Biography: Amir H. Jamal
Amir Habib Jamal held many high posts in Tanzania, including Finance Minister, and later served as Tanzanian Ambassador to the UN in Geneva. As Tanzanian ambassador from 1988-1993, during a crucial period of the Uruguay Round negotiations, Jamal tried hard to safeguard the interests of developing countries, especially the least developed. His great ability and dedication were recognized not only by fellow Ambassadors from South and North, but by a wider community of officials and non-governmental organizations.
After serving as a member of the Brandt Commission, he served as Personal Representative of Chairman Julius Nyerere on the South Commission, and then on the South Center and the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation of Uppsala, Sweden. As a member of the SUNS Advisory Board and the Board of the Inter Press Service, Jamal worked hard for the democratization of communication and information flows.
Of Indian origin, but born like his parents in Tanzania, Amir Jamal came from a trading family. He studied in India, where one of his memories was of a meeting of the Indian National Congress in Bombay, 1942, when Mohandas Gandhi gave the call to the British to "Quit India", launching another of Gandhi's movements towards independence.
In Tanzania, Jamal fully cooperated and worked in the Nationalist movement, at considerable personal difficulty for him and his family. He was one of the five nominees of the liberation Nationalist Movement, TANC, to be a Minister in the then-predominantly colonial government in 1959. He continued to serve the country after its independence. From 1961 until 1980, he held office at various times as Minister of Finance, Commissioner for Planning, Minister for Communications and Works, and Minister for Trade and Industry – often named to posts or ministries requiring expert management and deep commitment.
Jamal's utter integrity, dedication and selfless service, along with his political ability, were recognized throughout Tanzania, and Jamal was repeatedly elected with ever-increasing majorities from predominantly African constituencies.
Amir Habib Jamal passed away March 20th, 1995 at the age of 74, after a year of debilitating illness.