Even if you are not a Tanzanian, you must have heard about Jakaya Kikwete, a former president of Tanzania. Considering how long he has been on the seat, his name has become a popular one in African politics. He was the President of Tanzania for over a decade and has also contributed positively to the country’s development both economically and otherwise. However, there are a lot of facts about this man who a lot of people are not aware of. Read on to know more about him.

Jakaya Kikwete Biography

Jakaya Kikwete was born on 7th October 1951 in Msoga, Tanzania as the sixth child of his father, Halfani Mrisho Kikwete and mother, Asha Jakaya. After his secondary education, Jakaya went to Tanga school for his advanced level education, from whence he proceeded to  University of Dar es Salaam to acquire a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. As a trained military man, he rose to the level of a Lieutenant, and later to a Lieutenant-Colonel, positions at which he served both in militaristic and political roles.

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Political Career

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete3

In 1992, Kikwete decided to abandon the military and direct full attention to politics. It was a period when political pluralism was reintroduced in Tanzania. By the year 1994, after six years of serving in the central government, he was appointed the Minister for Finance, making him one of the youngest finance ministers in the history of Tanzania. During his tenure, he recorded tremendous success – he was credited with creating cash budget systems and ramping up revenue collections to better allow for public finance management, as well as the establishment of the Tanzania Revenue Authority. A year after, precisely in December 1995, Kikwete was appointed the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Jakaya is the longest-serving minister in the history of Tanzania’s government and politics, a position he held for ten years until he was elected President of the United Republic of Tanzania in December 2005, hence becoming the country’s longest-serving foreign minister. These ten long years were never wasted by the well-meaning Jakaya, he ensured that Tanzania played a significant role in bringing about peace in the Great Lakes region, particularly in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Political Achievements and Philosophy


Under the presidency of Jakaya Kikwete, inflation dropped, Tanzania’s economy grew and foreign debt was wiped. It is true that critics still insist that most Tanzanians remain impoverished, but it didn’t dispute the fact that he didn’t make a positive impact in the lives of Tanzanians.

Unlike some African leaders, Kikwete is very tolerant when it comes to religion. As a Muslim, he surprisingly has a collection of the Christian Holy Book, the Bible, most of which were given him as gifts. His administration is marked by freedom of religion and worship. Not one to wallow in mediocrity, the former Tanzanian President is very prominent on the social networks, especially on twitter where he is the sixth most followed African president.

In addition, Kikwete is a very vibrant lover of sports. He played basketball competitively in school and has been a patron of the Tanzania Basketball Federation for the past 10 years. Jakaya is not one to cling to political power, he is very satisfied with the two tenures as president of Tanzania. In fact, in one of his most recent speeches, he said he cannot wait to step down come October 2015, having been stressed out these long years of thankless service.

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Family, Children

Jakaya Kikwete got married to Salma Kikwete in 1989, it was his second marriage and in both, he has nine children – Ridhiwani, Salama, Miraj, Ally, Khalifa, MwanaAsha, Khalfan, Rashid, and Mohamed (adopted).

Jakaya Kikwete Net Worth, Salary


The former Tanzanian president’s net worth is pegged at $10 million. He was listed as one ten highest paid presidents in Africa, according to the African Review, a publication based in Kenya. His annual salary was around $192, 000.

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Quick Facts about Jakaya Kikwete

1. He is from a family of nine and also has nine kids.

2. He studied Economics at the University.

3. He was once a military man.

4. He became a Minister at 44, one of the youngest in the history of Tanzania.

5. His political party is Chama Cha Mapinduzi.

6. He served as Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for ten years.

7. He is not a religious fanatic.

8. He wiped off Tanzania’s foreign debts.

9. He is Twitter friendly.

10. He loves basketball.

11. He is not a sit-tight President.

12. Jakaya Kikwete has earned numerous awards including Leadership Excellence Award by the Pan-African Youth Union.

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