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  • His Highness the Aga Khan speaking at the 2014 London Conference on Afghanistan.
    Patrick Tsui / FCO
Aga Khan urges support for civil society at Afghanistan Conference

London, United Kingdom, 4 December 2014 – His Highness the Aga Khan on Thursday (December 4th) reaffirmed the Aga Khan Development Network’s commitment to Afghanistan and emphasised the importance of civil society in securing the country’s prosperous future.

“An effective enabling environment for civil society should seek to foster meritocracy, ethics and mutual accountability,” he said.

The spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims made the remarks in a brief address to the “London Conference on Afghanistan,” which was co-hosted by the governments of the United Kingdom and Afghanistan. 

The Aga Khan welcomed the Afghan government’s reform agenda and its focus on civil society. “For the Ismaili Imamat and its Aga Khan Development Network, or AKDN as it is known, it is fundamental that the construction of civil society has been chosen as a national development priority in the Government’s reform agenda,” he said.

AKDN began working in Afghanistan in the late 1990s, providing a range of forms of assistance, investments and programmes, drawing on several decades of experience in the wider region. Since then, AKDN’s engagement has become a deep-rooted one, focusing on support to institutions and systems, particularly through public-private partnerships, as well as equitable access to, and quality of, social services.

In his speech the Aga Khan stressed AKDN’s long-term, multi-sector approach to development: “We have established long-term institutions in the region, including schools and hospitals, banking institutions, leisure facilities, and telecommunications. We are pleased to announce further innovations, including in cross-border hydropower, mobile banking, tele-medicine, and support to small and medium enterprises to serve even the most marginalised populations,”he said.

The Conference was attended by representatives from more than 60 countries, as well as NATO, the European Union, the United Nations, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank as well as private sector and civil society leaders.

For more information: Sam Pickens
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Notes to Editors

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)  is a private, international, non-denominational development organisation, which is active in 30 countries and employs over 80,000 people globally. Its agencies address complex development issues, including the provision of quality healthcare and education services, cultural and economic revitalisation, micro-enterprise, entrepreneurship and economic development, the advancement of civil society and the protection of the environment. For more information, please see: