I would like to emphasise that economic initiatives are only one part of the AKDN initiatives in Mali. We firmly believe that our social and cultural activities are just as important, and intend to have them expand substantially in the future.

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His Excellency Moctar Ouane, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation of the Republic of Mali and the Director of the Department of Diplomatic Affairs of the Ismaili Imamat, Dr. Shafik Sachedina, today signed an agreement of co-operation between the Republic of Mali, the Ismaili Imamat and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)

The agreement follows extensive discussions between His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam, (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims, President Amadou Toumani Touré of the Republic of Mali and Prime Minister Ousmane Maiga. The agreement, which recognises the AKDN as an International Organisation, will expand co-operation in social, cultural and economic development in the country. It follows an Accord for Development signed in October 2003 by President Touré and His Highness the Aga Khan.

At the ceremony which marked the signing of the agreement, the Aga Khan said:

I would like to emphasise that economic initiatives are only one part of the AKDN initiatives in Mali. We firmly believe that our social and cultural activities are just as important, and intend to have them expand substantially in the future.

An immediate initiative will be to establish a not-for-profit micro-finance agency, which will operate in the northern part of the country. We believe that micro-finance is an important vehicle in the fight against poverty and economic exclusion. We hope that our programme will bring stability and improved living conditions to many poor women and men in this country.

Mopti’s mosque is an outstanding example of the traditional Muslim architecture of the Sahel. We hope that our restoration efforts, which include an important training component, will develop appropriate restoration guidelines and solutions that will be used in other projects in Mali and in the region.

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