Public Lecture by World Bank Senior Vice President at Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe

Public Lecture by World Bank Senior Vice President at Ismaili Centre, DushanbePublic Lecture by World Bank Senior Vice President, Development Economics and Chief Economist Mr. Kaushik Basu

Dushanbe, Ismaili Center, Tajikistan April 5, 2013 – Transcript

Public Lecture by World Bank Senior Vice President, Development Economics and Chief Economist Mr. Kaushik Basu

Introductory remarks my Mr. Akbar Ali Pisnani – Resident
Representative AKDN, Tajikistan

Good morning everybody,

It is my pleasure to welcome you all this morning to Ismaili Center Dushanbe to listen to a distinguished guest Dr. Basu. While I leave the introduction of the speaker to Ms. Marsha Olive, World Bank Country Manager in Tajikistan, I would like to take this opportunity to briefly touch on the relationship between the World Bank and the AKDN (Aga Khan Development Network) and also say a few words about the Ismaili Center.

Some of you present here may already be aware, and for the information of others, let me say that the World Bank and the AKDN have a very long, ongoing working relationship with each other in a number of fields and in a number of countries. Be it in the fields of humanitarian assistance, education, culture, economic empowerment or poverty alleviation. These interventions are improving the quality of life of people where they take place. In Tajikistan the best example of this relationship is the Pamir Energy Project (I understand that there is a poster behind me). In partnership with the World Bank and the Government of Switzerland, the AKDN formed a Pamir Energy Company in 2002 to address the severe energy shortage in the country. Through a unique public-private partnership agreement with the Government of Tajikistan, the company manages all power generation, transmission and distribution facilities in the eastern part of Tajikistan. Following the rehabilitation of the system, over 80% of the population of the region now has access to electricity 24 hours a day – for the first time since the end of the Soviet era. This is a small example of how good governance model, coupled with strong partnership can bring development to the people of this country, to alleviate poverty, and to improve the quality of their lives.

Now let me say a few words about the Ismaili Center, where we are present today. This Center in Dushanbe is the fifth in the network of Centers around the world. The others are in London, Vancouver, Lisbon and Dubai. The sixth one is coming up in Toronto, Canada also. The concept behind this Center is to incorporate spaces for social and cultural gatherings, intellectual engagements, reflection, as well as the spiritual contemplation. They serve as an ambassadorial hub representing the Ismaili community’s attitude towards the Muslim faith in modern life, while extending a hand of friendship and understanding to enhance relationship among faith communities, government and civil society. A central purpose of the Center is to encourage mutual exchanges and understanding between diverse people, communities and faith and provide a space for broadening intellectual horizon and fostering an appreciation of pluralism. The extent to which this Center is being used is a good example of how this Center has met the needs of this beautiful city of Dushanbe.

Dr. Basu will be speaking to us on the challenges of extreme poverty in the global context. Let me end with a quote of His Highness the Aga-Khan in this regard: “It is my conviction that the strengthening of institutions supporting pluralism is as critical for the welfare and progress of human society as are poverty alleviation and conflict prevention. In fact all three are intimately related…. The actions to enhance pluralism have to be matched in the developing world by programs to alleviate poverty because, left alone, poverty will provide a context for special interests to pursue their goals in aggressive terms. [8] That is why I passionately view the struggle against poverty, and respect for the values of pluralism, as two of the most significant tests of whether the 21st century is to be an era of global peace, stability and progress.”

We, at the Ismaili Center, are privileged to have you here with us today, Dr. Basu, and let me thank everybody in the audience for being with us today and now give the floor to Marsha Olive, the World Bank Country Manager in Tajikistan.

Thank you!

http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/speech/2013/04/05/public-lecture-by-world-bank-senior-vice-president-and-chief-economist-kaushik-basu

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, its achievements and humanitarian works.

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