HIS Highness the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, is scheduled to arrive in Dar es Salaam today for a two-day visit, following an invitation extended to him by President John Magufuli.
The Aga Khan, who is also the Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), would be received in the country by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, on arrival at Terminal I at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), according to a statement from AKDN.
According to the statement, the visit would be part of a series of visits that would coincide with the commemoration of the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee -- which marks 60 years of the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslim community in the country.
The Aga Khan ascended to the Ismaili Imamat throne on July 11, 1957 at the age of 20 succeeding his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan.
In addition to presiding over the occasions, the celebration of the Shia Ismaili Muslim tradition have traditionally served as opportunities to launch or advance social, cultural and economic development projects of the AKDN activities .
These have been witnessed in hospitals, schools, universities and financial institutions that serve people of all backgrounds and faiths. The AKDN’s institutions are among Tanzania’s largest socio-economic agencies and supplement the government’s efforts on improving the lives of all Tanzanians.
Some of these have been seen on the Aga Khan Foundation’s endeavours to increase income opportunities of over 100,000 smallholder farmers and over 9,200 community based savings groups in Southern Tanzania.
The Aga Khan Health Services has the country’s top state-of-the-art hospital in Dar es Salaam, as well as five primary medical centres and eight outreach centres across the country, which have provided increased access to health for communities in rural and urban areas.
The Aga Khan University, through the Graduate School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Institution of Educational Development, has awarded over 250 Master’s degrees and educated over 3,000 trainers in the country.
In Zanzibar, the Aga Khan Trust for culture has rehabilitated the sea front Forodhani Park and engaged in conservation plans for the Old Dispensary, amongst others, while promoting culture as a ‘trampoline for change’ for development.
His Highness, the Aga Khan who is on his second leg of visit in East Africa jets in from Kampala, Uganda, where he attended the Independence Day celebration upon the invitation of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni and was decorated with the highest civilian Ugandan order - The Most Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa, The Grand Master, for his humanitarian efforts.
While in Dar es Salaam as part of his itinerary, His Highness, the Aga Khan would also meet members of the Shia Ismaili Community.