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Financial Institutions

Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

AKFED provides an institutional umbrella for a number of leading finance and insurance companies in Africa and Asia. Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah founded most of these as small self-help companies in the first half of this century. During this period, colonial financial institutions had neither the interest nor the ability to provide banking services and insurance to the small traders and farmers of the community. At the outset, most of the self-help companies were financed by contributions from the Ismaili community to mark the successive jubilees i.e. Golden, Diamond and Platinum of Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah. The Present Imam opened their services to non-Ismailis, professional zed their operations and moved them into the mainstream of national commercial life. Many of them have become major financial institutions. In India, two cooperative societies founded in the 1930s grew into one of the country's largest cooperative banks, the Development Cooperative Bank. It has now become a major private sector commercial bank, the Development Credit Bank, with AKFED and IFC among its institutional shareholders. In both South Asia and East Africa, the shares of a number of the larger AKFED companies are listed on national stock exchanges. They include commercial banks, finance houses and insurance companies. The Aga Khan Development Network's mandate in the developing world includes a particular emphasis on the well being of rural populations. In 1987, AKFED, IFC and other shareholders joined the Government of Gujrat to establish Gujrat Rural Housing Finance Corporation, which is providing finance for new housing as well as for the upgrading and extension of existing houses in Gujrat.


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