AGA KHAN FOUNDATION PRESENTING CREATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR SOCIAL UPLIFT

AKF consists of two main wings i.e. Aga Khan Development Network and Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development

From SHAMIM AHMED RIZVI, Islamabad
Dec 26 - Jan 01, 2006

The Aga Khan Foundation is a non-denominational, international development agency established in 1967 by His Highness the Aga Khan. Its mission is to develop and promote creative solutions to problems that impede social development, primarily in Asia and East Africa. Created as a private, non-profit foundation under Swiss law, it has branches and independent affiliates in 15 countries, including Pakistan.

AKF consists of two main wings i.e. Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development. Founded and guided by His Highness the Aga Khan, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) brings together a number of development agencies, institutions, and programmes that work primarily in the poorest parts of Asia and Africa. AKDN is a contemporary endeavor of the AKF to realize the social conscience of Islam through institutional action. AKDN agencies conduct their programmes without regard to the faith, origin or gender.

The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development is essentially an international development agency that is geared towards promoting entrepreneurship in the private sector in specific regions of the developing world. AKFED primarily focuses on building economically sound enterprises through strong equity participation combined with management and technical expertise. AKFED has a proven track record of managing several projects in a large number of sub-Saharan African and Central & South Asian countries, including Pakistan.

AKFED grew out of financial institutions founded by His Highness the Aga Khan's grandfather Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah between 1930 and 1960, including the Jubilee Insurance Company and Diamond Trust. Subsequently His Highness the Aga Khan then enlarged and expanded the scope of these institutions. AKFED was formed in 1984 in order to bring together industrial, tourism and financial services activities under a single umbrella, enabling each to benefit from other institutions with a common heritage and development ethos.

With controlling assets in excess of (US$ 1.5 billion), AKFED operates as a network of affiliates with more than 90 project companies employing over 18,000 people worldwide. The fund is active in 18 countries in developing world: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, India, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Pakistan, Senegal, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania and Uganda. AKFED also has affiliates in France and Canada that provide resources and support to the Fund's activities in the developing world.

Working in partnership with other private and international development institutions, government agencies and industrial groups, AKFED promotes projects that must meet two essential criteria; firstly, the projects must be economically viable and second, they must make a significant contribution to national development. In line with its strategy, AKFED has invested equity and contributed expert resources to build efficient, productive and socially responsible enterprises such as the First Micro Finance Bank Limited (in Pakistan) and the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank.

In its support of new projects, AKFED places greater emphasis on equity investment than on the provision of loan finance. The investment is supplemented by technology transfer and technical assistance, essential inputs in the development process. The strategy of providing equity as opposed to debt is based on the premise that in case where risk capital is involved, the level of investor commitment is higher and the potential for success is greater. Apart from its own capital commitment, AKFED also seeks foreign and local partners capable of contributing capital and expertise in the projects with an objective to promote long-term growth of national economics in the developing world. In this, regard, AKFED has joined hands with International Finance Corporation, CDC Group plc, Deutsche Investitions - und Entwicklungsgesellshaft, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Agence Franchise De Development, Proparco, and the World Bank in a number of projects around the developing world.

Under this programme following organizations are operating in Pakistn.

COMPANY

LOCATION

FIELD OF ACTIVITY

Industrial Promotion Services (Pakistan) Limited

Karachi

Development institution

Tourism Promotion Services

Karachi

Tourism promoter, hotel owner & manager. Chain of Serena Hotels comes under this category.

Habib Bank Limited

Karachi

Banking

New Jubilee Insurance Company Limited

Karachi

General Insurance

Commercial Union Life Assurance Co. (Pakistan) Limited

Karachi

Life Insurance

The First Micro Finance Bank Limited

Islamabad

Banking

In the first week of December 2005, His Highness the Aga Khan, during his visit to Pakistan, announced plans for a major expansion of the Islamabad Serena Hotel. The announcement was made at a presentation by Tourism Promotion Services, which was also attended by the Prime Minister, Shaukat Aziz. The cost of the project is estimated at more than US $ 50 million and is expected to be completed in two years.

Explaining the objectives of the Serena Hotel, the Aga Khan said that Tourism Promotion Services pays particular attention to tourism as an economic model, which not only supports foreign exchange earnings but also has an accelerator effect through increased employment at the hotel and throughout its supply chain. He added that Tourism Promotion Services plans to encourage tourism circuits in Pakistan by promoting and linking the Serena facilities in the country - Faisalabad, Quetta, Swat, Hunza and Gilgit - as well as in the region and internationally across Serena's units in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zanzibar, Mozambique and the planned units in Syria.

