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Tanzania Finance Minister Dies at Age 63 After Long Illness

Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Tanzanian Finance Minister William Mgimwa died yesterday at a South African hospital after a long unspecified illness, the East African nation’s presidency said.

Mgimwa, 63, was appointed in May 2012 in a cabinet reorganization, following a report by the national audit office that showed the misuse of public funds, according to the Dar es Salaam-based, state-run Daily News newspaper. Last year, Mgimwa announced the country plans to secure an international credit rating in the 12 months through June, ahead of a Eurobond sale.

“I do not have enough words to describe my shock and sadness following reports of the death of Mr. Mgimwa,” said Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who visited Mgimwa twice in the hospital, according to the statement.

Mgimwa, a member of parliament since 2010, is a former principal at the Bank of Tanzania’s training institute and he worked at the National Bank of Commerce from 1980 to 2000.

Deputy Finance Minister Saada Mkuya Salum said she is acting as finance minister, a role she’s held since Mgimwa was admitted to the Pretoria-based Kloof Mediclinic. She described Mgimwa as a team leader and a fast learner on the job.

“The nation has lost one of its spirited servants,” Salum said today in a phone interview.

Mgimwa saw the value in spurring investment and promoting stability to help African nations develop, South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said today in an e-mailed statement.

Tanzania is sub-Saharan Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer, after South Africa, Ghana and Mali, and it holds the world’s only known deposit of tanzanite. The country is a natural gas producer and has the largest gas volumes in East Africa after Mozambique.

To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Ombok in Nairobi at eombok@bloomberg.net; Alawi Masare in Dar es Salaam at amasare@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

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