To be honest, I am researching this man’s life and I am sighing; sighing because there are so so so many awards, recognition’s tokens, ‘gbogbue’ that he has to his name. I sigh; it is going be one of those lengthy treatises.
Reginald Mengi. Three guesses- is he an actor, an inventor or a musician? None actually; he is one of those extremely brilliant entrepreneurial ‘someboldies’ who just know how to get a finger in every pie. Those ones that have made the originators of the saying ‘Jack of all trade, master of none,’ go and hide their faces in shame. The man has jacked all the trades and mastered them all. As my Equity lecturer used to say, “Mengi is smiling to the Bank!”
Born dirt-poor in Northern Tanzania, Mengi was raised in a mud hut which his family shared with cows, sheep, goats and chickens. Mengi was entitled to one meal or none a day and had no shoes to his name.
And yet, this remarkable individual who was born with no spoon at all, managed to complete his primary and secondary education and head on to the United Kingdom where he trained as an Accountant and qualified as a Chartered Accountant, Institute of Chartered Accountants, England and Wales. Mengi is also a Certified Accountant in Tanzania.
Mengi was employed, and worked with Coopers & Lybrand [now PriceWaterHouseCoopers] Tanzania. He rose to the top of the Organization and became the Chairman and Managing Partner of Coopers and Lybrand Tanzania. Mengi quit while he was ahead to focus on and manage his businesses.
IPP Limited is a holding company with subsidiary companies engaged in mining, manufacturing, bottling, and media which include television, radio and newspapers. To be precise, the IPP Group owns 10 national newspapers (including Tanzania’s Financial Times, ThisDay and The Guardian), two of East Africa’s most popular Television stations (EATV and ITV), and about ten radio stations. Mhmmm!Mengi’s company also owns a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Dar-es Salaam as well as two gold mining companies, IPP Gold and Handeni Gold in Tanzania.
Once a Commissioner of the Salaries Review Commission, Mengi has been on the boards of innumerable governmental and non-governmental organisations which on greater thought, I will present in a most abridged version. His most current board memberships include, Chairman, Media Owners Association of Tanzania; Director, Board of the Commonwealth Business Council; Chairman, People with Disabilities Trust Fund, Tanzania; Member of the International Investors Round Table, Tanzania; Chairman, Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI); Chairman, Economic Empowerment Committee of the Tanzania National Business Council; and Chairman, East African Business Council.
Those are but a few. Mengi is obviously more than an accounting, entrepreneurial genius. He is a philanthropist who believes in utilizing wealth to fight social injustice. Mengi funds numerous projects for social development, youth employment and for people with disabilities. He has funded the Kilimanjaro afforestation campaign since 1988, which has planted over twenty million trees [WOW]. In recognition of his charitable leanings, Mengi has been submerged in a plethora of awards and recognitions, local, national and international.
Should I? Should I? Well, let’s appreciate just his national and international awards at this time.
On a national scale, Mengi has been given the national honours of the Order of the United Republic of Tanzania in 1994, the Order of The Arusha Declaration of the First Class in 1995, by His Excellency Ali Hasssan Mwinyi, The President of the United Republic of Tanzania for earning great distinction for Tanzania economically, politically socially and in defence of Tanzania diligently and at considerable personal sacrifice. Mengi was also adjudged the Environmentalist of the Century Award 2000 Kilimanjaro Region in recognition of his efforts to conserve and protect the environment of Mount Kilimanjaro and in particular his role in the forestation campaign. He was also given a Certificate of Appreciation by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania in March, 2011, and the Environmental Conservation Award Grade One in December, 2012 for his tireless efforts and contribution in environmental protection and conservation.
Internationally, Mengi was awarded the 2008 Martin Luther King Drum Major for Justice Award by the United State of America in recognition of his commitment in the fight against social injustice and in combating corruption. In 2012, Mengi received a Global Leadership and Humanitarian Award and the 1st United Nations NGO Lifetime Achievement Award. These awards are given to individuals and institutions throughout the world who are making significant contributions to the work of the United Nations in achieving the millennium development goals and objectives especially in the areas of poverty reduction and helping people with disabilities. So you start to have an idea about how dedicated Mengi is to his social campaigns.
In 2012 as well, Mengi was awarded the Business for Peace Award 2012 by the award Giving Committee of Nobel Laureates of the Business for Peace Foundation which is based in Oslo and is supported by business leaders, politicians and academics around the world. Mengi was selected as one of seven Honourees of the Business for Peace Award 2012 which is given to “Business persons who, through their own actions and commitments, promote socially responsible and ethical business practices in an outstanding way, and stand out as examples to others.”
I warned you didn’t I? I need to take a break from writing; you too, take a break from work and ponder on what you are going to do to make a difference in your community. Saran of little funds is doing something and Mengi of great funds is also doing something. What’s your excuse?