Jay Naidoo is Chair of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Partnership Council of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) headquartered in Geneva and launched at the 2002 UN Summit on Children as a public private partnership to tackle malnutrition facing 2 billion people in the world. He is the founder of the social development arm of an investment and management company, J&J Group, which he co-founded in 2000 in South Africa.
Jay Naidoo has recently joined the Board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation established to promote African development through a focus on promoting good governance. He serves in an advisory capacity for a number of international organizations including the Broadband Commission of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Lead Committee of the UNSG on Nutrition. He is the Patron of ‘Scatterlings of Africa’ a paleontological foundation linking archaeological sites across Africa.
From 1994 to 1999, Jay was the Minister responsible for South Africa’s Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) in the Office of the President before becoming the Communications Minister in Nelson Mandela’s Cabinet. He was the founding General Secretary of theCongress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) where he served three terms (1985 to 1993). He was at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid leading the largest trade union federation in South Africa.
From 2001-2010, Jay was Chairperson of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the premier development finance institution driving infrastructure in the SADC region. From 2003 -2010 he serves as deputy chair and trustee of ‘Lovelife’, a nongovernmental organisation leading the fight to prevent HIV/AID through education and mobilization.
Jay Naidoo started studying a BSc at the University of Durban Westville in 1975 to be a medical doctor but his studies were interrupted by the political turmoil at the time because of student uprisings. He became active in SASO the South African Students Organisation that was banned in 1977 just after its leader Steve Biko was murdered in police detention.
Jay was the recipient of, among other awards, the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (Legion of Honour), one of France’s highest decorations, and received the ‘Drivers for Change Award’ from the Southern African Trust and Mail & Guardian newspaper in Oct 2010. He has recently returned to full time voluntary work, and publishes a blog at www.jaynaidoo.org. Jay’s recently published autobiography, ‘Fighting for Justice’, is available in leading SA bookstores.
Married to Lucie Pagé, a French Canadian writer and journalist. Jay considers his three children, Shanti, Kami and Léandre, his greatest achievement.