H.E. Mr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President, United Republic of Tanzania
"It is with a deep sense of humility and gratitude that I accept the appointment to serve as co-chair of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health. Improving the health of women and children is a matter that is very close to my heart. I am very passionate about getting the opportunity to do something to help save the lives and improve the living conditions of many innocent children and mothers. I look forward with great anticipation to working with my co-Chair, the Prime Minister of Canada, Right Honourable Stephen Harper and the other Commissioners to deliver on the Commission's objectives."
His Excellency President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete was first elected to the Fourth President of the United Republic of Tanzania on 14 December 2005. Recently on 31 October, 2010 he was re-elected for the second term.
Born on 7 October 1950, President Kikwete is a graduate of economics from the University of Dar es Salaam. At the university, he was a student leader and active participant in African liberation politics and youth movements. He later sharpened his leadership skills in the military, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel before retiring from the army in 1992 to concentrate on politics.
In his more than 30 years of public service, President Kikwete served in different party, military and government positions. He joined the Cabinet in 1988 and he held several ministerial portfolios including Minister for Finance, Minister for Water, Energy and Mineral Resources and Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. He was the longest serving Foreign Minister in the history of Tanzania after serving that position for a ten year tenure.
During his tenure in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he led Tanzania’s efforts to bring about peace in the Great Lakes region, particularly in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As Chairman of East African Community’s Council of Ministers, he played a pivotal role in moving forward the process of regional integration in East Africa, particularly the delicate negotiations of establishing a Customs Union between Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. He also Co-chaired the Helsinki Process on Globalization and Democracy with the Foreign Minister of Finland.
In 2007, President Kikwete was elected Chairman of the SADC Organ on Security, Defense and Politics, where he was deeply involved in the search for peaceful solutions to political crises in the Southern Africa region, including a political crisis in Zimbabwe and Lesotho.
President Kikwete was brought into politics and mentored by the founding father of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. For his administration, President Kikwete has set out an ambitious agenda for faster and sustained economic growth in Tanzania.
On 31 January 2008, President Kikwete was elected Chairman of the African Union Assembly of Heads of States and Government, where he took a proactive role in resolution of conflicts in the Republic of Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He also advanced to greater heights the relations between the AU and the UN, EU and International Community at large.
He has completed his Chairmanship of the East African Community and it was during his tenure that the EAC signed and ratified the Protocol on the Common Market. He left negotiations on the Monetary Union at an advanced stage.