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Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development widens commitment to economic uplift - 2002-03-02

Saturday, 2002, March 2

The AgaKhan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) has purchased the world-renowned Hotel Polana as the first step in a tourism development programme for Mozambique that will expand further its interest in this sector of economic activity in Eastern Africa.'Through the Hotel Polana,' said Nazim Ahmed, AgaKhan Development Network representative for Mozambique, 'we hope to make the unique cultures, history and natural resources that Mozambique has to offer the world, more widely accessible.'
'This acquisition will also enable us to broaden the tourism offering in Eastern Africa and to increase our investment in a priority sector for Mozambique's economy, as we deepen our commitment to strengthening the country's hospitality industry, revitalising its cultural assets and promoting sensitive and ecologically sound development,' he said.
Mozambique's heritage draws on a dozen distinct indigenous ethnic groups, forming a multiracial and cultural mosaic, since the late 15th century.
Its natural resources include abundant wildlife and marine life, one of the largest coral reefs in the world and one of the longest coastlines in Africa. Maputo is sprawling capital, a centre of trade and industry with a port that serves regional economies.
Set in four hectares of tropical gardens overlooking the Bay of Maputo, the Hotel Polana, with 188 luxury rooms in the heart of the city, has played host to royalty, heads of state and leading personalities from all walks of life for nearly a century.
It will be operated by Serena Hotels & Resorts, AKFED's wholly owned hospitality and tourism affiliate.
The AKFED's plans include upgrading and refurbishing facilities at the Hotel Polana to bring it to world-class standards and the development of luxury coastal and island resorts, safari lodges and tented camps to compete with the best in Africa and add to Serena's existing strong presence in the region.
The AKFED's acquisition of the Hotel Polana expands the commitment of the AgaKhan Development Network of Mozambique and complements its expanded social development initiatives in the country.
These initiatives, commenced under an agreement of co-operation for development, include a major rural development programme serving coastal communities in one of the country's poorest regions, collaborations with university and professional training institutions and the planning of a major school complex in Maputo.-PR
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