February 26, 2007

Feb. 26: 2007: Global Development

Microcredit - CIDA - Aga Khan Foundation - Taxpayer Input - Public-Private Partnerships - Transparency - Ramifications

Private Microbank

Pakistan's First Private Microcredit Bank, Reported in the Daily Star, March 14, 2002.


President Pervez Musharaf opened Pakistan's first private micro-credit bank ....

The Micro Finance Bank Ltd set up by the Aga Khan Rural Support Program with 200 million rupees ($3.3 million) and the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development with 300 million rupees-aims to provide small loans to poor people on a non-collateral basis and open 30 branches nationwide.

President Pervez Musharaf opened Pakistan's first private micro-credit bank ... saying it would help desperately poor people access seed capital and broaden government bids to alleviate poverty.

CIDA: a partner with the Aga Khan Development Network

Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM), an arm of the Aga Khan Development Network


The AKAM partners include International Finance Corporation, USAID, Canadian Internatinal Development Agency, Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW), International Finance Corporation (IFC), Norwegian Trust Fund, the Japanese Social Development Fund, the Dutch Trust Fund, the Microfinance Investment Support Facility for Afghanistan (MISFA) and the European Commission.

Microcredit sounds like a winner ... but it may be wise to check further ... to see who might benefit ... what networks ... who are involved ... whether there are any global, political, or other aspirations.

Letter: Renew support for microcredit-- "providing no-collateral credit for poor people, predominately women" -- Re: Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize Winner Calls Award 'Great News' For His Homeland, Oct. 13, 2006, National Post, October 16, 2006


[....] Microcredit has been around for decades, providing no-collateral credit for poor people, predominately women, ... 100 million people [....]

Instead of recognizing the power and potential of microcredit, CIDA is actively withdrawing support for microcredit programs [since the government changed]. In 2000, CIDA spent $78-million on microcredit, but by 2005 this number had shrunk to $23-million, less than 1% of their budget.

With the Global Microcredit Summit Campaign convening this year in Halifax, of all places in the world, PM Harper and CIDA Minister Josee Verner must announce their support for Phase II of the campaign. It is also imperative that they promise new funding that can bring Canada's support for microcredit back up to a reasonable level.

A***** R******, Windsor, Ont. [....]
What happened?

Canadian War Museum to be redeployed as centre for tolerance -- Aga Khan's Centre for Pluralism -- Peace Centre in Ottawa.


Sussex Drive a centre of pluralism after Aga Khan buys old war museum -- Philanthropist's institute to foster tolerance and understanding , Maria Cook, The Ottawa Citizen, October 25, 2006


The former war museum on Sussex Drive has been purchased by the foundation of the Aga Khan, the billionaire philanthropist and spiritual leader of the world's 20 million Ismaili Muslims. [Read on for where the foundation's interests stop and where the Aga Khan's begin. Can you find out?]

[....] non-profit, Canadian organization dedicated to fostering pluralism in developing countries.

[....] Geneva-born [....]

The Aga Khan, who has about 75,000 followers in Canada, wants to see Canada share its pluralist values globally. [I don't believe this is limited to values]

[....] "Through the development network that bears his name, the Aga Khan has contributed significantly to advancement and stability in Asia and Africa while promoting Islam as a thinking, spiritual faith that teaches compassion," said Mr. Harper.

The Canadian government previously pledged $30 million toward the centre, which was launched in 2004 -- although the location [had] not been previously announced. The initial investment by the Aga Khan Development Network was to be $40 million.

[....] The Aga Khan is already building in Ottawa. .... building on Sussex Drive to house the activities of the Aga Khan Development Network, which spends $230 million U.S. a year on international development.

[....] In Toronto, the Aga Khan ... a museum ... Islamic art, and an Ismaili community centre and place of worship.

[....] The Canadian wing of the Aga Khan Development Network is a partner with the Canadian International Development Agency on several projects in Africa and Asia.

There may be more here: Under the heading: "Oct. 30, 2006: The shoe is on the other foot now", search or scroll down to information on Pluralism, the Aga Khan and the Aga Khan Global Centre for Pluralism -- the Aga Khan on the UN , Frost Hits the Rhubarb Oct. 30, 06


Aga Khan's Dealings Stir Questions of Financial Transparency , Nov. 23, 05 (Bloomberg)

[Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan III, grandfather of the present Shah, is the one who received his weight in diamonds] The event in India in 1946 was to mark the 60th anniversary of his role as spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims and to raise cash from his followers.

Shah's grandson and successor, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV [the current Aga Khan], still collects cash from his followers, who typically tithe 12.5 percent of their income to the imam. He has chosen a quieter approach than his ancestor.

