Educated at the Lycee Faidherbe at St Louis, then at Dakar University. He went to Paris to obtain a degree in public law and political science at the Sorbonne in 1958. He obtained a diploma in 1960 from the Overseas Civil Service School in Paris.
Returning to Dakar, he was plunged straight away into high responsibility as Director of International Technical Cooperation from September to November 1960, then Assistant Secretary-General to the government until June 1961, and Secretary-General of the Defence Ministry until December 1961.
His next assignment was Governor of the Sine- Saloum Region from December 1961 to December 1962, when he was brought back into central government as Chef dc Cabinet at the Foreign Ministry. In May 1963 he was promoted to the key post Directeur de Cabinet at the presidency when he was only 27. In February 1964 he also became Secretary-General of the government, holding the two posts until December 1965 when he detached himself from duties at the presidency.
His political career was launched in March 1968 when he was appointed Minister of Planning and Industry, where he proved his ability to make decisions on the complex economic problems facing the country and to plan ahead for industrial development. Early in 1970 when Senghor wanted to give his government a dynamic new look and decided to reintroduce the post of Prime Minister he surprised many people with his choice of Diouf. It was a surprise because of his youthfulness, his lack of political experience and the fact that the post makes the holder the front runner for succession to the presidency.
Senghor’s choice of Diouf was not basically determined by his thoughts on the succession. He wanted someone with economic expertise who could help improve the country’s financial situation and someone whom he could trust to act with loyalty to avoid a repetition of the 1962 crisis when Premier Dia tried to take over. The constitutional amendment of 1970 makes it clear who was boss although the Prime Minister has considerable freedom of action in economic affairs. As a result of student unrest Senghor found Diouf an ideal choice since he helped the younger generation feel their interests were represented in Parliament and the way was open for young people like Diouf to be promoted.
National Assembly for Longa Departement since 1973. Sengalese Progressive Union (U.P.S.) since 1961, later.
Although cynics saw his appointment to the premiership as a kind of insurance policy, since the humble Diouf might make an ideal sacrificial Iamb one day, his humility has proved his strength, making it very difficult for him to be removed because his reputation has increased with his years in office. It is still hard, however, to see him as a convincing successor to Senghor some day. Despite holding office in the Senegal Progressive Union (UPS) and being elected an MP in January 1973, he has little taste for the political arena.