His Highness the Aga Khan: “As Imam of the Ismaili Muslims, I am to be concerned with the quality of life of the Community and those amongst whom it lives.”

During his Golden Jubilee visit to Madagascar, His Highness the Aga Khan met with the President of the Republic Marc Ravalomanana to review current projects of the AKDN in the region. (Photo: AKDN/Zahur Ramji)
During his Golden Jubilee visit to Madagascar, His Highness the Aga Khan met with the President of the Republic Marc Ravalomanana to review projects of the AKDN in the region. (Photo: AKDN/Zahur Ramji)

“Among other initiatives, the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) encourages economic progress in developing countries and those undergoing post-conflict reconstruction. AKFED intervenes in areas where returns on investment are drawn-out and uncertain and which many private investors consider too risky. Profits generated by AKFED are reinvested in countries where there is insufficient foreign investment, in order to shore up their national economies.”
His Highness the Aga Khan
Golden Jubilee Visit, State Banquet in Madagascar
November 27, 2007
Speech at Press Centre, Aga Khan Development Network

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His HIghness the Aga Khan addressing the guests at the inauguration of the Alltex EPZ Plant. (Photo: AKDN)
His HIghness the Aga Khan addressing the guests at the inauguration of the Alltex EPZ Plant. (Photo: AKDN)

“I also extend my warmest congratulations to the government and people of Kenya on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Kenya’s independence, celebrated a week ago. I have a vivid personal memory of being in Nairobi on the 12th December 1963, to witness that historic event. It is an anniversary, Your Excellency, that is proudly shared by Industrial Promotion Services (Kenya) Limited, the sponsor of the enterprise to be inaugurated today. For IPS, too, was born here in 1963 and has grown and matured with the nation whose private sector it had been conceived to help build.

Four decades on, it might be appropriate to pause and reflect on the purpose for establishing IPS and the other institutions that today comprise the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development or AKFED…. The Imamat is a Muslim institution with a history going back over 1400 years. As Imam of the Ismaili Muslims, I am to be concerned with the quality of life of the Community and those amongst whom it lives. Over many centuries and decades, that responsibility of the Imamat has entailed the creation of institutions to address issues of the quality of life of the time, and it today includes a number of non-governmental organisations, foundations and economic development agencies.

AKFED, the entity that oversees and invests in projects such as Alltex, is therefore neither a charitable foundation, nor a vehicle for the personal wealth of the Ismaili Imam of the time. It is a for-profit, international development agency that, because of its institutional background and social conscience, invests in countries, sectors and projects, on criteria far different from those of a straightforward commercial investor. Investment decisions are based more on the prospects for better lives for the constituencies of people that will be impacted by the investments and their results rather than on bottom line profitability. AKFED does seek to generate profits, but they are entirely reinvested in future development initiatives.

“….the Imamat’s is a holistic vision of development, as is prescribed by the faith of Islam. It is about investing in people, in their pluralism, in their intellectual pursuit, and search for new and useful knowledge, just as much as in material resources. But it is also about investing with a social conscience inspired by the ethics of Islam. It is work that benefits all, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality or background. Does the Holy Quran not say in one of the most inspiring references to mankind, that Allah has created all mankind from one soul?

AKFED is pleased to be able to contribute to improving the livelihoods of some 40,000 families in the agricultural sector here in Kenya.
His Highness the Aga Khan at the Opening of Alltex EPZ Limited at Athi River Kenya, December 19, 2003
Speech at Press Centre, Aga Khan Development Network

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His Highness the Aga Khan and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda plant a tree at the inauguration of the Bujagali power plant. (Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte)
His Highness the Aga Khan and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda plant a tree at the inauguration of the Bujagali power plant. (Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte)

“At its heart, the Bujagali project is a Ugandan project…..But this is not only a Ugandan project – it is a global project….37 different nationalities participated from around the world to make this project move forwards…..this project has not stopped at the delivery of energy. It is investing in education, it is investing in healthcare, it is investing in social development, it is investing in all those aspects which improve the quality of life of people who live within the ambit of the project. And I think this is an important lesson to be learnt, because ultimately the goal is to improve the quality of life of people in the most complete manner possible.”
His Highness the Aga Khan at the Inauguration Ceremony of the Bujagali Hydropower Project, Uganda, October 8, 2012
Speech at Press Centre, Aga Khan Development Network

Compiled by Nimira Dewji

Author: ismailimail

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