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  • Accelerate prosperity, a partnership between AKF and AKFED, acts as an incubator for business start-ups in Khorog, Tajikistan.
    AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer
  • When young people in northern Kenya struggle to find work and become vulnerable to drug addiction, crime and even radicalisation, the Aga Khan Foundation, with the support of the European Commission, is working with them to hone new skills, become apprentices and develop the confidence to gain employment and choose a more positive path.
    AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer
  • In Daghoni, Khaplu, Pakistan, Zarina is one of the six youth entrepreneurs that started Al-Hajra Wool Spinning Centre, after receiving the Youth Micro Challenge Award, during a week-long training on enterprise development, supported by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme.
    AKDN / Danial Shah
  • In Madagascar, school-age girls from rural families meet regularly to manage a community-based savings group that they formed with the support of the Aga Khan Foundation.
    AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura
  • A cashgora-spinning workshop in Sezhda, Tajikistan, was set up by a women's group supported by the Aga Khan Foundation.
    AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer
Economic inclusion

The issue of economic exclusion is a stark one: the number of unemployed youth globally is estimated at 71 million, with many regions recording a youth unemployment rate twice as high as adults. Of the youth worldwide who are working, 16% of these 15 to 24-year olds fall into the category of “working poor.” Over 40 percent of women remain outside of the formal financial system.

The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) therefore aims to improve the economic well-being of women and men, particularly youth. Because small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) generate 50 percent of employment worldwide, AKF is focused on increasing employment and self-employment, increasing productivity and income from producers and businesses, and enhancing access to affordable and useful financial products. AKF is also focused on increasing access to renewable energy, as 1.4 billion of the world’s people have no access to electricity, a prerequisite to business development. Much of this work is being done through Accelerate Prosperity - a new global initiative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Central and South Asia.