[....] Unlike the pope [Pope] ... the Aga Khan won't say how much he raises from his followers each year or break out how the money is spent. Nor will he disclose all the sources of the $325 million that his development network [Aga Khan Development Network / AKDN / AKFC - Aga Khan Foundation Canada], which has diplomatic status in 10 countries, plowed into projects last year.

What does diplomatic status enable one or an organization to do? ...Carry extra baggage? ... Go through airport lineups without all that checking? ... Why would the Aga Khan network need or have diplomatic status in 10 countries? Who grants it and why?

And he won't give performance figures for the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development SA, a Geneva-based holding company that owns stakes in 90 companies. All profits and dividends from the companies and projects are reinvested, he says.


Such secrecy about finances isn't warranted, says Jermyn Brooks, a Berlin-based director of Transparency International, a nongovernmental organization that monitors corruption and promotes accountability.

``They are engaged in the public sphere, they claim special status, they collect funds from members of the public and governments, so they should publish their accounts,'' Brooks, 66, says. ``Accountability and transparency are the other side of the coin of trust and credibility.''

[....] Private Tithes .... Any donations are accounted for, he says.

In addition to money from his Ismaili followers, the Aga Khan obtains bank loans and grants from Western governments and aid organizations to finance his empire. The Aga Khan's companies, with total sales in 2004 of $1.36 billion [....]
nondenominational network of [....]

[....] Fees [....] ``They're fee paying because in the long run, what you're trying to do is to create self-sustaining institutions,'' says the Aga Khan, a British citizen who travels with a French diplomatic passport and lives in a chateau 26 miles (42 kilometers) north of Paris.

A personal diplomatic passport? Why? Which government issues it and why? I think it is important to know this information when taxpayers' money is involved, along with complete accountability and transparency concerning how that taxpayer money is spent.

[....] `Philanthropy, Not Charity'

[....] Looting and Burning .... the development network, the Aga Khan's umbrella organization .... Roshan, the country's biggest cell-phone service company.

[....] The Aga Khan's lifestyle -- he owns stables of Thoroughbreds and races speedboats, and his second divorce is being dissected in Europe's gossip pages -- is criticized by some Muslims. ``Racehorses involve gambling, a major sin in Islam,'' says Azzam Tamimi, 50, a spokesman for the London-based Muslim Association of Britain. ``His hotels sell alcoholic drinks, which Islam prohibits. You cannot as an imam be associated with any of this.''

[....] Divorce

[....] his second divorce, from Gabriele zu Leiningen [Begum Inaara], .... first wife, British former model Sally Croker-Poole ....

James Wolfensohn, 71, former head of the World Bank who has known the Aga Khan for 20 years, says he regards him as two people. ``One is the public face, who sustains the highest standards in the developing world,'' he says. ``The other is the gossip stuff, and I have no comment on that.''

[....] Malta, Ibiza

[....] Prophet Muhammad [United Nations / UN connection through the League of Nations]

Born in Geneva to an English mother and half-Indian, half- Italian father, the Aga Khan claims descent from Fatima, the daughter of Islam's prophet Muhammad, via the Fatimid rulers, who founded Cairo in 969 A.D. They later transferred to Syria and Iran, where they were known and feared by medieval European crusaders as the Assassins.

The Aga Khan's great-great-grandfather moved the family to India in 1842 after leading an unsuccessful revolt in Iran and then assisting British officers on military campaigns in Afghanistan.

Sultan Mahomed Shah, the Aga Khan's grandfather, became imam in 1885 and served as president of the League of Nations, the doomed forerunner of the United Nations, from 1937 to 1939. During his lifetime, Indian-born Ismailis built communities in East African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania, which were also part of the British Empire.

Rita Hayworth's Stepson

[....] Shah, who was married four times, skipped his eldest son, Aly Khan, and anointed his grandson Karim to succeed him. Karim became the Aga Khan at age 20 in 1957 [....]

Educated at Switzerland's Le Rosey private school after spending World War II in Kenya, the current Aga Khan studied Islamic history at Harvard, where he earned a bachelor's degree, with honors, in 1959.

[....] Kenyan Farmers [....]

Frigoken is owned through the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development .... a French Ismaili who's a director of the fund.

[....] Aga Khan Fund

Its companies currently employ 30,242 people, he says. The Canadian car dealerships are a legacy from the 1980s, when the fund helped Ismailis settling there, he says. Poonawala declines to disclose the fund's profits, citing its status as a private company.

The Aga Khan owns all but seven of the fund's 175,000 shares, according to the Registre du Commerce in Geneva. The fund is the economic arm of the Aga Khan Development Network, which also has units covering culture and social development projects such as schools and hospitals. The network employs 20,000 people.

