Virtual Tana Forum

Meles Zenawi Lecture

Side Event

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This year’s Meles Zenawi Lecture is taking the time to honor the life’s and legacy of two great African, Benjamin William Mkapa and Thandika Mkandawire.

H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa was born in 1938 in Masasi, Mtwara Region, Tanzania. He was the President of Tanzania from 1995 to 2005 and Chairman of Tanzania’s ruling party, CCM (Chama cha Mapinduzi). 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 Inter – Burundi 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. A word of inspiration from the former Tanzanian president,

Too often in my career, I have seen visions propounded, but little done to ensure their enactment. A leader must not be afraid to do the heavy lifting alongside his colleagues, or to do himself what he has asked or advocated others to do.

Professor Thandika Mkandawire is former Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development and the first person to take on the new position of Chair in African Development at the London School of Economics (LSE). Prof. Mkandawire was formerly Director of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Development Research in Copenhagen and has taught at the Universities of Stockholm and Zimbabwe. Professor Thandika Mkandawire (1940–2020) transformed economic and development scholarship on Africa, developed a community of African social scientists and campaigned for greater recognition of the continent’s knowledge production. A strong and inspiring word from revolutionary intellectual & Pan-Africanist Professor,

Africa must, and can, compete in an increasingly globalized world. This is not a passive process: it involves risk-taking and decisions about what sectors are potentially likely to yield long-term comparative advantage for African countries, modes for financing change and nature and incident of sacrifice to be born.