For more than 60 years, various agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) have offered microfinance services through integrated development programmes and self-standing microfinance institutions. Savings groups and revolving housing loans were offered by AKDN institutions as early as the 1950s. Later, the Aga Khan Rural Support Programmes (AKRSP) in India and Pakistan made savings groups a cornerstone of their integrated approach to development. These programmes, as well as others, helped start businesses, create jobs, build homes and finance house improvements, purchase seed and livestock, smooth over the impact of unforeseen health costs and make higher education possible. Today, these programmes have been brought together under the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM).
FMFB Client Wins “Best National MicroEntrepreneur”Award
30 July 2013 - Qurban Bibi, a client of the The First MicroFinanceBank (an institution of the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance) in Pakistan, won the “Best National Micro-Entrepreneur Award Female” at the recent Citi-PPAF Micro-entrepreneurship Awards 2012 ceremony held in Islamabad.
First MicroFinance Bank Pakistan and JICA Sign Agreement to Expand Access to Finance in Pakistan
21 March 2012 - The Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed an agreement on 21 March 2012 for the entry of JICA into the shareholding of the First Microfinance Bank (FMFB) in Pakistan. JICA will invest US$ 2.23 million into the bank and become a 17.8% shareholder. JICA will also provide the bank with technical assistance.
The Arts of Darb al-Ahmar, Cairo
25 October 2011 - "The Arts of Darb al Ahmar", a catalogue showcasing the unique arts of Egyptian craftspeople who work in the district of Darb al-Ahmar, at the heart of Historic Cairo, is now available.
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Partnerships between like-minded institutions can have enormous benefits – for scaling up proven programmes, reinforcing programme elements and, not least, for sharing best practices. For example, a group that is innovative but inexperienced in scaling up a project can call on another organisation’s expertise. More
AKAM works closely with the other AKDN agencies as part of a coordinated approach that brings together many inputs and disciplines. AKAM works with the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), for example, which is well known for its work in difficult and resource-poor areas. AKF concentrates on health, education, rural development, the environment and the strengthening of civil society. A good example of AKAM and AKF collaboration is the work with the rice farmers in Madagascar. These farmers go through an AKF technical support programme before they receive loans from AKAM. There are a number of ongoing projects, particularly related to rural development, in which AKAM and AKF are cooperating. This, in many cases, involves AKF taking responsibility for social mobilisation and the provision of technical services and training, while AKAM provides financing to the same clients.
AKAM also provides microfinance services to employees and contractors of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development’s (AKFED) projects, as well as other residents in neighbouring areas. Some of AKFED’s investments are in fragile and complex environments, including economies that have suffered the effects of natural disasters, civil turmoil or war. It mobilises investment for the construction, rehabilitation or expansion of infrastructure, sets up sustainable financial institutions and builds economically viable commercial enterprises.
AKAM is in the process of building relationships with the commercial banks and insurance companies in the AKFED group. Client linkages are also being developed that will ensure any client whose business is successful and whose financial needs progress beyond the microfinance level will continue to have access to financial services from AKFED institutions when needed.
Leveraging institutional connections such as these have proven essential in creating the critical mass of development activity necessary to achieve lasting improvements in the quality of life in the 11 countries where AKAM is present.