Referring to “exploratory work for investments in telecommunications and in tourism,” the Aga Khan saw these as “stimulating a multiplicity of ancillary industries at the same time as serving an urgent need in the hospitality industry.” A major national initiative in micro-credit to promote entrepreneurship and build capital is under consideration with the possible involvement of the International Finance Corporation.

“[I]n each of these areas where we feel the greatest need for capacity building, we have been extremely conscious of the fact that opportunities must be created for women. This is why we are targeting women as major beneficiaries with regard to the income generation activities related to agriculture, the training of nurses, the professional education of teachers and for receipt of micro-credit.”

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His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and Mr. Hamid Karzai, Chairman of the Interim Authority of the Government of Afghanistan, today signed an Agreement of Co-operation for Development that establishes an operating framework for the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Afghanistan….

The urgency of restoring peace and domestic security and facilitating the re-integration into civil society of former combatants. The imperative of putting in place permanent, competent, transparent and accountable institutions that will build confidence, foster development and strengthen democracy. …

In outlining specific initiatives, the Aga Khan indicated that rural development designed to promote food security and begin the revitalisation of Afghan agriculture was a top priority. The establishment of village organisations to undertake and manage local infrastructure projects such as irrigation works, village roads, schools and clinics will be central to the long-term sustainability of these efforts. The AKDN’s programmes in Bamyan, Baghlan and Badakhshan provinces currently benefit some 500,000 people. These programmes will be expanded and technical missions sent to the provinces of Takhar, Kunduz and Parvan/Kapisa to initiate similar programmes.

Joining Chairman Karzai at the launch of the “Back to School” initiative led by UNICEF, the Aga Khan expressed the hope that this campaign would “serve as the foundation for propelling Afghanistan into a new world of peace, development, social harmony and pluralism.” The Aga Khan announced that the AKDN would provide significant support to the Pedagogical Institute in Kabul and to other pedagogical institutes across the country. He also outlined the Network’s plan to assist rural communities to build their own schools “so that education can become a right for all children whether they live in the cities, or in the valleys or in the mountains.”

During his visit to Kabul, the Aga Khan also saw some of the destruction of the past two decades.

The AKDN also proposes to use the resources and experience of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in improving urban environments around sites of historic interest through specific restoration projects. Amongst the sites we are examining, are Babur’s Garden and the surrounding area, as well as the Mausoleum of Timur Shah and the area adjacent to it.

Referring to “exploratory work for investments in telecommunications and in tourism,” the Aga Khan saw these as “stimulating a multiplicity of ancillary industries at the same time as serving an urgent need in the hospitality industry.” A major national initiative in micro-credit to promote entrepreneurship and build capital is under consideration with the possible involvement of the International Finance Corporation.

The Aga Khan underlined that:

[I]n each of these areas where we feel the greatest need for capacity building, we have been extremely conscious of the fact that opportunities must be created for women. This is why we are targeting women as major beneficiaries with regard to the income generation activities related to agriculture, the training of nurses, the professional education of teachers and for receipt of micro-credit.

The announcements by the Aga Khan follow on recommendations made by missions that have been conducting extensive surveys across the country during the two months since the announcement at the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan in Tokyo, of a multi-year commitment of US$75 million by the AKDN.

SOURCES

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