Hons. Tuila’epa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi
Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa
Honourable Tuila’epa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi is the Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa. He was first sworn in as Samoa’s sixth Prime Minister on 23 November 1998, succeeding the former Prime Minster, the late Honourable Tofilau Eti Alesana, and again on 20 March 2001, 21 April 2006 and recently on 18 March 2011, through General Elections. Amongst his portfolios, the Prime Minister is also Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Samoa.
The Prime Minister was born at Lepa, Samoa on 14 April 1945. Born and raised a Roman Catholic, he attended church schools in both Samoa and in New Zealand, and later graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1968, and a Masters of Commerce in 1969 from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He was admitted by the Council of the Victoria University of Wellington to the degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) in August 2012.
Tuila’epa began his career as an Investigations Officer at the Treasury Department in 1970. He was appointed Deputy Director of the Economic Department from 1971 to 1973, and later appointed as the Deputy Financial Secretary from 1973 to 1978. He later left Samoa in 1978 to work at the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) General Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium in the Division of Expert Intra-ACP Trade, Transport and Communications.
Tuila’epa returned to Samoa in 1981, where he started his political career by becoming a Member of Parliament representing his district of Lepa. He has since been an active politician for the past thirty four years, and is a member of the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP).
From 1982 to 1983, he was appointed Minister of Economic Affairs, Transport and Civil Aviation, and Associate Minister of Finance. During a Cabinet reshuffle in late 1983 under the administration of the former late Prime Minister, Tuila’epa was appointed Minister of Finance. He was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in 1991, and was also given the portfolios of Tourism, and of Trade, Commerce and Industries to administer. Other significant portfolios held by Tuila’epa include, Executive Council, Cabinet Secretariat, the Prime Minister’s Department, Immigration and Government Printing, Foreign Affairs, Office of the Attorney General, Public Service Commission, Police, Prisons and Fire Department, Samoa Communications Limited, Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication, and Polynesian Airlines Limited.
Tuila’epa endorses and is committed to prudent and responsible management of the economy of Samoa, and is especially so to fiscal responsibility and to maintaining economic stability. He is also a strong advocate of good governance and has been instrumental in leading the process of reforming and reshaping the political and economic character of Samoa, beginning with reforms in the public sector. The Prime Minister is steadfast in advancing work aimed to reduce import tariffs, which has helped to build private sector growth and confidence in his political Party’s economic Strategy, and as well as enhancing the competitiveness of local business in Samoa.
In the Pacific region, the Prime Minister is a keen supporter of regional issues, and has always led Samoa’s delegations to various forums in particular the Pacific Forum Leaders Forum. He initiated a meeting of Polynesian leaders which led to the establishment of the Polynesian Leaders’ Group in November 2011.
Tuilaepa offered and campaigned for Samoa to host the Third International Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Conference. The conference was held in Apia from 1-4 September, 2014 and was highly acclaimed by participants for its great success as well as presenting the interests of Pacific Island countries to the international community right here in our own Pacific region. Tuilaepa was the President of the Conference and guided its deliberations to its successful outcomes, the “S.A.M.O.A Pathway”.