Cheick Modibo Diarra

Cheick Modibo Diarra (born 1952) is a Malian astrophysicist, businessman, and politician who was acting Prime Minister of Mali from April 2012 to December 2012.

Cheick Modibo Diarra
Cheick Modibo Diarra 2010-09.jpg
Prime Minister of Mali
In office
17 April 2012 – 11 December 2012
PresidentDioncounda Traoré (Acting)
Preceded byCissé Mariam Kaïdama Sidibé
Succeeded byDjango Sissoko (Acting)
Personal details
Born1952 (age 68–69)
Nioro du Sahel, French Sudan
(now Mali)
Political partyRally for the Development of Mali
Alma materPierre and Marie Curie University
Howard University

On 11 December 2012, Diarra presented his resignation on state television in a broadcast at 4 a.m. local time, hours after soldiers who led the 2012 Malian coup d'état arrested him at his home in Bamako.[1]

Life and careerEdit

Diarra was born in Nioro du Sahel, Mali. He is a Fulani the son-in-law of former president Moussa Traoré.[2] After graduating high school in Mali, Cheick Modibo Diarra studied mathematics, physics, and analytic mechanics in Paris at the University of Pierre and Marie Curie. He then received a Masters in aerospace engineering and a PhD in mechanical engineering, both from Howard University in Washington, D.C. He was recruited by Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a NASA Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) operated under contract by the California Institute of Technology, where he played a role in several NASA programs, including the Magellan probe to Venus, the Ulysses probe to the Sun, the Galileo spacecraft to Jupiter, and the Mars Observer and Mars Pathfinder. He later became the director of education and public outreach for NASA's Mars Exploration program.[3] Dr. Diarra also served as an executive for the Microsoft Corporation.[4] He also obtained American citizenship.[5]

In 1999, he obtained permission from NASA to work part-time in order to devote himself to education development in Africa, founding the Pathfinder Foundation. He took a further sabbatical in 2002 to found a laboratory in Bamako, Mali for the development of solar energy. In 2000 and 2001 he also served as a goodwill ambassador for UNESCO. In 2002 and 2003 he served as CEO of the African Virtual University, based in Kenya.

Cheick Modibo Diarra was the chairman of Microsoft Africa from 2006 until the end of 2011. Turning to Malian politics, he founded the Rally for the Development of Mali, a political party, in March 2011, and he intended to stand as a candidate in the 2012 presidential election.[6]

Acting Prime MinisterEdit

Cheick Modibo Diarra was appointed as interim Prime Minister of Mali on 17 April 2012 to help restore civilian rule after the March 2012 coup d'état.[7] His government, composed of 24 members, was appointed on 25 April 2012. Three of the most important posts—the ministries for defense, internal security, and territorial administration—were assigned to officers associated with the military junta that seized power in March and retained an important role even after formally returning power to civilians. Otherwise, the government was composed of technocrats rather than political figures.[8]

On 11 December 2012, soldiers reportedly sent by coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo arrested Diarra as he prepared to leave the country for a medical check-up in France. Shortly after his arrest, Diarra appeared on state television and announced his resignation and that of his government.[9]

On 1 December 2013, ALN, an alliance of independent top tier African law firms, announced the appointment of Diarra as its Chairman. Diarra succeeded John Miles, the CEO of J Miles & Co.[10]


  1. ^ "Mali PM Cheik Modibo Diarra resigns after army arrest". BBC News. BBC. 2012-12-11. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  2. ^ "Les partis politiques au Mali". Archived from the original on 2012-02-06.
  3. ^ "NASA's Mars Exploration Education Project". NASA'S Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  4. ^ "Microsoft Press Release". Microsoft Press Release. Archived from the original on 22 June 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  5. ^ "Un cerveau de la NASA à la tête du gouvernement malien", Le Monde, 19 April 2012 (in French).
  6. ^ "Profile: Mali's Cheick Modibo Diarra", Al Jazeera, 17 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Mali names Microsoft Africa chief as interim PM". Reuters. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  8. ^ "Mali's interim PM forms government", Agence France-Presse, 25 April 2012.
  9. ^ "Mali PM Cheik Modibo Diarra resigns after army arrest". BBC News. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2014-01-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Cissé Mariam Kaïdama Sidibé
Prime Minister of Mali

Succeeded by
Django Sissoko