April, 1992

Mawlana Hazar Imam signs accords with Governments of Uganda and Kenya, and announces establishment of AKF in Uganda

Mawlana Hazar Imam visited Uganda and Kenya for five days in April, and signed accords with the Governments of both countries on behalf of the Aga Khan Development Network.

The Accords of Co-operation for Development acknowledge the development network's contribution to development in the region over many years.

They also give the non-profit institutions of the development network certain facilities to enable them to make the best use of human and financial resources.

Mawlana Hazar Imam signed a similar accord with the Government of Tanzania last year.

The Aga Khan Development Network includes the Aga Khan Foundation, Aga Khan Education and Health Services and the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development.

At the signing ceremony in Nairobi, President Moi of Kenya commended the institutions of the development network for actively serving Kenya in the fields of education and health for more than 50 years. "They were among the pioneers who opened up their institutions to people of all races and religions long before independence, " he said.

President Moi told Mawlana Hazar Imam: "Every step will be taken to provide an enabling environment for social development organizations like yours to effectively participate in our national development."

In Kampala, Mawlana Hazar Imam also announced that the Aga Khan Foundation was opening a branch in Uganda.

The AKF, which operates in 10 countries, including Kenya and Tanzania, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

With an annual budget of 52 million US dollars, the AKF is the Ismaili Imamat's principal agency for funding social development in the Third World. Its major partners include the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Britain's Overseas Development

Administration (ODA), the Netherlands Government and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The AKF has a special interest in developing local resources to sustain social programmes. The first of its local endowment funds was created last year in Kenya, and has already obtained pledges from individuals and companies totalling three million US dollars. These funds will provide a basis for a permanent source of funding for the AKF's programmes in Kenya.

The AKF works with the Aga Khan Health and Education Services in developing new and effective solutions to problems that impeded social progress throughout the developing world.

The re-commencement of the Aga Khan Development Network's activities in Uganda follows the return of Imamat institutional properties, which were confiscated when the Asian community was expelled from the country by the former Idi Amin regime in 1972.

Mawlana Hazar Imam and President Yoweri Museveni signed a protocol in 1989 returning the properties, including religious buildings, schools, medical facilities, and industrial and commercial projects.

The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) is already actively pursuing a number of tourism and industrial development projects in Uganda.

There are also advanced plans for the re-capitalization of the Diamond Trust Uganda, with the view to converting it into a full service bank, and the injection of new capital in Jubilee Insurance Uganda.

Uganda Fishnet Manufacturers has recently been returned to AKFED, and its operations are to be expanded.

The Aga Khan Education Services which operates 300 educational institutions worldwide, are planning to develop a major complex in Kampala, consisting of secondary, primary and pre-primary schools.

The Aga Khan Health Services are part of an international health network consisting of 200 institutes and programmes, including hospitals, maternity homes, medical centres and clinics.

In East Africa, they manage four hospitals, and in Kenya, run two major community-based primary health care projects which are funded by the AKF, as well as CIDA, USAID, the Ford Foundation and Alberta Aid.

Commenting on the Aga Khan Development Network's endeavours, the Kenya Times, in a leading article entitled "A noble gesture by the Aga Khan," said Mawlana Hazar Imam "deserved commendation for his commitment to the development communities in East Africa."

It continued: "It is the Governments' appreciation of the good work that has been done by the Aga Khan network for many years that has prompted it to provide the Aga Khan Foundation (Kenya) and the Aga Khan Health and Education Services privileges normally accorded to similar international non-governmental organizations.

"Non-governmental organizations like the Aka Khan network have an important role to play in supplementing the Governments efforts in health and education."

"It is for that reason that the Government is determined to provide an enabling environment for the non-governmental organizations to carry out their work effectively."

The Kenya Times added: "It is also encouraging that the Imam is also a prime mover in Kenya's private sector, with a string of investments which have created many jobs for our people."

Source: The Magazine for Ismailis in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, South Africa, Sweden & United Kingdom

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