Reginald Abraham Mengi was born into a poor family in Northern
Tanzania and raised in a mud hut which the family shared with cows,
sheep, goats and chickens. He had one meal a day and sometimes none at
all and walked to school barefoot. Notwithstanding these circumstances
he managed to study accountancy and articles with Cooper Brothers in
the United Kingdom and after being accepted as a member of the
Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, he returned
to Tanzania in 1971 and was employed by the accounting firm of Coopers
& Lybrand Tanzania. He stayed with Coopers & Lybrand Tanzania (now
PriceWaterHouseCoopers) up to September 1989 during which time he
became its Chairman and Managing Partner.
Dr. Mengi as a businessman and entrepreneur
In October 1989 Dr. Mengi left Coopers & Lybrand Tanzania to
concentrate on his own businesses. Today his flagship IPP Limited and
its associated companies rank amongst the largest private companies in
Tanzania. IPP Limited and its associated companies are engaged in
amongst other things: print media (The Guardian Limited publishes The
Guardian and Nipashe newspapers which are amongst the largest selling
in Tanzania); electronic media (ITV- Independent Television Limited
runs the largest coverage private television and radio stations);
manufacturing (Bonite Bottlers Limited produces Coca Cola drinks under
license and the Kilimanjaro drinking water which is the most widely
sold bottled water in Tanzania); and mining (IPP Resources Limited has
directly and through joint ventures one of the most extensive mineral
portfolios in Tanzania).
Dr. Mengi has pioneered corporate social responsibility in Tanzania by
contributing his time and resources to worthy causes. These have
(1) Poverty eradication and economic empowerment. For many years he
has financed youth and women based economic groups and community
development projects through various grassrootprogrammes including
Village Community Banks and Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies
(2) Challenges facing the disadvantaged. For many years Dr. Mengi has
contributed his time and resources to helping improve the lives of
disadvantaged sections of society especially those with disabilities.
As a result he has consistently participated in setting up development
projects which focus on people with disabilities and has stood up to
speak out against the discrimination which they face. For example, he
was one of the first persons to publicly condemn the barbaric practice
of attacking and mutilating the limbs of Albinos and played a
significant role in creating public awareness of this atrocity and
promoting the Government to address the matter more seriously. Another
example is the luncheons which he has been hosting for the last
eighteen years for people with disabilities. These annual events which
are attended by over five thousand people have become an important
stage for raising awareness of the challenges which face people with
(3) Education. Over the last three decadesDr. Mengi’s efforts in this
area have included setting up scholarships to encourage students to do
well in their studies and to assist those who do well but are unable
to pursue further studies due to monetary constraints, and funding
schools which target disadvantaged sections of the community. For
example, Dr. Mengi has part financed the running of a boarding
secondary school for the daughters of nomadic Masaai who had no access
to education and were destined to become child mothers and live in
poverty. Now hundreds have been educated and through a scholarship
programme which he sponsors some of those who passed have gone on to
receive university education.In his capacity as a United Nations WFP
“End Hunger” Ambassador in Tanzania Dr. Mengi has also successfully
supported a national scheme to provide free meals to school children.
This has enhanced school enrolment and attendance.
(4) Health. Dr. Mengihas taken part in many health initiatives
including publicly championing the use of condoms as a way of
combating the spread of AIDS despite criticism and opposition from
many quarters of society including the Christian faiths. He has also
been actively engaged in the fight against fistula which is not a
widely known health problem. This illness has now been brought to the
forefront of public awareness. However, Dr. Mengi is probably best
known for his sponsorship of children to undergo lifesaving heart
surgeries in India.
(5) Conservation and protection of the environment.Dr. Mengi’s
initiative in the area of conservation has included initiating and
funding a campaign to reforest Mount Kilimanjaro in order to reverse
the melting of its famous snowcap due to global warming and
deforestation. This campaign which he has been funding since it
started in 1987, has led to over twenty four million trees being
planted on the slopes of the mountain.
A champion for justice and transparency
Dr. Mengi’s ethos has always been that we all have a moral obligation
to expose and fight social injustice and for this reason he has been
an outspoken campaigner against social injustice and in particular
corruption. In this regard he has taken every opportunity to denounce
corruption and those who perpetuate it at public rallies, public
events and press conferences and organised and participated in
symposiums, meetings and conferences to debate and sensitize the
public about corruption and social injustice. In March 2005 Dr. Mengi
went further and started two investigative newspapers called ThisDay
(English) and Kulikoni (Kiswahili) with the primary objective of
focusing on social injustice and corruption. These newspapers have had
a significant impact on the fight against social injustice in
Over the course of his career Dr. Mengi has held many public service
1. Director, Board of the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC)
This is an organization which was established under the Commonwealth
of Nations Charter. Its headquarters are located in London. Dr. Mengi
was elected to its Board of Directors in 1998 and has held this
position since then.
2. Chairman of the Media Owners Association of Tanzania (MOAT)
This is an organization which represents media owners in Tanzania. Dr.
