Thursday, April 29, 2010
REGINALD ABRAHAM MENGI THE AFRICAN SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS MAN
Reginald Abraham Mengi, a Tanzanian industrialist and media tycoon,a lutheran member, is the founder and Executive Chairman of IPP Group, one of East Africa's largest privately owned companies, based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
A chartered accountant by training, Reginald Mengi created the IPP business conglomerate in the mid 1980s after serving as Chairman and Managing Partner of Coopers & Lybrand in Tanzania.
The IPP Group, which started as a small scale hand operated ball point assembly plant in Dar es Salaam, has expanded and diversified to become one of the largest industrial groups in East Africa. Among other activities, it encompasses a Financial Consulting firm (IPP Consulting), a soft drinks bottling company in joint venture with Coca-Cola (Coca-Cola Kwanza, Bonite Bottlers and Kilimanjaro Spring Water), Tanzania's leading manufacturer of soaps, detergents and toothpaste (IPP Bodycare Ltd), as well as a media unit which is made up of eleven newspapers, three radio stations and two television channels, one which operates in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda (IPP Media). These include The Guardian Ltd., which publishes some of Tanzania's leading weekly and Sunday newspapers: The Guardian, The Sunday Observer, The Daily Mail, and the Financial Times in English and Nipashe, Nipashe Jumapili, Alasiri, Kasheshe, and Taifa Letu in Kiswahili, Independent Television Ltd. (ITV), East Africa Television (EATV, formerly Channel 5)), Radio ONE, Sky-FM (in a joint venture with BBC) and East Africa Radio.
His long experience and success in doing business in Africa has taken him to participate in a large number of national and international business as well as taking an active interest in private sector development. To this effect, he has been a long-time advocate of promoting good governance in Africa as well as enhancing technical and managerial skills in the private sector, as key mechanisms for improving the business environment and attracting foreign direct investment to the continent. However, as a leading media tycoon, he has also called on the African press not to follow the international media's inclination to portray only the negative aspects and constraints of doing business in Africa, since these only reinforce certain stereotypes, overshadow the business opportunities that exist in the continent and has a detrimental effect on potential foreign investors.
As a leading member of the business community Reginald Mengi has served as Chairman of Tanzania's National Board of Business Accountants and Auditors, of Tanzania's Chapter of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and of the Tanzanian Chapter of the Commonwealth Press Union (PCU). He has also participated in several fora organised under the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), met with various African and Latin American leaders and is a member of the Board of Management of the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC).
Mr Mengi is married to Mercy and together they have three children, daughter Regina and son Abdiel and another son Mutie who is said to have died of heart complications. Currently Mr Mengi is estranged and lives separate from his wife. Some tabloids have reported that he married another wife, a young lawyer, Lilian Kimaro, although he is reported to have denied this.
In addition to his interests in business and industry, Reginald Mengi has been involved in a number of charities and other social activities, especially in the areas of health, environmental management and poverty alleviation. He has been a leading advocate of involving the private sector in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, and was appointed member of Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS). During his term as a commissioner of TACAIDS, he sparked a nationwide debate over the use and distribution of condoms, giving him the nickname of "Mr. Condom" and putting him in confrontation with Christian and Muslim leaders, after criticising them for their position against the use of condoms as a central instrument in the fight against the propagation of HIV/AIDS.
In relation to his interests in environmental issues, he is Chairman of the National Environment Management Council ](NEMC), the Poverty Alleviation and Environmental Committee (PAEC), patron of the LEAD Global Environmental Network in Tanzania and treasurer of Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) international. This non-governmental, non-profit organisation established in 1991 by the Rockefeller Foundation, is committed to sustainable development and provides training for selected mid-career professionals from a variety of sectors in society. He has also been an important sponsor and benefactor of the Kilimanjaro Forestation Campaign and of several projects for youth employment and disabled people. Most recently, Reginald Mengi began building The Rodney Mutie Mengi Heart Institute in memory of his son who died on October 6, 2005 from heart complications. In the meantime he has begun sponsoring children in Tanzania with heart problems to travel abroad for treatment.
In recognition to his work, leadership and contributions in a wide range of business and social activities Reginald Mengi has been awarded the Order of the United Republic of Tanzania, the Order of the Arusha Declaration of the First Class for his exemplary contribution to Tanzania's Development, The East African Environment Leadership Award, and the Environmentalist of the Century Award 2000 in the Kilimanjaro region.
Mengi also holds the following positions:
* Chairman of the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) of Tanzania.
* Commissioner of Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS).
* Chairman of the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI).
* Investment Committee Chairman of the National Investments Company Limited (NICO).