HIS Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan arrives in Uganda tomorrow on the last leg of his 12-day tour of East Africa as part of celebrations marking his Golden Jubilee as spiritual leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.
“His Highness The Aga Khan is due to arrive in Uganda this Sunday, August 19, at 10:30 a.m. till August 23 when he will finish his tour in East Africa,” Mr Mahmood Ahmed, the resident representative of The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), told journalists in Kampala yesterday. The East African tour is the first in a series that will take the Aga Khan to some 35 countries.
In 1957, at the age of 20, the Aga Khan succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, as the 49th hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims who number 15 million and live in 25 countries across the world.
The Aga Khan heads the AKDN, the largest private development agency in the world engaged in economic, social and cultural development. Its annual budget for philanthropic activity runs in excess of $300 million.
According to Mr Ahmed, the Aga Khan will hold meetings with several government leaders, visit the local Ismaili community, and participate in two major ceremonies.
“He will accompany President Yoweri Museveni in a ceremony for the foundation stone-laying of the Bujagali Power Project in Jinja on Tuesday,” Mr Ahmed said. “On Wednesday, he will also lay a foundation stone for the Aga Khan Academy in Munyonyo [on the southern outskirts of Kampala].”
The Bujagali Project, the largest single investment of the AKDN worldwide, is expected to produce 250 megawatts of hydroelectric power when it is commissioned in 2010.
“Bujagali Power Project is going to wipe out the load-shedding that Uganda is experiencing today and will help to replace the other expensive sources of energy that are currently being used in the country,” said Mr Kevin Kariuki, the head of infrastructure at Industrial Promotion Services, an agency of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development.
Uganda has resorted to burning diesel to produce thermal power as a result of a biting crunch caused partly by the low levels of Lake Victoria, the source of water that runs turbines at the Nalubaale and Kiira dams in Jinja
The $50 million Aga Khan Academy Kampala, as the Munyonyo school is formally known, will be part of a network of other Aga Khan academies in Asia and Africa dedicated to expanding education of an international standard.
The Aga Khan, who is currently in Tanzania, started his regional tour in Kenya where he inaugurated the Faculty of Health Sciences of the Aga Khan University, East Africa’s first premier private medical school.
The Aga Khan spent part of his childhood in East Africa.