Mengi was elected as Chairman in 2003 and has held this position ever
3. Chairman, People with Disabilities Trust Fund
This is an NGO which mobilizes funds for people with disabilities and
Dr. Mengi has been its Chairman since 1992.
4. Member, Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC)
In May 2007 Dr. Mengi was appointed to be a member of the TNBC and has
held this position since then.
5. Chairperson, Economic Empowerment Working Group of the Tanzania
National Business Council (TNBC)
The TNBC is a public/private sector initiative established to serve as
a forum for public-private sector dialogue on strategic direction for
promoting investments, and accelerating economic growth and poverty
eradication. The Working Groups are actually think tanks made up of
experts who advise on various issues. In May 2007 Dr. Mengi was
appointed by the TNBC Chairman, the President of the United Republic
of Tanzania, to chair one of these working groups which was entrusted
with formulating practical strategies for empowering Tanzanian
businesses especially SME’s. Dr. Mengi has been its chairman since.
6. Member, International Investors Round Table, Tanzania
This organization was established by the President of the United
Republic of Tanzania with the stated purpose of promoting
international investment and Dr. Mengi was invited to become a member.
The Roundtable Committee presents its recommendations to the
Government of Tanzania and these have greatly influenced Tanzania’s
foreign investment policy.
7. Chairman of the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI)
This is an umbrella organization representing the private sector
industries in Tanzania and Dr. Mengi was its Chairman between 2005 and
8. Commissioner, Tanzania HIV/AIDS Commission (TACAIDS)
This is a statutory Commission established in 2001 to create and
implement a cohesive response to HIV and AIDS. Its Commissioners are
appointed by the Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania and
Dr. Mengi was a Commissioner from 2002 to 2009.
9. Chairman of the East African Business Council (EABC)
This is an organization within the East African Community which is an
economic and administrative union of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda
and Burundi (the Partner States). The EABC was established with the
primary objective of setting a common regional business agenda and
advising the Partner States on matters which affect business and
economic development in the region. The organization draws members
from businesses in the Partner States. Dr. Mengi was elected its
Chairman for the year 2008. The organisation’s headquarters are
situated in Arusha Town in Northern Tanzania.
10. Chairman, ICC Tanzania (a National Committee of the International
Chamber of Commerce) Dr. Mengi was chairman of this organization from
2000 to 2007.
11. Chairman, the National Environment Management Council of Tanzania (NEMC)
The NEMC is an independent body established by law to regulate
environmental matters. Dr. Mengi was appointed by the President of the
United Republic of Tanzania to chair this body for three consecutive
terms of three years each from 1997 to 2006.
12. Board Director, Leadership for Environment and Development
LEAD International is an initiative established by the Rockefeller
Foundation in 1991 for the purpose of training selected mid-career
professionals in issues related to environment and development. Dr.
Mengi was unanimously elected as a director in May 2000 and remained a
director until he resigned in 2003.
13. Chairman of the National Board of Accountants and Auditors (NBAA)
The NBAA is the statutory organization for all accountants and
auditors in Tanzania. Dr. Mengi was appointed by the President of the
United Republic of Tanzania in 1984 to be its Chairman and reappointed
so that he eventually held this post for four consecutive terms of
four years each up to 2000.
14. Chairman, Commonwealth Press Union (CPU) Tanzania Chapter
Dr. Mengi was chairman of this organization from 1997 to 1999.
15. Chairperson Board of Directors, Tanzania Standard (Newspapers) Limited
This company owns and publishes the Government newspaper Daily News
and Habari Leo. Dr. Mengi was appointed Chairman of its Board of
Directors before resigning.
16. Commissioner, Salaries Review Commission
This Commission was formed in the 1980’s by the Late first President
of Tanzania Julius Nyerereto advise the Government on salaries.
Public Recognition of Dr. Mengi
In recognition of his philanthropic achievements and his unwavering
commitment in the fight against social injustice, Dr. Mengi has
received several awards including:
1. The Environmental Conservation Award Grade One
Thismedalwas given by the People of Tanzania to Dr. Mengion 9th
December, 2012 for his tireless efforts and contribution in
environmental protection and conservation.
2. Token by the Dar es Salaam Religious Leaders Committee for support
to society without religious, racial or tribal discrimination 2012.
3. The Business for Peace Award 2012
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 selected Dr.
Mengi as one of seven Honourees of the Business for Peace Award 2012
which was awarded to him on the 7th May 2012 in Oslo. This award 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”.
His nomination was preceded by a global search for Honourees
involving the world business organization, the International Chamber
of Commerce (ICC) through its global network chambers of commerce and
its national committees.
4. Doctor of Humanity Degree awarded by Japan Bible Institute on the
10th March, 2012.
Dr. Mengi was bestowed this honour for his dedication to social development.
5. Certificate of Appreciation by the Government of the United
Republic of Tanzania
Dr. Mengi was given this award on 31st March, 2011 by His Excellency
JakayaMrishoKikwete, The President of the United Republic of Tanzania
for his significant contribution towards the success of the 2010
General Elections Campaign.
