Ambassador Ami Ramadhan Mpungwe is a Tanzanian, born on 24th February 1951 in Ifakara in the Kilombero district of Morogoro region. He obtained primary education in his village of birth, after which he continued with secondary education and passed both the ‘O-Level (ordinary-level) and the ‘A-Level’ (advanced-level) exams, which enabled him to enroll at the University of Dar es Salaam in 1972. He undertook a three-year Bachelor of Arts degree programme in Political Science and International Relations at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences which he successfully completed in 1975 and was awarded a B. A (Hons) degree. Upon graduation, he was employed at the Tanzanian Ministry of Affairs, thereby joining foreign service as a career diplomat. He received further training in foreign and international affairs in New Zealand, Australia, Zambia and South Africa. He served at different times and in different capacities in the portfolios of Private Secretary to the Chief Secretary, Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service and Personal Assistant to the President of the United Republic of Tanzania (1985-92). Within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he rose within ranks to the level of Director of Africa and the Middle East (1992- 93).
In 1994, Ami Mpungwe was appointed Tanzania’s first High Commissioner to post-apartheid South Africa following the country’s attainment of an African majority government. One will remember that Tanzania played a considerable part in the struggle of the African population in South Africa against white suppression. Tanzania provided a training-and-preparatory ground at Mazimbu. It made so many sacrifices for South African true independence, including severing trade relations with the apartheid regime as well as, in return, suffering a number of acts of sabotage and economic disadvantages because of her staunch support for the African majority rule in South Africa. Ami Mpungwe’s appointment to South Africa’s executive capital city of Pretoria was thus like the biblical triumphal entry into a jubilant and freshly expectant city of a country’s nationhood.
Mr. Mpungwe served in this capacity of High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa for seven years from 1994 to 2001, making Tanzania’s political, cultural and business relations with South Africa closer, more functional and more rejuvenating. Nonetheless, in December 1999, after 25 years of distinguished service with the Tanzanian government, Ambassador Mpungwe took early and voluntary retirement from the public-diplomatic service in order to join and help to invigorate the Tanzanian private sector by actively participating or else leading in a range of private sub-sectors. These included mining, agri-business in sugar, teak, media industry development, transportation, tourism, shipping and food export-import business. In 1999, President Mbeki decorated Ambassador Mpungwe with the ‘Order of Good Hope’, the country’s highest award granted to a foreign citizen for distinguished service, for Amb. Mpungwe’s contribution to the liberation of South Africa; for contribution towards economic integration in Southern Africa particularly in the SADC Region; and for his efforts in promoting closer ties between South Africa and Tanzania. In August 2001, he was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the OAU for his “Important contribution in facilitating the Inter-Rwandese negotiations, culminating in the Arusha Peace Agreement of the 4th August 1993.”
Mr. Mpungwe has since then fully participated in and made a remarkable contribution to the private sector in Tanzania. In the area of mining, he has made considerable contribution as Chairman of the TanzaniteOne Mining Ltd/TanzaniteOne SA Ltd since 2000, as well as Independent Non-Executive Director in the African Gem Resources (AFGEM) Ltd and chairing the Tanzania Chamber of Mines. In the commercial-agricultural field, he has served as Chairman of the Board of Kilombero Valley Teak Company Ltd, Chairman on the Board of Kilombero Sugar Co. Ltd., Board Member in the Malawi Sugar Plc., Independent Non-Executive Director in Zambia Sugar Plc (since 2006), and Advisory Board Member in the Illovo Sugar Group (a subsidiary of Associated British Foods of the UK), since 2006. In the arena of communications and media Amb. Mpungwe has served as Chairman of the Board of MIC (TIGO) Tanzania Ltd and also Member on the Board of Nyota Tanzania Ltd (Maersk Shipping Line Associate). Elsewhere in the field of business and commerce, Mpungwe has been a Member on the Board of Directors of Tanzania Breweries Ltd (2001), a Member on the Board of the Standard Chartered Bank (Tanzania), Member of the Board of Directors of the National Bank of Commerce (NBC) and a Member on the Advisory Board of Pan-African Energy (T) Ltd. Last, but not least, Ambassador Mpungwe has made a contribution to the country’s higher education sector through a two-term membership and participation on the University of Dar es Salaam Council, serving on the Board of Trustees of the University of Dodoma (UDOM) Endowment Fund, as well as serving on the Executive Committee of the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF). UDSM appreciates the contribution he has made in all these areas of endeavour in social and national development.