A reception was hosted by the Aga Khan Development Network at the Polana Serena Hotel in Maputo, to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee year of Mawlana Hazar Imam.

Vazir Nazim Ahmad, AKDN Diplomatic Representative to Portugal and Mozambique, welcomed over 200 guests to the Serena, including the official Representative of the Government of Mozambique, the Vice Minister of Education and Human Development; President of the Supreme Court; Vice President of the Assembly; Deputy Attorney General; and the Vice Minister of Energy. The event was also attended by members of the diplomatic community, including representatives from countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. Officials of bilateral and multilateral agencies of co-operation were also in attendance.

The reception was hosted in collaboration with the Ismaili Council for Mozambique, while leaders of Jamati and AKDN institutions were present to discuss development projects, which contribute to improving quality of life in the region. Nazim Ahmad took the opportunity to deliver a speech detailing the work of the Ismaili Imamat and goals of the Diamond Jubilee year in general, and the work of AKDN in Mozambique in particular.

AKDN agencies have been present in Mozambique for a number of years, working towards achieving the considerable potential for progress and socio-economic development in the country, specifically in the areas of tourism, agriculture, education, health, civil society and infrastructure. Projects include the rehabilitation of the Polana Serena Hotel, one of Africa’s grandest colonial era hotels; and the Coastal Rural Support Programme supporting entrepreneurship and skills development in the country’s poorest northern districts. In addition, the Aga Khan Academy, Maputo has been in operation since 2013, providing an international standard of education to an increasing student body; and the Moztex garment factory employs over 500 employees, of which 90% are women, trained in-house. More recently, the Aga Khan Foundation Mozambique is managing and upgrading a vocational secondary school in the northern province of Cabo Delgado – the Agrarian Institute of Bilibiza – with over 500 students.

Mr Ahmad also explained to guests the landmark agreement to establish the global Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Lisbon, Portugal, signed in 2015. This is the first such accord in the modern history of the Imamat, and it is hoped the agreement will provide an enabling framework to bring visible benefits especially to Lusophone countries, including Mozambique.

In his remarks, the Representative of the Government of Mozambique, Professor Armindo Ngunga stated “I have the honour and privilege of taking part in the celebrations of Imamat Day during the Diamond Jubilee year of His Highness the Aga Khan … and would like to address our fraternal and cordial congratulations to the global Ismaili Community.” Professor Ngunga went on to say: “I would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation and recognition for the important contribution that the AKDN has made in our country in improving the well-being and living conditions of Mozambicans.”