Tanzanian media mogul and philanthropist passes away

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Tanzanian billionaire, philanthropist and media mogul, Reginald Mengi, has passed away Wednesday night in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Aged 75, Mengi was the leading local investor in media industry, owning and running two biggest television and radio station, also the Guardian and Nipashe daily newspapers under the umbrella of IPP Media.

Through IPP Media, Mr. Mengi set up the media empire, that mainly serves Tanzania and parts of East Africa. His media empire owns ITV, East Africa TV, Capital TV, Radio One, East Africa Radio and Capital FM, all operating in Tanzania’s commercial capital city of Dar es Salaam, serving Tanzania and East Africa.

Besides media, IPP has interests in Coca-Cola bottling, mining and consumer goods.

Reports on Thursday morning confirmed that Mr. Mengi, the chairman of Confederation of Tanzania Industries, IPP Gold Ltd, passed away. He was the author of a book titled ‘I Can, I Must, I Will,’ and was one of the richest people in Tanzania.

He was born in 1944 in Kilimanjaro region in northern Tanzania and was the chairman of Media Owners Association of Tanzania.

His death comes five months after he announced investments in IPP Automobile, a car assembly plant, and the mobile phone sector. The $10 million plant is a joint venture between with IPP Automobile Company Ltd and Youngsan Glonet Corporation.

Forbes reports that IPP Automobile has already begun importing parts for the assembly of Hyundai, Kia and Daewoo cars.

Mr. Mengi came to limelight in early 1990s when he set up consumer goods factories and one of the earliest television stations in Tanzania.

The man who weathered the tough media environment in Tanzania to set up a print and broadcast empire is known to empower vulnerable groups in Tanzania.

Mr. Mengi is known to have defied Tanzania’s socialist hangover policies to establish big companies which now employs thousands of people.

With the country gradually changing from socialism, where media ownership was reserved for the state and ruling party, his outlets brought in a fresh approach to global news and entertainment, BBC said.

Having amassed a large fortune, he became a noted philanthropist, including paying for the treatment of hundreds of Tanzanian children with heart conditions.