Accelerate Prosperity (AP), an initiative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and Australia’s Market Development Facility (MDF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to synergise their efforts in boosting private sector growth sectors that can act as a catalyst to economic growth of the region.
Abdul Malik, Global Lead Economic Inclusion, Aga Khan Foundation Geneva, Akhtar Iqbal, CEO Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan, Imran Shams, AP Country Manager, Luke Bostian, Director, Policy and Partnerships, Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan, Waqar Abbas Deputy Country Manager AP, Dave Preston, Secretary Development Cooperation from the Australian High Commission (AHC), Hamza Khalid Program Manager Economic Growth, Water and Market Development, AHC, Jamal Khan, MDF Country Director, attended the signing event.
Through the signing of this MoU, AP and MDF jointly aim to provide business support services in the shape of financing and technical assistance to sustainable businesses. This can improve access of rural households to inputs, better practices, and market connectivity in high value horticulture, dairy, meat, wool, leather, water and energy value chains in Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral.
“A mutual understanding of both the parties will contribute in promoting public and private partnerships to develop an improved business environment in the regions,” said Imran Shams.
Within the Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral region, AKDN has a deep-rooted presence, and has been engaged with different development, private and public stakeholders over the past decades to improve quality of life in the region. Since 2013, MDF has actively worked with the private sector in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral to provide access to quality inputs, connections to markets and information on weather, crop and livestock management practices to smallholder farmers.
Speaking at the occasion, MDF Country Director, Jamal Khan said: “This is a great initiative to build synergies between MDF and Accelerate Prosperity and partner with innovative, sustainable businesses to create employment and income-earning opportunities in these regions.”
Dave Preston mentioned that such partnerships are a good example to bridge the gaps between investors, government, donors and entrepreneurs, and spur dialogue between stakeholders in the private sector.
AP’s mandate is to facilitate the creation of sustainable small and medium enterprise (SME) by promoting entrepreneurship and creating space to facilitate more appropriate technical expertise, mentoring and facilitating the creation of financial solutions.MDF is the Australian Government’s private sector development program in Pakistan. MDF Pakistan team work with businesses and associations to create more opportunities for communities in the sectors of dairy, meat, leather and horticulture.Since 2013, MDF has partnered with 54 private businesses. Ithas also expanded into water and energy and also plans to focus more on policy and advocacy in the future. MDF wants to expand its portfolio in the regions of Sindh and Balochistan with the opening of an office in Karachi.