Jorge Lopes Bom Jesus (1962- )

Jorge Bom Jesus, July 19, 2018
Photograph by Óscar Medeiros (VOA) under public domain

Popularly known as JBJ, Jorge Lopes Bom Jesus is the 17th and current Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe. He was born in Conceição, Água Grande district, in São Tomé and Príncipe, the youngest of three brothers.

Jesus posed along a long line of others in a room with large, hanging curtains
Jorge Bom Jesus, ca. 2018-2020, Photograph by Óscar Medeiros (VOA) under public domain

Bom Jesus received his primary and secondary education in Sao Tome. He then went to Europe to study, attending the University of Toulouse in France where he earned a degree in French and Portuguese literature and a Master’s degree in Portuguese with a specialization in African literature. He also attended the University of Porto in Portugal studying the teaching of French and Portuguese as a second language. He then earned a doctorate in public administration from the University of Sao Tome and Principe.

Upon his return to Sao Tome and Principe Jorge Lopes Bom Jesus taught and became involved in government and politics. He joined the Movement for Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe/Social Democratic Party. He became an advisor to the Ministry of Culture and Information, Director of the National Library, Director of the School of Teacher Education and Educators, and Secretary-General of the National Commission for UNESCO. Between 2008 and 2010 he served as the Minister of Education and Culture. Between 2012 and 2014 he was the Minister of Education, Culture, and Science.

By 2006, Bom Jesus had become a member of the leadership of the Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe/Social Democratic Party. In 2011 he was elected vice-president of this political party and nine years later in 2018, he was unanimously elected the party’s president.

Prime Minister Jorge Bom Jesus with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, August 29, 2019, Courtesy Government of Japan under Government of Japan Standard Terms of Use (Ver.2.0)

National elections in 2018 resulted in no party having a majority in the legislature. Negotiations between several parties were held which resulted in the formation of a coalition government headed by Jorge Lopes Bom Jesus. He took office as Prime Minister on December 3, 2018. His inaugural address to the country was given in the local Creole patois rather than standard Portuguese which his predecessors had spoken.

Considering his educational background, it is not surprising that he advocates for education. He has also committed to fighting corruption in the country.

Jorge Lopes Bom Jesus is married to Clara Ferreira Bom Jesus and they have five children.