H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa was born in 1938 in Masasi, Mtwara Region, Tanzania. He was the Chairman of the South Centre, a Geneva-based intergovernmental organization of developing countries; member of the InterAction Council; Club de Madrid; Africa Forum; Board of Trustees of the Africa Wildlife Foundation; Chancellor of the University of Dodoma, Tanzania and Cavendish of Uganda.
He was the President of Tanzania from 1995 to 2005 and Chairman of Tanzania’s ruling party, CCM (Chama cha Mapinduzi). Prior to being elected President in 1995, he was at different times, a High Commissioner to Nigeria and Canada; an Ambassador to the United States of America; Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education; Minister for Information and Culture; Minister for Foreign Affairs in two different periods; and Minister for Information and Broadcasting.
H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa was also a renowned internationalist. He served as a member of the Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa; Chair of the Advisory Council of Microsoft 4Africa; Co-Chair of the African Emerging Markets Forum (AEMF); the Board Member of the International Crisis Group; Co-Chair of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization; member of the Panel of Eminent Persons appointed by the UNCTAD Secretary-General, to review and enhance the role of UNCTAD within the United Nations Reforms and the High-level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence in areas of Development, Humanitarian Assistance and Environment, Commissioner of UN Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor 2006 – 2008, Patron for UN Committee Year of Planet Earth and the Chairperson of the UN Secretary-General Referendum Panel on Sudan in 2010.
In mediation and peace-building, in different times he served as co-mediator with Former President of Nigeria H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo in the Congo under the auspices of the United Nations, African Union and International Conference on the Great Lakes Region; with the former United Nations Secretary-General, the late Koffi Annan in mediating post-election violence in Kenya; and was recently a Facilitator of the InterBurundi Dialogue under the aegis of the East African Community (EAC). He was also appointed by the then Secretary-General of the United Nations H.E. Ban Ki-Moon to lead the UN Observers of the Referendum in Sudan which culminated in the birth of South Sudan after a protracted conflict.
H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa was the Founder of the Benjamin William Mkapa Foundation (BMF), whose mission is to facilitate the delivery of responsive health services, including HIV and AIDS, particularly in underserved areas in Tanzania through innovations in health systems. He was the ‘holder’ of a dozen honorary awards by distinguished academic and other institutions.