East African Community Secretariat; Arusha, Tanzania; 20 April 2016:
Construction of the Aga Khan University (AKU) is in the offing in Arusha, Tanzania and the move is viewed as a catalyst for positive transformation that will see the city expand as the intellectual, social and political hub for East Africa. The project which is part of a planned USD $500 million expansion in East Africa by H.H the Aga Khan, seeks to enroll health sciences and arts students from across the region, notably from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
In solidarity, EAC Executives paid a visit to the proposed site situated 4km from Arusha Airport on Dodoma road. The site covers 3200 acres out of which the potential area for investment rests on 1700 acres.
On behalf of the EAC Secretary General Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera, the Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Jesca Eriyo accompanied the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Rt Hon. Daniel Kidega and the East African Court of Justice Judge President, Hon. Justice Emmanuel Ugirashebuja to the Aga Khan University (AKU) site in Arusha on Wednesday 20th April 2016.
Receiving the Executives from EAC was the Director, Aga Khan University Campus Development in Tanzania, Nizar Jaffer Somji. Others were the Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Uganda, Mahmood H. Ahmed; the Project Director, Arusha Campus, Nasir Peerani; Resident Representative, Amin Kurji; Reforestation Manager, Roshan Hemani and the Community Engagement Officer, Lazaro Ole Mongoi.
In 2007, H.H the Aga Khan announced plans to build a major new University campus in Arusha. The decision to erect a new campus in Arusha stemmed from his faith in the future of the East African Region. The new development represents the biggest expansion for AKU since it opened its first campus in Karachi, Pakistan about 25 years ago.
AKU’s ambitious 15 year-plan includes a significant commitment of global resources to the East African region through the expansion of the University’s presence in Arusha, transforming EAC’s capital into a “regional intellectual epicenter“.
Before a tour of the site was a presentation on the site plan outlining some of the facilities the project will offer. These include; a primary and secondary school, a university and a university hospital, housing for students and staff, a training hotel and retail outlets.
Currently, the design plan for the construction of the project is at its final stages and execution of the design plan is expected to commence soon after its completion. On-site activities within the project include a reforestation programme which is ongoing and community engagement activities such as health camps, community based savings groups, fodder distribution among others.
In his remarks, the Speaker was impressed with the project plan and commended AKDN’s efforts to not only invest in a bid to make profit but also to benefit the surrounding population, an effort he termed as ‘humanitarian capitalism’. He remarked that the Assembly was keen to enact relevant piece(s) of legislation that would anchor the vision of the Aga Khan.
Being her first visit to the Arusha Campus site, the Deputy Secretary General Hon. Eriyo stated that she was eager to see the project materialize. Hon. Eriyo emphasized that; “The community needs to know that the project is for their benefit therefore raising awareness about the project, creating job opportunities for the youth within the project and identifying areas of co-investment and partnerships with the locals by engaging CSOs and other community based interest groups is key in order to build the capacity of the community economically as underpinned in the project’s objectives.”
The EACJ Judge President concluded with a congratulatory message to H.H the Aga Khan for the success of the Aga Khan Foundation projects so far, adding that the EAC is highly committed to offer as much support to ensure that the upcoming project is a success for the benefit of future EAC generations.
His Highness the Aga Khan, Chancellor of the Aga Khan University, reviewing the master plan and design for a new 42-acre campus on Sam Nujoma Road which will house both the Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development serving master’s level students and an Aga Khan Academy for middle and secondary school students. – Photo: AKDN / Zahur Ramji
The Aga Khan University Board of Trustees with the Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan during their meetings in Tanzania. – Photo: AKDN / Zahur Ramji