We are profoundly saddened at the death of Ali A. Mufuruki, the founding Board Chairperson of TradeMark East Africa (2015 – 2018). Ali passed away in South Africa on 8th December 2019.
Ali was one of the most remarkable Africans of his generation, an inspirational leader who made great contributions to industrialisation in Africa, to technology and research; to innovation and technology, entrepreneurship, business and to private and non-profit sector governance. He also established the Africa Leadership Initiative that has played a key role in developing ethical leaders across the Continent. Ali was deeply committed to his country, to the economic integration of East Africa, and to Africa as a whole. He was an ardent champion of African Continental Free Trade Area and fiercely advocated for the involvement of private sector.
Ali had an immediate positive impact when he joined TMEA’s first Governance body in late 2012. He went on to leading formation of a talented TMEA Board in 2015, on which he served with distinction until 2018. He was a popular and highly engaged Chairperson, always ready to provide advice and perspective on leadership, governance, transformative economic models and industrialisation in Africa. Ali co-authored an influential book on Industrialisation in Tanzania in 2017, which helps to guide TMEA’s work. He also co-led a review of the UK’s work on supporting trade in Africa with Lord Green and the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Trade in 2016. After standing down we continued to work with Ali and the Afro-Champions Initiative to support the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Ali always led valuable contributions to Board discussions on TMEA’s strategy and future. He was firm and gentle at the same time; measured, hands-on, realistic Pan-Africa and Afro-Optimist. TMEA CEO Frank Matsaert said: “Africa has lost one of its greats. We shall miss him as a visionary, a leader and a mentor. He shaped TMEA into what it is today, a catalyst for trade across Africa. We will continue to drive forward our work in Ali’s memory.”
He brought his unique ability to navigate complexity and uncertainty to TMEA – with its diverse stakeholders, its visibility and scale, and vision to sustainably expand the TMEA model to East and Southern Africa. He did this with grace and boldness. He brought to TMEA his aspirations for industrialisation in Africa, turning Africa into a net exporter powered by African multinationals. He believed in not only his country, his region but also the African continent and its talented people and their ideas and their role in the world. Ali’s passion for Africa’s prosperity and emancipation of its youth remained a prominent thread throughout his career in business.
Ali was the chairman and CEO of Infotech Investment Group Limited based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Infotech Investment Group has interests in Information Technology. He also served on the Boards of several other leading corporations across Africa.
He was truly a remarkable human being – humble, approachable, kind and funny. We shall dearly miss him. TMEA remains fully committed to help make Ali’s vision a reality.
On behalf of TMEA staff, management, Board and Council we express our deepest thanks to Ali, and our sincere condolences to his wife and family at his untimely passing.
In his words:
“Africa does not want to be a place of desolate hopelessness, disease and poverty. In order to create an Africa of greatness, it is up to us, Africans, to do it….to apply our energy and innovation and make it happen. It won’t be easy, but it will happen.”~ Ali A. Mufuruki