THE Aga Khan, the spiritual leader (Imam) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, has said it is crucial to improve the economic status of professionals to cushion them from undesirable pressures including corruption.
He said professionals like journalists, teachers and nurses are critical to the stable growth of countries and to democracy but are systematically under-resourced.
He said the economic status of professionals has to be corrected for better results.
The Aga Khan was delivering the Jacques de Larosiere Lecture at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Annual meeting’s 2003 Business Forum in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, a statement issued by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Kampala said.
The Aga Khan owns, through the Kenyan Nation Group, a major stake in Uganda’s Monitor newspaper.
He told the over 2,000 delegates that “the non-economic dimensions of development often escape the attention they deserve because risk of not doing something is often underestimated.”
He called on the EBRD and other international financial institutions to “look in depth at their problems and to support non-commercial civil society institutions.
The Aga Khan called for greater support for “pluralism, recognition of people of diverse backgrounds and interests, organisations of different types and projects, different kinds and forms of creative expression.”
The Aga Khan said civil society institutions “are rarely, if ever, part of a national planning process.” He said besides funding, civil society are faced by a problem of legitimacy and absence of predictable and reliable environment.
Published on: Saturday, 10th May, 2003