Meet the Leader: H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa

Meet the Leader: H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa

Interview with H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania

Date: April 27, 2012

Guest: H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa

UONGOZI Institute interviews the third President of the United Republic of Tanzania on leadership and some of the leadership challenges he faced in his career.

H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa

Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania

H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa served as President of the United Republic of Tanzania from 1995 to 2005. During his two presidential terms, H.E. Mkapa continued the liberalisation of the economy that began under his predecessor. He privatised most of the state owned corporations and pursued free market policies designed to attract foreign investment. His policies won the support of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and resulted in the cancellation of some of Tanzania's foreign debts.

Prior to his career in diplomacy, between 1962 and 1976, H.E. Mkapa excelled in the field of journalism as Managing Editor of the Nationalist and Uhuru newspapers, Managing Editor of the Government Daily News and Sunday News, Director of the Tanzania News Agency, and Press Secretary to President Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere.

As a diplomat, H.E. Mkapa's postings included Minister for Foreign Affairs, High Commissioner to Nigeria as well as Canada, and Ambassador to the United States of America. He served as Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education prior to being elected President in 1995.

Throughout his political career, President Mkapa worked to strengthen Tanzania's democracy, entrench civil rights and fight poverty, while increasing the country's openness to international trade and investment. He was active in conflict prevention, management and resolution in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and is an active player in regional economic co-operation within the East African Community (EAC), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) - in which he served as Chairman from 2003 to 2004.