6. 2010 Global Leadership and Humanitarian Award and the 1st United
Nations NGO Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Mengi was given the two awards on the 28th May 2012 by the Global
2000 (2010) International, a registered member of the World
Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, member NGO of the
United Nations Department of Public Information and registered NGO in
consultative status with UNESCO of the United Nations. These awards
are given to individuals and institutions throughout the world who are
making a 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. Dr. Mengi is the first recipient of the United Nations
NGO Lifetime Achievement Award.
7. Certificate of Appreciation by the International Association of Lions Clubs
This certificate was awarded to Dr. Mengi by the Tanzania and Uganda
Lions Club MD 411-B in recognition of distinguished services to Lions
for the years 2009 to 2010.
8. The 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Justice Award
Dr. Mengi was given this award by the United States of America for his
efforts in combating corruption and fighting for justice.
9. Msama Promotions – Trophy for High Respect Award – 2007
Dr. Mengi was given this award for his dedication to community development.
10. Certificate of Appreciation from BAKWATA – for support and
Dedication to Society – 2006
11. Trophy of appreciation from Command and Staff College – Arusha 2006
Dr. Mengi was given this trophy for his outstanding leadership in business.
12. Msama Promotions – Trophy in recognition of caring for and valuing
people with disability – 2006
13. Certificate from Tanzania Institute of Media Education (TIME) for
Awarded to Dr. Mengi on 29th January 2005 in recognition of the
enterprise, patriotism and diligence with which he has stood out as a
leader in crusading for improvements in the status of journalists and
the media in Tanzania.
14. Certificate of Appreciation – Founder Benefactor of the University
of Dodoma – 2005
15. Certificate of Appreciation from Arusha Women Development
Initiative Support – 2004
Dr. Mengi was given this certificate for supporting women economic initiatives.
16. Certificate of Appreciation from the Registered Trustees of the
Community Development Services (RTCDS) – 2004
Dr. Mengi was given this certificate for his contribution to community
17. Certificate of Appreciation from Rombo Development Trust Fund – 2003
Dr. Mengi was given this certificate in recognition of his outstanding
contribution to the historically successful fundraising campaign for
Rombo District for year 2003.
18. Most respected Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in East Africa
Dr. Mengi was voted East Africa most respected CEO 2nd position by the
East African Business Community for the years 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Voting for this purpose was discontinued in 2002.
19. Trophies from PriceWaterHouseCoopers and Reliance Insurance
Company (T) Limited
Dr. Mengi was awarded these trophies for winning East Africa’s Most
Respected CEO in 2001 and 2002.
20. AJoint Certificate of Appreciation from the then National Chief
Commander of CCM Youth Mzee Rashid Kawawa and the then Commander of
CCM Youth Coast Region Hon. JakayaMrishoKikwete.
Dr. Mengi was given this certificate in recognition of his support for
the 2001MwalimuNyerere Memorial Walk.
21. A token of Appreciation from the National Board of Accountants and Auditors
This was awarded to Dr. Mengi for invaluable contribution to the
accounting Profession in Tanzania as Chairman of the Governing Board
from 1984 to 2000.
22. The Environmentalist of the Century Award 2000 – Kilimanjaro Region
Dr. Mengi was given this award in 2000 in recognition for his efforts
to conserving and protecting the environment of Mount Kilimanjaro and
in particular his role in the forestation campaign.
23. Certificate for supporting National Sports Day for the Disabled – 2000
24. Tanzania Muslim Hajj Trust – Certificate of Appreciation for
Service and Cooperation 1998
25. Uhuru Torch Ceremony Support 1996
Dr. Mengi was awarded this award for his contribution to the success
of the 1996 Uhuru Torch Ceremony.
26. The Order of the Arusha Declaration of the First Class
Dr. Mengi was awarded this medal by the People of Tanzania in 1995 in
recognition for earning great distinction for Tanzania economically,
politically, socially and in defence of Tanzania diligently and at
considerable personal sacrifice. It is one of the highest decorations
ever awarded to a civilian in Tanzania.
27. The Order of the United Republic of Tanzania
Dr. Mengi was awarded this medal by the People of Tanzania in 1994 in
recognition for acts and conduct earning praise and distinction for
the United Republic of Tanzania and it is one of the highest
decorations ever awarded to a civilian in Tanzania.
28. The East Africa Environmental Network (EAEN) Environmental Leadership Award
Dr. Mengi was awarded this award for efforts in in environmental
protection and conservation.
29. Token from the Africa Development Bank (ADB) for support and
dedication to Society
Dr. Mengi has three children with his estranged wife, Mercy and twin
boys with his partner Jacqueline. In 2005 he tragically lost his
eldest child to heart complications. Dr. Mengi spends most of his time
in Dar es Salaam although he has a residence in Moshi Town. He is an
avid reader and a keen collector of African art.