Dar es Salaam. The Ismaili community in Tanzania yesterday commemorated the 60th anniversary of His Highness the Prince Karim Aga Khan IV’s ascension to the Ismaili Imamat.
Speaking on the occasion, President of His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for Tanzania, Mr Amin Lakhani, said under the leadership of His Highness, The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), worked tirelessly in Tanzania to create various development programmes.
He pointed out that the programmes aimed at harnessing human development, imbibing innovative initiatives and creating sustainable institutions that complemented national development objectives.
“The bridge of understanding and respect that the government has accorded to His Highness and his institutions over the last six decades are indeed indelible touchstones in our belief in the nobility of partnership and pluralism toward a shared aspiration for a better quality of life for all,” he said.
He added: “I hope that the partnership between the Ismaili community and the government, remains an enduring symbol of cooperation, of diverse collaboration, representing an exciting agenda of future relationship of the Imam and this country.”
Mr Lakhani further explained that for many years the Ismaili community has had a presence in the country and their institutions had been active from the early days of Tanganyika before independence to date.
He said the historic commitment of Tanzanian Ismailis stood evident today. “For instance, on September 8, 1896, Sewa Haji determined in his last will that his assets in Bagamoyo and Dar es Salaam be used by the German Government for the betterment of the Tanganyikan people.” These assets were used for Sewa Haji Hospital, which later was annexed to the Princess Margaret Hospital, which is the current Muhimbili National Hospital.
For his part, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said the government would strengthen the partnership with The AKDN.
“To further strengthen our historical relationship, the cooperation agreement between the government and The AKDN is being reviewed for improvement,” said the PM.
According to Mr Majaliwa, the review will address both the domestic and foreign challenges as well reforms necessary to enhance mutual benefit.
Mr Majaliwa noted that since the signing of the agreement in 2001, The AKDN has been in the forefront of development in the health, education, water, and agricultural sectors.
He noted that the government would continue improving the business environment to attract more foreign investors to the country.
“You can be assured of a smoke-free investment environment, absence of unnecessary bureaucracy and above all predictable fiscal and tax policies,” he said.
The diamond jubilee is of significant importance to the Ismailis worldwide. It is a celebration of life and the continuity of the lineage of the Imam from the time of Prophet Mohammed through his cousin and son-in-law Imam Ali.
The community mounted a colourful procession in the city as part of the celebration.