Yesterday at Felix Houphouet-Boigny de Port-Bouet International airport, it was exactly 4.30 in the afternoon when His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan's private jet landed and came to a halt a few minutes later in front of the red carpet. As he alighted, Prince Karim Aga Khan was welcomed by the Prime Minister, Mr. Daniel Kablan Duncan, surrounded by other officials of the state.
After greeting each individual member of the government, not to mention numerous other cadres as well as a delegation from the Ismaili community who were awaiting him in the V.I.P lounge, His Highness made a brief statement to the press, in which he expressed the desire of the Aga Khan Development Network to make "a more significant contribution not only to the development of the Ivory Coast but to West Africa in general."
The first feelings of His Highness the Aga Khan on his arrival yesterday afternoon at Felix Houphouet-Boigny de Port-Bouet were those of happiness and joy " at being back in a country that I love and that I have felt close to even well before Independence," he remarked. He expressed his gratitude to the Head of State and the government for their invitation and told them how much he and the Ismaili community were happy with the state of affairs in the Ivory Coast.
His Highness then said that with the end of the Cold War and equally with the new accords, the Aga Khan Development Network would be able to make a more significant contribution not only to the development of the Ivory Coast but to West Africa in general.
The philosophical foundation of the Ismaili community, His Highness explained " was to always invest in the development of Man and Woman. And it is this fuller notion of development that I would like to see expanded in our relationships with the government of the Ivory Coast." Since these principles, Prince Aga Khan empasized, have been successfully tested around the world, it is time to apply them in the modern world more rigorously.
Last night, the state guest of the Ivory Coast was received by the Head of State in his Cocody residence where he was invited to a private dinner. He has a busy agenda today with a series of working meetings with the Head of State, the Prime Minister and several members of the government.
Yesterday, His Highness the Aga Khan was accorded a very enthusiastic
welcome at the airport where men and women greeted him in unison, singing
and dancing the traditional "Akwaba" before he was taken to his quarters
at the Presidential Palace.
Mowlana Hazar Imam on an Official visit to Ivory Coast (French)
PRINCE AGA KHAN IN THE IVORY COAST TODAY
His Highness Prince Aga Khan, 49th Imam of the Shiah Imami Muslims braved the Ivoirian sun at 4.30 this afternoon on an official state visit which ends Thursday afternoon in Yamoussoukro. Prince Aga Khan, who undertook this visit at the invitation of the Head of State, President Henri Konan Bedie, will have a very busy visit according to the official program announcement.
A full series of working meetings is planned with the Head of State,
the Prime Minister, and members of the government specifically charged
with the economy and industrial development.
It has to be remembered that the Ismaili community, which has more than 20 millions followers in 25 countries of the world, has always contributed to significant changes in political and economic development in those countries which welcome it.
In the pure tradition of his family, Prince Aga Khan is not only pre-occupied by the spiritual growth of his followers but also with their material well being. Around the world, the activities of the community include health, education, housing, architecture, media, banking, insurance, industrial development and tourism.
In the Ivory Coast, it is IPS, the Industrial Promotion Services organization based in Cocody, which manages the affairs of the Aga Khan. Amongst these are Filtisac Jute; Filtisac Synthetics, Ivoire; Toles Ivoiral; Afribache; Cotoa; Cofi-Peche; Sofitis, Fibako etc. These activities are undertaken in partnership with the para-statals of the Ivory Coast, The International Finance Corporation, and the DEG (German Investment Aid). etc.
This explains the importance of this working visit which should be a real shot in the arm for co-operation between the Ivory Coast and the Ismaili community. And the Ivoirians, who are renowned for their hospitality, understand full well the request of the President of the Republic to accord a warm welcome to their distinguished guest, who leaves the Ivory Coast on Thursday afternoon, after laying a wreath at the tomb of President Felix Houphuet-Boigny in Yamoussoukro.
MARCH 3 - 5:
PRINCE AGA KHAN IN THE IVORY COAST
ALL AT THE OFFICIAL WELCOME.
by Abel Doualy.
After the state visits of the Senegalese President Abdou Diouf (August 11-14, 1997), and Ghanian President Jerry John Rawlings (August 21-23, 1997), the Ivory Coast looks forward to the official state visit of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, who will stay with us from Tuesday March 3 to Thursday March 5, in response to an invitation from the Head of State, President Henri KONAN BEDIE.
During his visit to Paris last September to preside over the "Ivory Coast's week in Paris," the Head of State had a meeting with Prince Aga Khan. And the two men touched on questions linked with the co-operation between the Ivory Coast and the Ismaili community, of which the Prince is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shiah Imami Ismaili Muslims.
Born on December 13, 1936 to Prince Aly Khan and Princess Tajuddawlah in Geneva, Switzerland, The Aga Khan spent his childhood in Nairobi, Kenya and then went to high school at Le Rosey in Switzerland. He was a student at Harvard University when he became Imam of the Ismailis, succeeding his grandfather Sir Sultan Mohammed Shah on July 11, 1957.
Renowned world-wide for his socio-economic activities, the Aga Khan family has created numerous projects in the Ivory Coast through IPS, Industrial Promotion Services in joint-venture partnerships with the Government of the Ivory Coast, the International Finance Corporation, (IFC, a branch of the World bank), the D.E.G. (German Investment Aid) etc. These joint-ventures include Filtisac Jute; Filtisac Synthetique; Ivoiral; Toles Ivoire, Afribache; Cotoa and Cofipeche in Abidjan and Sofitis and Fibako in Bouake etc. All these commercial enterprises are managed in the Ivory Coast by representatives of the Ismaili community, which has always enjoyed excellent relationships with the Ivory Coast nation.
Prince Aga Khan who celebrated his Silver Jubilee in 1982 is now 62 years old. It is as a distinguished guest that the Ivory Coast will welcome him on Tuesday afternoon.
One can well understand the appeal of the President of the Republic who has requested the people " to accord a warm welcome to the official guest of the Ivory Coast."
Prince Aga Khan will have a series of working meetings with numerous officials both in Abidjan and in Yamoussoukro where he will pay his respects at the tomb of President Felix Houphouet-Boigny on Thursday, according to the official program.
It is important to note that the Ismaili community in the Ivory Coast is of Pakistani origin and numbers more than 25 million followers spread over 25 countries in the world.
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