Salim Ahmed Salim
Prime Minister, Tanzania 1984-1985
Secretary-General of the OAU, 1989 – 2001
Dr Salim started his diplomatic career at the age of 22, when serving as Ambassador of Zanzibar to Egypt, which made him the youngest African ambassador at the time. Barely four months into his post, Dr Salim became the First Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania and Zanzibar to Egypt. He then became High Commissioner of Tanzania to India (1965-1968), Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China (1969) and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York (1970). Whilst serving at the UN he was also accredited as Tanzania’s Ambassador to Cuba and High Commissioner to Guyana, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago (1970-1980).
Dr Salim held a number of important UN posts, including Chairman of the UN Security Council Committee on Sanctions against Rhodesia (1975), President of the UN Security Council (1976), President of the 34th session of the UN General Assembly (1979), of the 6th and 7th Emergency Special Sessions of the General Assembly (1989), and 11th Special Session of the General Assembly (1980). He was also Chairman of the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation (1972-1980), which played a key role in steering many colonies and non-self-governing territories to full sovereignty and independence.
After leaving the UN in 1980, Dr Salim returned to Tanzania and was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs (1980-1984). In April 1984 he was appointed Prime Minister, a position he held until November 1985. He then served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence and National Service up until his election as Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1989.
Dr Salim’s tenure at the OAU was for a record three terms, up until 2001, during which time as Africa’s most senior diplomat he displayed a high degree of skill and diplomacy in addressing Africa’s problems, and oversaw the OAU’s transformation into the Africa Union.
Activity after Public Politics
Dr Salim has chaired and been a member of a number of commissions and diplomatic missions for the UN, Commonwealth Secretariat and the African Union including the following: the Commonwealth Expert Group on Democracy and Development, 2002-03; the Commonwealth Observer Group for the National Assembly and Presidential Elections in Nigeria, 2003; the Presidential Elections in Gambia, 2006; the Presidential Elections in Rwanda, 2010; the UN High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, 2003-05 and the AU Special Envoy on the Darfur Conflict, 2004-08.
Dr Salim was also the co-chair of the Eminent Persons Group on Small Arms and Light Weapons and a member of the Eminent Experts Group appointed by the UN Secretary General following the Durban World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and related Intolerance. He also served as a member of the Foundation Council, Centre of Humanitarian Dialogue, the Policy Advisory Commission of the World Intellectual Property Organization and as African Water Ambassador, with responsibility for advocacy, sensitisation and mobilisation of support.
Dr Salim has been a Member of the Global Leadership Foundation since 2011.
Membership and Affiliations
- Member of the African Union Panel of the Wise
- Chairperson of the Institute of Security Studies
- Chairperson of the International Board of Trustees of Africa Humanitarian Action
- Chairperson of the Advisory Board of Trustees of the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance at Africa University, Mutare, Zimbabwe
- Member of the Foundation Council, Centre of Humanitarian Dialogue
- Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Daily Trust African of the Year Award
- Member of the Board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation
- Member of the High Level Committee of the World Solidarity Fund
- Eminent Member of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation
- Eminent Member of the Intellectual Network for the South
- Senior Adviser of International Crisis Group