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East Africa: Aga Khan to Boost Arusha's Image 2012-07-28

Saturday, 2012, July 28
All Africa - Arusha Times
His Highness the Aga Khan and Ambassador Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of the East African Community, sign an agreement be

The Aga-Khan Development Network has joined forces with the East African Community in the new initiative to convert Arusha Region into hub for commerce, governance and intellectual exchange.

This was revealed here last week during the occasion in which the East African Community (EAC) and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) were signing a pivotal agreement to strengthen and broaden cooperation in the areas of economic, social and cultural development throughout East Africa.

His Highness the Aga Khan, the founder and chairman of AKDN and Dr Richard Sezibera, the Secretary General of the East African Community inked the agreement during a ceremony at the headquarters of the East African Community in Arusha.

The contract is designed to facilitate and accelerate development in order to bring long-term sustainable benefits for the citizens of Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, while also stipulating that AKDN and EAC should jointly work with the Government in developing Arusha region to be hub for commerce, governance and intellectual exchange.

Already Arusha serves the role as Tanzania's diplomacy capital as well as East Africa's hub for travel and tourism.

A 'new satellite city' set to be pivoted around the proposed Aga-Khan University in the Kisongo area, some 20 kilometers from the Arusha City Center, is in the works and the ambitious project will highly transform the local landscape.

Dr Sezibera emphasized the EAC's commitment to fostering cooperative agreements with regional and international organizations and development partners interested in the pursuit of EAC's objectives.

"This partnership reflects the vision articulated in the first East African Community Development Strategy in 1997 and in every successive strategy, and is consonant with our shared ambition of bringing sustainable benefits and improved quality of life to all the peoples of the EAC" He stated.

The broad partnership is also including initiatives in employment creation, income generation and poverty reduction in selected regions and sub-regions of the EAC partner states.

"It also highlights the need for improvements to standards, quality and delivery of services, particularly in the fields of pre-tertiary and higher education, and healthcare, through public-private partnerships and other collaboration," added HH the Aga-Khan.

This includes efforts to promote the expansion of the Aga Khan University as a regional university for East Africa, which will set up a number of centers or campuses in each Partner State, in addition to the establishment of the principal campus in Arusha.

"Our partnership will aim to provide equitable development through equal opportunity to the people of the East African region. Our joint programmes will aim to develop human potential and build cohesive societies that will ensure the improvement of the quality of lives of all regardless of faith or origin," maintained the Aga Khan.

Recognizing the ethnic and religious diversity of the region, the pact, according to the two parties, emphasizes on the importance of pluralism in building healthy, sustainable and prosperous societies and seeks to build on the multiple traditions of East Africa's cultures, faiths and natural habitats.

In a separate agreement also signed in Arusha last week , the EAC and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany announced a contribution of 10 million euros towards the support of the Aga Khan University's nursing and midwifery education programs in East Africa.

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