02 April 2004 Friday
11 Safar 1425

Aga Khan for bringing hope to Afghanistan

BERLIN, April 1: "Social and economic reconstruction must be based first on the engendering of hope and trust in new, realistic opportunities" and the need to "build for the continuity of such efforts by the beneficiaries themselves."

Addressing representatives of over 60 states and international organizations at a major conference on Afghanistan here on Thursday, the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili community, highlighted key issues for continued and enhanced progress in Afghanistan, based on the Aga Khan Development Network's extensive experience of reconstruction and development in the country and the region more broadly.

The Aga Khan said the first of the issues was the need to build vibrant civil society to help develop economic, social and cultural institutions, and the necessary enabling environment of proper legal and fiscal frameworks for the birth and growth of sustainable national institutions. Fostering and legitimizing pluralism was, the Aga Khan noted, 'a paramount challenge.'

In addition to paying continued attention to addressing basic needs, support was required, he said, for the secondary and tertiary sectors through intermediary instruments that link people's needs to national systems and institutions. Given the critical lack of needed human resources, the Aga Khan underlined that "it is continuing education, particularly for women, which is the most immediate need."

The Aga Khan announced that his network had exceeded the $75 million pledge it had announced in Tokyo in early 2002 and will by the end of 2004, together with its partners, have spent $140 million of which $80 million had come from the network's own resources.