Dar es Salaam. The founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, His Highness the Aga Khan, yesterday told President John Magufuli that his network will expand the Dar es Salaam Aga Khan hospital and build a university in Arusha.
The activities, he noted, would be part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) contribution to government’s efforts to bring development to Tanzanians, a statement released by the State House on Wednesday said.
His Highness the Aga Khan, who held talks with President Magufuli at State House in Dar es Salaam soon after arriving in the country yesterday for a two-day visit, said the expansion of the Dar es Salaam Aga Khan Hospital would see an increase in the number of beds from the current 72 to 172.
The visit of His Highness the Aga Khan to Tanzania is the first since Dr Magufuli became President in November 2015. It is part of a series of tours that coincide with the commemoration of 60 years of the Aga Khan’s spiritual leadership of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim community.
“We will also improve the cardiovascular and oncology departments at the hospital to be able to offer more and better treatment. This will go hand in hand with bolstering medical training,” His Highness the Aga Khan told President Magufuli.
The university to be built in Arusha, he further told President Magufuli, will train African leaders so as to improve their capacity to serve the continent better,” His Highness the Aga Khan said.
During the talks, President Magufuli praised His Highness the Aga Khan for the contribution of the AKDN in the socioeconomic development of Tanzania. President Magufuli also said his government would be ready offer assistance and cooperation to AKDN whenever asked.
“President Magufuli also requested His Highness the Aga Khan to consider investing in Dodoma, which is Tanzania’s new capital,” the statement from the State House read in part.
The statement added: “President Magufuli has also asked AKDN institutions, especially those offering health and education services, to find ways of reducing service fees so as to be more affordable and accessible to low-income earners.”
Speaking to reporters after the talks, His Highness the Aga Khan said he had also discussed with President Magufuli the role African media should play in pushing for the development of the continent.
“It has been a tradition, which has come from outside Africa, to use or develop political news as prime material for communication. That is really wrong. Media has a much wider role particularly in the developing world,” he said.
“We need professionalisation in the media field. We need people who can comment on medicine, economics, religion, politics, constitutionalism; all these issues,” he added.
Today His Highness the Aga Khan is expected to lead a religious ceremony at the Diamond Jubilee Hall that will be closed to the media.