8:13 AM Mar 22, 1995


Geneva 23 Mar (TWN) -- Amir Habib Jamal, 74, who held many high posts in Tanzania, including as Finance Minister, and later served as Tanzanian Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, died in Vancouver, Canada Monday after year of debilitating illness which he fought with fortitude.

As a Tanzanian ambassador from 1988-1993, Jamal through a crucial period of the Uruguay Round negotiations tried hard to safeguard the interests of the developing countries, and especially of 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. He was a member of the Brandt Commission and then served as Personal Representative of Chairman Julius Nyerere on the South Commission and then on the South Centre, 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 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 the meeting of the Indian National Congress in Bombay in 1942, when Gandhi gave the call to the British to "Quit India", and launched another of his movements that brought independence.

In Tanzania, he fully cooperated and worked in the Nationalist movement, at considerable personal difficulties to 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 independence, being regularly appointed a Minister from 1961 till 1989 -- having held office at various times as Minister of Finance, Commissioner for Planning, Minister for Communications and Works, Minister for Trade and Industry -- often being named to posts or ministries needing difficult management and self-less commitment.

Jamal's utter integrity, dedication and selfless service and his great ability and personal goodness were recognized throughout Tanzania and his was repeatedly elected with ever-increasing majorities from predominantly African constituencies.

Jamal leaves behind a widow, three sons and a daughter.