Tanzania: Why Ali Mufuruki Quit German Car Maker Daimler-Benz

Dar es Salaam — For many people, job movement from one organization to another means looking for greener pastures or higher-ranking positions but Ali Mufuruki wanted to make a difference.

At any cost, he wanted to see the impact of whatever he's doing.

The business tycoon who died yesterday in South Africa at 61 was a mechanical engineer by profession and worked for carmaker Daimler-Benz AG of Germany in the design planning department. In his engineering class at Reutlingen Technical University, Germany, 48 started and only 24 of them graduated. Eight of the graduates ended at Daimler-Benz AG including Mr Mufuruki.

However, the Bukoba-born entrepreneur who was paid 5,000 Deutsche Marks (over $2,500 by then) decided to quit the global automaker just to find where he could make a difference.

"When you work in Germany industry in particular, you realize very quickly whereas the pay is great, the living conditions are fantastic for a person with engineering qualification or similar. But because the world has moved on so much, the contribution of an individual to what makes a car is very minimal and almost unrecognisable,' said Mr Mufuruki in an interview with Africa24 Media in 2015.

"I remember going down from my office to the production floor just to stand and admire the assembly lines, the people at work and see a car rolling off the belt and say what is my contribution to this perfect car that's coming out of here? I could not identify but I knew the content of my work is valuable," he said.

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"That bothered me and really pushed me to come back so that I do something else significant," he said.

When he came back, he joined the National Engineering Company where, according to him, he was paid equivalent of less than 100 Deutsche Marks.

He later decided to quit the government job where he was given a rent-free living house in posh area of Dar es Salaam.

Mr Mufuruki was born in a village on the shores of Lake Victoria and was grown up by his grandmother. He was the third in the family of 28 members.

Apart from being a self-made billionaire, he is also described as an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, visionary leader and philanthropist.

By the time he died, he was still in several boards of the companies, institutions as well as international bodies.

His tenure as chairman of Vodacom Tanzania ended on December 1, 2019 where he was paid $150,000 as fees per year.

Mufuruki's wealth was estimated at $110 in 2012 as reported by Ventures Africa.

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