The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) is an international development agency dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship and building economically sound enterprises in the developing world. AKFED focuses on building enterprises in parts of the world that lack sufficient foreign direct investment. It also makes bold but calculated investments in situations that are fragile and complex.
AKFED operates as a network of affiliates with more than 90 separate project companies employing over 30,000 people, with revenues of US$ 2.3 billion in 2010. The Fund is active in 16 countries in the developing world: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Mali, Mozambique, Pakistan, Senegal, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania and Uganda.
Overview of the Aga Khan Fund
for Economic Development (AKFED)
The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED)
is an international development agency dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship
and building economically sound enterprises in the developing world. AKFED
focuses on building enterprises in parts of the world that lack sufficient
foreign direct investment. It also makes bold but calculated investments
in situations that are fragile and complex.
AKFED operates as a network of affiliates with more than 90 separate project
companies employing over 30,000 people, with revenues of
US$ 2.3 billion in 2010. The Fund is active in 16 countries in the developing world:
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
India, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Mali, Mozambique, Pakistan,
Senegal, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania and Uganda.
For more than 50 years, AKFED has made investments and operated companies
in the developing nations of Africa, South Asia and Central Asia. AKFED
seeks to create profitable, sustainable enterprises through long-term investments
that result in strong equity positions. This in turn allows AKFED to take
a “hands-on” approach by providing managerial and technical
expertise. Profits generated by the Fund are reinvested in other economic
development initiatives under the AKFED umbrella.
AKFED often works in collaboration with local and international development
partners to create and operate companies that provide goods and services
essential to economic development. These range from banking to electric
power, agricultural processing, hotels, airlines and telecommunications.
AKFED also works with governments to help promote the creation of enabling
legal and fiscal structures that encourage the growth of the private sector.
At the invitation of several governments, AKFED has helped critical industries
to make the transition to market economies through the privatisation process.
These include industries such as banking, power generation, tourism, manufacturing
and the agricultural sector, in countries as varied as Uganda, Tajikistan,
Pakistan and Afghanistan. AKFED’s approach emphasises the development
of local human resources over time, including managerial, technical, marketing
and financial skills. Other characteristics of this approach include providing
essential seed capital to launch projects in those sectors and countries
where attracting investment is difficult. AKFED takes a long-term view in
order to build viable, self-sustaining and profitable companies. It also
participates in the management of companies in which it invests with the
aim of preparing companies for broader ownership by local interests.
Promotion Building, Kenya: Industrial Promotion Building owns and manages
a portfolio of prime commercial and residential properties in Kenya including
the Nation Centre, shown here, which houses the Nairobi Stock Exchange.To
encourage the creation of strong and efficient capital markets, AKFED provides
an institutional umbrella for banks, insurance groups, and property owning
and management companies in eastern Africa, Central Asia and South Asia.
AKFED’s investments include a controlling interest in Habib Bank
Limited (HBL), Pakistan’s largest private bank (acquired through a
government privatisation programme in 2004) and the Development Credit Bank
Limited (DCB) in India. AKFED is also the founder and lead shareholder in
the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank (KICB), which focuses on the corporate
sector and on medium and long-term finance that will contribute to the growth
of the banking industry and stimulate entrepreneurial activity. In Bangladesh,
AKFED is the majority owner of a leading provider of corporate finance and
lending services to major businesses and projects.
Its holdings in East Africa include the Diamond Trust Bank, which was founded
in the 1930s in Kenya to help recycle local savings into loans for home
building and small businesses. It now offers a range of retail banking products.
The Jubilee Insurance Group provides insurance across the region. In Pakistan,
New Jubilee Insurance and New Jubilee Life offer a range of products.
out more on Financial Services
AKFED’s Tourism Promotion Services (TPS) seeks to develop tourism
potential in selected areas in the developing world, particularly in under-served
regions. It builds, rehabilitates and manages hotels and lodges that contribute
to economic growth and the overall investment climate in an environmentally
and culturally sensitive manner.
Serena Hotel: Built in 1945, amid landscaped gardens, the hotel has
undergone a complete refurbishment, through the rehabilitation of the existing
building and the addition of a completely new section.AKFED owns
and manages properties in Afghanistan, Kenya, Mozambique, Pakistan, Tajikistan,
Tanzania and Uganda, operating under the brand name Serena. Serena hotels
and lodges contribute to the local economy through the training of skilled
manpower, the reinvigoration of artisans and craft industries, and through
sensitive conservation or development of the surrounding area. This includes
placing priority on the hiring and training of local residents for employment
at all levels of the organisation.
TPS often seeks to develop properties in less-travelled areas that require
accommodation of an international standard - accommodation that supports
tourism and business development - but which often are ignored by commercial
At each hotel, the policy is to minimise the impact on the local environment
while seeking to maximise socio-economic benefits to the local economy.