Under Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) programme following projects have been launched in Pakistan.

AGA KHAN UNIVERSITY (AKU)

Aga Khan University (AKU) provides post graduate training to health service professionals, teachers and managers of schools, and the development of research scholars. It was granted charter in 1983 as Pakistan's first private autonomous university. It also provides higher education and develops research pertinent to Pakistan and the developing world at internationally accepted academic standards. Its overall mandate is to promote the welfare of the people of Pakistan and other developing countries.

AKU's Faculty of Health Sciences was planned with the support of Harvard, McGill and McMaster universities. It presently includes a Medical College and School of Nursing, which are located together with their principal teaching site, Aga Khan University Hospital, on an 84-acre campus in Karachi.

AKU is rapidly becoming an international university in response to the mandate of its charter, establishing teaching programmes in Pakistan as well as abroad. At the request of regional governments in East Africa, and with the assistance of institutions within the Aga Khan Development Network, AKU has initiated nursing and teacher education programmes in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and is in the advanced stages of final accreditation by the authorities in these countries.

AGA KHAN HEALTH SERVICES (AKHS)

With five general hospitals, seven maternity homes/hospitals and 187 health centers/dispensaries, diagnostic center and community health outlets, the Aga Khan Health Service, Pakistan (AKHS,P) is one of the most comprehensive private not-for-profit health care systems in the developing world. Building on the Ismaili Community's health care efforts in the first half of the 20th century, AKHS now provides primary health care and curative medical care in India, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania and Syria.

AGA KHAN EDUCATION SERVICES (AKES)

Several of the academic institutions of AKES in Pakistan date back to the 19th century. The first school, still operational today, was established in 1905 in Gwadar, which is still in operation today. The network operates 185 schools in Pakistan. The mission of the AKES,P is to support educational development, competence, and merit through the provision of quality educational services that are both equitable and sustainable.

AGA KHAN PLANNING AND BUILDING SERVICES (AKPBS)

The Aga Khan Planning and Building Services (AKPBS) works to improve the built environment, particularly housing design and construction, village planning, natural hazard mitigation, environmental sanitation, water supplies, and other living conditions. AKPBS achieves these goals through the provision of material and technical assistance and construction management services for rural and urban areas. AKPBS plans, organizes, and finances activities and operates facilities and programmes in close collaboration with other AKDN institutions, government agencies and selected external partnering agencies.

The Aga Khan Development Network has been heavily engaged in providing humanitarian relief and support in the earthquake affected areas working in close partnership with the Pakistan government, UN organizations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, involving more than 1,000 staff and volunteers.

In addition, on October 10, 2005, His Highness the Aga Khan announced that the AKDN is making an initial contribution of Rs. 30 million (US $500,000) in support of the relief assistance being provided by the government which was matched by Habib Bank Limited, owned by the Aga Kha, with a further Rs. 30 million (US$500,000) donation towards the President's Emergency Relief Fund.

Focus Humanitarian Assistance, an AKDN affiliate, was among the first local agencies to deploy search and rescue teams alongside with the British RAPID Force team initially at Margalla Towers, in Islamabad, and then to Muzaffarabad and surrounding areas. FOCUS has carried out evacuation and relief operations in more than a dozen locations in AJK and NWFP, including some of the most remote and difficult to access areas. Managed by the Aga Khan Foundation, 4 AKDN helicopters, two of which have been deployed to Pakistan from their base in Central Asia, have carried out more than 1000 sorties, carrying more than 820 metric tons of relief and medical cargo for about 85,000 people, over 4,300 passengers (including villagers requiring evacuation and relocation, government officials, army personnel, aid workers, medical staff, and international diplomatic officials). They have delivered relief goods including 1,150 tents, and more than 23,000 blankets, and have evacuated more than 1,100 casualties from vulnerable locations.

The Aga Khan University, the Aga Khan University Hospital, and the Aga Khan Health Service, have provided emergency medical services, including specialized trauma surgery, mass vaccinations, and trauma counseling. Emergency training in basis nursing, life support, medical and psychiatric support has also been provided. More than 80 doctors, including physicians, surgeons, pediatricians, anesthesiologists, and other medical specialists are working in the disaster areas. Furthermore, 40 nurses, and teams of medical technicians, field officers, and medical students have been deployed in the disaster areas of AJK and NWFP to facilitate with the relief work. Medical and surgical supplies continue to be provided and are regularly replenished.