Note who owns the shares ... the lack of transparency ... all for the good of humanity ...

The Aga Khan, who travels the world in a Bombardier Global Express jet, declines to comment on how much of the money for his philanthropy comes from his own personal wealth and how much from followers.


Money Laundering

In ``The Memoirs of Aga Khan,'' published by Cassel & Co. in London in 1954, the present imam's grandfather wrote that he kept a ``small fraction'' of his followers' offerings for himself.

Lack of transparency got an Ismaili leader into jail in the U.S. ....

Prosecutor Stewart Robinson said Alibhai took $27.3 million out of the U.S. on a total of 33 journeys .... seven years in prison.

`Secret Religious Duty' .... deposited in London

[....] Funding Sources

The Aga Khan's followers are unable to answer detailed questions about the sources of funds for their projects. Sher Lakhani, a Canadian Ismaili manager of Geneva-based Aga Khan Education Services SA, doesn't know the breakdown of the $20 million used to build a high school in Mombasa on Kenya's coast.

Those pesky questions about accountability and transparency ... and education.

[....] Some of the money for the Aga Khan's projects comes from grants and loans from Western governments through organizations [....]

[....] World Bank, Blackstone

[....] The Aga Khan's companies borrow from commercial and development banks and raise funds from investors. In 2003, the World Bank's International Finance Corp. unit lent $7 million to help build the $36 million Serena Hotel in Kabul.

Development funds owned by the Norwegian and Dutch governments also invested $5 million each in the hotel. .... Roshan got $35 million from the Asian Development Bank ... Asian governments.

Commercial partners .... Uganda ... a $500 million hydroelectric dam ... Sithe Global ...

Risk Protection

... Aga Khan's partners ... Bracknell, England-based Cable & Wireless Plc, which owns 37 percent of Roshan. The Afghan cell-phone company ... Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development ...

In remote tribal areas ...

[....] helping vulnerable women with no male relatives: ... as sales representatives .... prepaid phone cards ...

I have found it difficult to separate the charitable endeavours from the business ones. Perhaps charity is good business. At least starting as a charitable organization may morph into a good business plan.

After the Taliban

[....] Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium .... Aga Khan Development Network .... 6,400 microloans to farmers and traders ....

Kenyan Newspapers .... Nation Media Group Ltd. .... publically traded .... 16 Kenyan companies in which the Aga Khan's fund for economic development owns stakes .... Frigoken ... Serena Hotels ...

[....] Beyond Companies .... Aga Khan Madrasa Resource Centre .... trains teachers of English.

Preschool .... meets behind the village mosque ....

On the other side of Mombasa stands a $20 million school built out of white coral-rock bricks and modeled after Andover, Massachusetts-based Phillips Academy, whose alumni include U.S. President George W. Bush and the Aga Khan's son, Prince Rahim.

You might want to re-read that last paragraph. Obviously, all is not low-end poverty style. Charity begins with ...

[....] Afghanistan to Mozambique .... build 17 more such academies from Afghanistan to Mozambique

The Aga Khan also needs to prepare the next leader of the Ismaili sect, who is to be named in his will .... Prince Rahim, 34, a director of the fund for economic development, and Prince Hussain, 31, who works on cultural projects.

... Prince Aly Muhammad, 5.

... Princess Zahra, 35 ...

[....] `More Trust'

She is the most visibly active .... questions about transparency ... financial disclosure. [....]

More: FHTR week of May 21, 2006 -- or specific post





The data compiled are from the third edition, published in 1985 in Toronto, Canada. 2. A Concise Text of History of Ismaili Imams (Gujrati). ... by author, Jazakum Allahu Khairan.

Search: Dassondh , taqiyya

The practice of maintaining records of religious taxes was finally discontinued when Aga Khan's Estate Office in India developed a serious problem with the tax departments of the newly independent Indian Government. The wealth acquired by Aga Khan III from his followers and the funds donated became a taxable item in the books of the newly formed government. [....]

Since the Dassondh money was and is collected from across the world in cash, large sums are transferred from various parts of the world to Europe. There are instances in the past as well as present, where Aga Khan's Mukhis and agents have been caught and imprisoned for illegal money laundering.

How do they carry the cash now ... if they carry any ...?

Previous Posts - related:

More on the Aga Khan Foundation - Charity

Frost Hits the Rhubarb Apr. 22, 2005 [Note: His birthplace has been corrected in the above.]

Search: Paul Martin Gives $30-million to the Aga Khan Foundation -- Charity Begins with Taxpayer $$$ . . .

Frost Hits the Rhubarb Nov. 19, 2006


Search: Aga Khan

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