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World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization


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H.E Mr. Benjamin Mkapa - Tanzania

Benjamin W. Mkapa was elected President of Tanzania in November 1995. He is the third President of the Republic of Tanzania since independence in 1961. President Mkapa was born in 1938 in Masasi, in the Mtwara region of the country. He received his primary education in Tanzania and continued his studies at Makere University College in Uganda, obtaining a Preliminary Arts degree in 1959, and Bachelor of Arts in English in 1962. President Mkapa's career began in local administration in Dodoma, where he was appointed district officer in 1962. He became a Foreign Service Officer later that year. In 1966 Mr. Mkapa embarked upon a long career in journalism, serving as Managing Director of Tanzania's leading newspapers, The Nationalist Uhuru and The Daily News, during the 1960s and 1970s. His experience in the news media led to his being appointed, in 1974, as Press Secretary to the President of Tanzania, H.E. Mr. Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, whom he served for two years. In 1976, Mr. Mkapa became the Founding Editor of the Tanzania News Agency (SHITATA). His career in international diplomacy included a number of high positions, including High Commissioner to Nigeria (in 1976) and Minister for Foreign Affairs (from 1977 to 1980). In 1982, he served as High Commissioner to Canada and in 1983 as Ambassador to the United States. He returned home in 1984 where he was again appointed as Minister for Foreign Affairs.In the early 1990s he became Minister for Information and Broadcasting and, in 1992,he served as Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, prior to being elected President in 1995. He was re-elected President in 2000for another 5 year term. Throughout his political career, President Mkapa has worked to strengthen Tanzanian democracy, entrench civil rights and fight poverty, while increasing the country's openness to international trade and investment.

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 Updated 12 March 2003