2000. After leading his party to victory in the municipal elections of 2000, Pedro Pires decides to leave behind active political party life.
In September 2000 he announces his candidacy to the Presidency of the Republic and he is elected for this position on February 25th, 2001, in the second round of the presidential elections. He was reelected on the first round, on February 12th, 2006. He is the third President of the Republic of Cabo Verde.


From Cabo Verde, Order “Amilcar Cabral”;
From Guinea-Bissau, Medal “Amilcar Cabral”;
From Senegal, Order of the Lion;
From Portugal, Order “Infante D. Henrique”;
From Spain, Collar of the Canary Islands;
From the Republic of The Gambia, Rank of Grand Commander of the National Order of the Republic of The Gambia.
From Cuba, Order of "José Marti";
From East-Timor, Order "Timor Leste".


Federal University of Ceará;
Technical University of Lisbon;
Lusófona University.


Mo Ibrahim
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