Bamako, Mali, 13 October 2003 - His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims yesterday concluded his four-day official visit to Mali with the signature of an agreement under which the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) will work towards launching new initiatives in the country.
The agreement, signed by the Aga Khan and President Amadou Toumani Toure, follows extensive discussions that the Aga Khan held with the President as well as with Prime Minister Ahmed Mohamed Ag Hamani and senior Ministers. It also follows visits by the Aga Khan and the Prime Minister to Timbuktu, Djenne and Mopti to see at first-hand, challenges and opportunities to which the AKDN might be in a position to respond.
The Aga Khan was received by the Imams of the Djingereiber Mosque in Timbuktu, the Great Mosque of Djenne and the Mosque of Mopti, and had the opportunity to speak to ulema in Timbuktu and Djenne. In Timbuktu, he also had an opportunity to view the manuscript collection at the Ahmed Baba Centre and to observe the process of digitising these valuable treasures. In Mopti, the Aga Khan had a brief tour of the Medical Complex that was a recipient of one of the Aga Khan Awards for Architecture in 1980.
Whilst in Bamako, the Aga Khan was received at the Fondation de l'Enfance by the First Lady, Mme Toure Lobbo Traore and visited the Hôpital Mère et Enfant Le Luxembourg. He also attended the inauguration of the National Museum of Mali by President Amadou Toumani Toure.
During his stay in Mali, the Aga Khan, accompanied by the Minister for Economy and Finance, Mr. Bassari Toure and the Minister for Industry and Commerce, M. Choguel Kokala Maiga, visited the Embalmali packaging plant and its pioneering health centre.
The agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network have for four decades contributed towards an improvement in the quality of life in specific sectors of activity across the West African sub-region. In addition to pioneering investments in industrial enterprises in the packaging, agroprocessing, infrastructure and aviation sectors, the Network's agencies have been active in recognising architectural excellence and in providing exemplary support services to both urban and rural populations. The Network's West African presence includes operations in Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali and Senegal.
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The Aga Khan Development Network is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies and institutions that seek to empower communities and individuals, often in disadvantaged circumstances, to improve living conditions and opportunities in specific regions of Africa and Asia. Active in over 20 countries, the Network's underlying impulse is the ethic of compassion for the vulnerable in society and its agencies and institutions work for the common good of all citizens, regardless of origin, gender or religion.