In Tanzania, for example, prior to the creation of new facilities in the
country’s national parks, four environmental impact studies were carried
out. The Serena Hotel in Mombasa maintains a sanctuary for indigenous butterflies
and also works actively with local residents on a programme to protect sea
turtle nesting sites. These measures have earned the Serena hotels numerous
environmental awards. Please visit Serena
Hotels website for more information or view Tourism
Promotion Services web page.
Industrial Promotion Services (IPS)
Industry and Infrastructure
AKFED works with governments, international corporations, international
financial institutions and donors to create solutions to pressing industrial
and infrastructure needs. AKFED has invested in, and manages, over 50 industrial
project companies in Africa and Asia.
Kenya: Allpack manufactures corrugated packaging for a range of exports
including horticultural products as part of AKFED's East African regional
printing and packaging activities.In the early 1960s, a group of
companies was set up under the corporate name Industrial Promotion Services
(IPS). Each company was created to provide venture capital, technical assistance
and management support to encourage and expand private enterprise in countries
of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Growth, privatisation and a re-orientation
away from import substitution and towards export promotion resulted in adjustments
to IPS’ approach. Expansion into areas such as agribusiness, packaging
and infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa were accompanied by the need for
new investments in the emerging economies of Central Asia in the 1990s and
2000s, in particular, in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Today, IPS companies
play a vital role in local and regional economies.
One of IPS’ core operational sectors, agro-processing, includes companies
that supply goods for both local and export markets. They also play a significant
role in supporting the rural economy. In Kenya, for example, Frigoken provides
agricultural extension services to 35,000 Kenyan bean farmers. The beans
are processed and exported to European markets. Loans are provided to the
farmers by the non-profit Aga
Khan Agency for Microfinance to assist them with financial needs that
arise prior to receiving harvest revenues.
In West Africa, AKFED supplies agricultural extension services to more
than 60,000 cotton farmers, operates cotton ginneries and exports finished
products. Its social programmes offer microfinance,
and access to water to the farmers.
In addition to promoting the employment of women, these companies have
become national role models in matters of employee welfare, including the
provision of child care and health care.
AKFED works with governments, international corporations, international
financial institutions and donors to create solutions to pressing infrastructure
needs, including power generation, telecommunications and water supply services.
AKFED’s first investment in the power sector, the US$225 million Azito
Energy project in the Ivory Coast, was the largest private sector power
plant in sub-Saharan Africa. It was followed by the Tsavo Power plant in
Mombasa, Kenya’s first privately financed “open-bid” project
and the first such plant successfully constructed under an updated and more
stringent environmental law.
AKFED is also working with partners to modernise and expand a Soviet-era
hydroelectric power plant thus boosting the eastern province of Tajikistan’s
inadequate electricity supply, reducing deforestation and contributing to
the region’s economic recovery. In Uganda, AKFED is leading the US$860-million,
220-megawatt Bujagali Hydro Power Project, to produce critically needed
electricity for the country.
AKFED’s initial involvement in building telecommunications infrastructure was in Indigo, a GSM mobile phone operation in Tajikistan. In Afghanistan, AKFED determined that building communication infrastructure was critically important to the redevelopment of the country and was awarded the country’s second GSM mobile phone license. The company that was formed, Roshan, has invested over US$450 million in expanding its coverage and is market leader with over 3.7 million subscribers. Roshan directly employs more than 1,100 people, making it one of the largest private sector employers in the country. Indirectly, over 30,000 people are employed through distributors, contractors and suppliers. Find
out more on Industrial Promotion Services
Nation Media Group, founded by the Aga Khan in 1960, has its origins in
Kenya’s Taifa and Nation newspapers, which were set up to provide
independent voices during the years just preceding the country’s independence.
Majority owned and run by Kenyans, the Nation Media Group’s operations
include a growing number of English and Kiswahili national newspapers, a
regional weekly, and radio and television stations. In recent years, the
Group has expanded its operations into Uganda and Tanzania.
more on Media Services
aim of the Aviation division is to assist in maintaining the critical aviation
infrastructure in support of economic development. The division provides
investment, management and operational expertise and training. AKFED has
taken a majority stake in Air Burkina, as part of a government privatisation
plan designed to ensure the long-term viability of the airline. In 2005,
AKFED launched an airline in Mali to increase capacity in West Africa.
out more on Aviation Services
The Raha Leo Community Health Programme, a public-private partnership (PPP) between the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW), the Government of Zanzibar and the Aga Khan Foundation, serves the health needs of over 13,000 people living in Zanzibar. The programme focuses on improving the quality of general health services, introducing HIV/AIDS voluntary counselling and testing services (VCT), facilitating youth, community and school outreach programs, and piloting approaches to cost sharing in line with the Governmentâ€™s Health Sector Reform efforts.