Young women in northern Pakistan, mainly from poor and marginalised families, received training at a …

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Amin Ullah, who learnt how to operate heavy machinery, now works for the China Road and Bridge Corporation. …

AKDN / Danial Shah

Nissa, 30, attended a Youth Business Entrepreneurship Training in August 2014 and received an award of Rs. …

AKDN / Danial Shah

In Gilgit-Baltistan, the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme supports activities like electrician training that …

AKDN / Danial Shah

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Pakistan | Economic Development



Over 400,000 households have benefitted from physical infrastructure projects

Habib Bank is Pakistan’s largest private sector bank with over 1,750 branches. 

AKDN / Danial Shah

Financial Services

To encourage the creation of strong and efficient capital markets and provide essential financial services, AKFED provides an institutional umbrella for banks and insurance companies in eastern Africa, Central Asia and South Asia. It often works in collaboration with local and international development partners to create and operate companies that provide goods and services essential to economic development. These include banking to electric power, agricultural processing, hotels and telecommunications.

AKFED has also invested in insurance companies.

AKDN institutions in Pakistan have provided financial services for more than 80 years. These range from community savings groups in rural areas to the branches of the First MicroFinanceBank Ltd and two of the most well known financial institutions in the country, HBL and New Jubilee Insurance.


AKFED has investments in a variety of institutions in the banking sector. They include a controlling interest in Habib Bank Limited (HBL), Pakistan’s largest private bank, which was acquired through a government privatisation programme in 2004. The Bank, which was incorporated in 1941 in Bombay, became the first commercial bank to be established in Pakistan in 1947, and is currently the leader in the corporate banking market. HBL has over 30 million customers and total assets of over US$ 24.5 billion. A pioneer in the introduction of new products such as automated teller machines and other consumer services in the Pakistani market, HBL has over 1,680 branches and more than 2,150 ATMs globally. It has acquired more than 54,000 Konnect by HBL agents (branchless banking platform) in Pakistan.


In Pakistan, Jubilee General Insurance and Jubilee Life Insurance are amongst the top three insurers in the market. Since its establishment in 1953, Jubilee General has maintained its presence as the most prominent company launching innovative products and new initiatives in the insurance industry. It is also the first insurer in Pakistan to launch an online portal providing end-to-end solutions, complete with payment options.

Jubilee Life’s micro-insurance accounts help over 5.3 million people in Pakistan get health care, through relationships with more than 2,500 organisations across Pakistan. Jubilee Life Insurance, which also provides micro-insurance, has been a pioneer in bancassurance.

Swat Serena Hotel, Pakistan.


Tourism Promotion Services (TPS)

AKFED promotes tourism by building and managing hotels, resorts and lodges that contribute to economic growth in an environmentally and culturally sensitive manner. Operating under the brand name Serena, TPS owns and manages hotels in East Africa and Asia.

Since the early 1980s, TPS has owned and managed hotels in the mountainous north of Pakistan and has built Serena hotels in Islamabad, Faisalabad and Quetta. These hotels aim to provide a showcase and a stimulus for local architectural traditions and crafts. TPS’s mandate is to realise tourism’s potential in selected areas of the developing world. Tourism that promotes awareness of the environments of developing countries and improves appreciation of their cultural traditions can help protect those environments and traditions.

Female carpenter carving name of a coffee shop at CIQAM-Women Social Enterprise, which received machinery to improve the productivity of their carpentry product line at Village Altit, Hunza-Nagar, Gilgit-Baltistan. There are more than 80 women working at the enterprise.

AKDN / Danial Shah

Enterprise Development and Employable Skills

Rural households benefit from having a wide range of income sources that help them to manage uncertainty more successfully. Accordingly, AKRSP has supported skills development, vocational training and market development to generate employment opportunities outside the agriculture sector.

Since 2011, AKRSP has supported 27 vocational centres, 30 women’s markets and seven gem-cutting and polishing centres across Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. AKRSP’s efforts are particularly focused on women, with almost 7,850 people (80 percent women) receiving training in business management, and more than 8,000 (95 percent women) in product development.

Over 4,140 people (55 percent women) have received technical skills training and nearly 14,750 (97 percent women) in vocational skills training. The Government of Pakistan, Trocaire and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Islamabad supported this work to increase opportunities for employment and self-employment in the non-farming sector and to raise household incomes.

Accelerate Prosperity

Accelerate Prosperity, a joint venture of AKF and AKFED IPS, provides technical expertise, creative financing solutions and market connections for small and growing businesses in Central and South Asia.

It inspires entrepreneurship, facilitates innovative business models, coaches promising entrepreneurs, creates networks and mentorship opportunities, offers early-stage financing and accelerates business growth. These companies then provide employment, contribute to economic development and have a positive social impact.

The Future of Work

This initiative helps youth develop the vocational skills aligned with the needs of their local and national labour markets. It builds links to youth skills development and poverty alleviation schemes, and encourages entrepreneurship. The initiative also builds employer coalitions, introduces remote work models, supports co-working spaces and establishes digital infrastructure, including technology parks.

Shabana Khatoon is the supervisor of the Community Based Saving Group (CBSG) of women in Haramosh Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan. Her main task is to mobilise women, arrange monthly meetings and encourage them to save more. She plans to open first ever ladies shop and beauty parlor in her village.

Financial Inclusion

Many people in AKRSP’s programme area face considerable challenges in accessing relevant and affordable financial services. Over the past 38 years, AKRSP has addressed this issue and worked to improve financial inclusion in a variety of ways.

AKRSP reduced its direct involvement in credit and savings when the First MicroFinance Bank, part of the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM), was established in 2002. However, in an effort to reach populations still underserved by formal financial services, AKRSP supported the formation of community-based savings groups (CBSGs) in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. To date, 573 CBSGs have been formed as part of a wider initiative to reduce financial barriers to accessing health services. The groups, with 15,346 members (60 percent women), have generated more than US$ 18,000 in savings that is available for internal lending to group members. AKRSP plans to extend CBSG coverage across its programme area.

Shaghor micro hydel project, an AKRSP project that will improve the supply of electricity, Chitral, Pakistan.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Productive Physical Infrastructure

In profoundly isolated and remote reaches, physical infrastructure can have a transformative effect on the quality of life. Over the past three and a half decades, AKRSP has supported over 3,900 infrastructure projects that have benefited over 400,000 households.

These include 2,268 irrigation channels and 930 land development projects, 766 link roads and bridges, and other projects related to water supply, energy and social sectors. AKRSP is increasingly using the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism to support infrastructure development and maintenance.