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Gouvieux, France, 30 January 2008 – His Highness the Aga Khan, the Spiritual Leader (Imam) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), today met with Mr. Haruhiko Kuroda, President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), for discussions on joint collaboration between the ADB and AKDN. The meeting preceded the signing of an agreement aimed at expanding the partnership between the two institutions.
“A strengthened partnership between ADB and the Aga Khan Development Network provides an effective channel for supporting inclusive development in the region, especially for the benefit of the poorest and most vulnerable people in society,” said Mr. Kuroda.
The Aga Khan’s younger brother, Prince Amyn Aga Khan, who signed the agreement on the Aga Khan’s behalf, thanked the ADB for its long-standing cooperation and lauded the Bank’s efforts to adopt a new long-term strategy this year in the face of growing challenges and opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region.
Prince Amyn Aga Khan expressed confidence that the agreement will enable an intensification of the collaboration between the two institutions, thereby helping to transform the lives of many.
He added that the agreement is “an expression of our shared commitment to ensure that marginalized and impoverished areas of South and Central Asia receive the attention and support needed to alleviate poverty and to create stability in cross border areas, by connecting isolated communities, developing markets, incomes, and employment, and fostering an enabling environment.”
The joint ADB/AKDN agreement stresses the need “to find ways to undertake investments to connect the poor to the opportunities of growth and to connect services to the poor emanating from national and regional growth benefits.”
The ADB and the AKDN collaborate across multiple sectors in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India, and Pakistan. The agreement signed today reinforces the need for cooperation in sectors such as infrastructure, economic development, and human capacity building. It expresses the joint commitment of both institutions to local and regional ownership of development policies and programmes, long-term approaches to sustainable development, and investments which connect the poor to growth opportunities. Amongst the new areas for potential partnership are investments in higher education, including with the Aga Khan University and the University of Central Asia.
ADB, a major development institution in the Asia and Pacific region, seeks to foster economic growth, good governance, human resource development, and the reduction of poverty for the benefit of its developing member countries.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. The Network’s nine development agencies focus on social, cultural and economic development for all citizens, regardless of gender, origin or religion. The AKDN’s underlying ethic is compassion for the vulnerable in society. Its annual budget for social development is in excess of US$300million.
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