For more than 60 years, agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) offered microfinance services through integrated development programmes and self-standing microfinance institutions. These programmes, as well as others, helped start and grow 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. In 2005, they were brought together under the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM). Today, AKAM works with other AKDN agencies and external partners to help create the critical mass of development activity necessary to achieve lasting improvements in the quality of life of the poor. AKAM currently works in the following countries: Afghanistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Egypt, Syria, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Madagascar.