Part 3: The 30 Most Notable Africans of 2013
03 Feb 2014
What: As with so many stories of success, Reginald Mengi’s is one of humble beginnings. Mengi grew up in Tanzania with his parents and six siblings on a small farm. After finishing his primary schooling, he went to study accounting in Scotland. When he returned home to Tanzania, he took various accounting jobs and eventually became a Managing Partner at Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouseCooper). Wanting to pursue other business interests, he went on to found his own company in 1989. This Tanzanian entrepreneur has used his “Start small, but think big” philosophy to build and acquire mining, media and manufacturing interests, growing IPP Limited—his holding company—to the $550 million conglomerate that it is reported to be worth today.
Why I’m Inspired: Mengi is one multi-millionaire who has never forgotten his roots and makes giving back a part of his mantra. In one incident, he became embarrassed when a young woman ran up to him and thanked him profusely (and rather publicly) for a kind deed he had done for her almost 20 years before. At 4-years-old, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition and needed surgery that her family couldn’t afford. Mengi offered to pay for it in full, including the transportation to India, never expecting anything in return. Such is the rule-of-thumb for this media mogul who has pioneered corporate social responsibility in his country. A long-time advocate of promoting good governance in Africa, he has also supported initiatives in education, health, conservation, and poverty eradication. In 2013, he received the East Africa Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy Award from The East Africa Association of Grantmakers.