Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:59 am Post subject: Institutional Activities in Tajikistan
15 January 2009 Asia-PLUS Daily Blitz
KHOROG, January 15, 2009, Asia-Plus /Shonavruz Afzalshoyev/ â€” In 2008, the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme (MSDSP) implemented 67 social engineering projects in Gorno Badakhshan alone, the engineering projects program manager Khujamiyor Khumorikov said in an interview with Asia-Plus. According to him, among them 15 small irrigation projects aimed at promoting development of new lands as well as constructing small hydropower plants, eight projects for building and repairing roads and bridges, 13 projects for building and repairing education facilities, two projects aimed at promoting enhancement of local health sector, six projects for enhancement of culture sector, etc. The projects implemented by MSDSP have been funded mostly by the Swiss International Development Agency (SIDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture Department (EDNP), Khumorikov said.
MSDSP is a locally registered organization and a non time-bound project administered by the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in Tajikistan. MSDSP works in several areas in rural development, spanning community development, enterprise development, natural resource management, engineering and policy and evaluation, all of which are explored below. The Program currently operates in 18 districts in three regions of Tajikistan, with a target population of more than 730,000 people.
Last edited by Admin on Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total
Tajik trade chamber, Aga Khan Foundation programme sign cooperation accord
March 24, 2009
Posted by ismailimail in Aga Khan Foundation, Asia, Tajikistan.
20 March 2009 BBC Monitoring Central Asia
Excerpt from report by privately-owned Tajik Avesta website on 20 March
Dushanbe, 20 March: A ceremony to sign a cooperation agreement between the Tajik Chamber of Commerce and Industry [TCCI] and the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme (MSDSP) of the Aga Khan Foundation took place in Dushanbe yesterday.
A source in the TCCI’s press centre told Avesta that the agreement had been signed by the chairman of the TCCI, Sharif Said, and the general manager of the MSDSP, Kishvar Abdulalishoyev.
Sharif Said thinks that in conditions of the global financial crisis the role of small and medium-sized businesses is becoming decisive in developing trade and economic cooperation.
“It is happening because of the fact that small and medium-sized enterprises adapt to market conditions more easily, they are less bureaucratic and more responsible for products they manufacture,” the TCCI’s chairman thinks.
For his part, Abdulalishoyev expressed his satisfaction with joint efforts made by the TCCI and the MSDSP programme to support small and medium-sized business.
Source: Avesta website, Dushanbe, in Russian 0934 gmt 20 Mar 09
March 26, 2009
Posted by ismailimail in Aga Khan Foundation, Asia, Tajikistan.
25 March 2009 Asia-PLUS Daily Blitz
DUSHANBE, March 25, 2009, Asia-Plus /Mavjouda Hasanova/ — Tajikistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) and the Mountain Societies Development Support Program (MSDSP), a locally registered organization and a non time-bound project administered by the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in Tajikistan, signed a cooperation agreement on March 19, according to the CCI press service. The agreement was inked by the CCI head Sharif Said and the MSDSP general manager Kishvar Abdulalishoyev. Speaking at the agreement-signing ceremony, he CCI head noted that under the conditions of the global financial crisis a role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in expansion of trade and economic cooperation was becoming decisive. According to him, this is conditioned by the fact that SMEs respond quicker to market opportunities.
For his part, Abdulalishoyev expressed satisfaction with joint efforts taken to support development of SMEs in the country and noted that the MSDPS was dedicated to support development of mountain areas in Tajikistan, the press service said. The agreement reportedly provides for joint measures to organize training, workshops, business conferences, etc.
Tajikistan relies on Aga Khan Development Network in social programs implementation
7 May 2009, 13:21
CA-NEWS (TJ) - Tajikistan is counting on support of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in implementation of social program to support poor families and vulnerable population.
Last Wednesday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan Hamrokhon Zarifi met with the Permanent Representative of AKDN in Tajikistan Munir Merali, reported the Information Department of Tajikistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"During the meeting Zarifi shared experience of projects implementation and highlighted importance of their role for the country in light of the financial crisis. Zarifi highly assessed variety of AKDN's activities in various spheres of social life. Tajikistan accounts on AKDN in implementation of social programs, particularly projects aimed at support of low-income families and vulnerable segments of population," reported the Ministry.
Mirali noted that "in spite of the financial crisis the organization intends to continue implementation of projects in education, health and humanitarian spheres."
During the meeting the parties noted on intensification of bilateral cooperation in education, tourism and transportation development as a priority need. "The noted on a need to seek for effective implementation of projects," noted the Ministry.
During the meeting revitalization of "Serena" five-star hotel construction in Dushanbe was discussed as well.
Aga Khan Foundation’s MSDSP Builds Dormitory for Orphanage in Rushan
May 18, 2009
Posted by ismailimail in Aga Khan Foundation, Asia, Tajikistan.
15 May 2009 Asia-PLUS Daily Blitz
KHOROG, May 15, 2009, Asia-Plus /Shonavruz Afzashoyev/ — A new building of dormitory for orphanage in GBAO’s Rushan district, which is currently house for 80 orphan children from the whole region, was put into commission yesterday. Speaking in an interview with Asia-Plus, the orphanage chairperson, Ms. Kaboudsor Amaldodova, said the new dormitory would allow them to accept more vulnerable children. According to her, there are more than 1,700 orphan children in Gorno Badakhshan; 115 of them have neither father nor mother. The new dormitory has been built by the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme (MSDSP) with support from foreign sponsors. The engineering projects program manager Khujamyor Khujammyorov told Asia-Plus that foreign sponsors had provided 300,000 U.S. dollars through the Great Britain national Zarrina Heraj (phonetically spelled).
He added that earlier, the center for rehabilitation of children with limited opportunities in Khorog, school in Shugnan district and kindergarten in Darvoz had been built with support from Ms. Zarrina Heraj. MSDSP is a locally registered organization and a non time-bound project administered by the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in Tajikistan. MSDSP works in several areas in rural development, spanning community development, enterprise development, natural resource management, engineering and policy and evaluation. The Programme currently operates in several regions of Tajikistan.
PamirEnergy – Customer Service Center Opens in Khorog
May 25, 2009
Posted by ismailimail in Aga Khan Foundation, Asia, Tajikistan.
25 May 2009 Asia-PLUS Daily Blitz
KHOROG, May 25, 2009, Asia-Plus /Iftikhor Mirshakar/ — A new center for serving customers of the Pamir Energy Company (PamirEnergy) was opened in Khorog, the regional center of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region on May 22. Speaking at the center-opening ceremony, the PamirEnergy Director General Daler Jumayev noted that the company’s customers now had an opportunity to apply to the center on all issues related to power supply. The center is provided with up-to-date equipment and 12 trained specialists, working with the center, are available to answer the queries of the visitors of the center, he said. The ceremony was attended by Deputy Governor of Gorno Badakhshan Ibroimbek Ghozibekov, CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in Tajikistan Yodgor Fayzov, representatives from local authorities, international organizations and media. The PamirEnergy director general noted that the company has yielded positive results in providing the region with electrical power in recent years.
During last year and over the first four months of this year alone, a number of important projects have been implemented. Jumayev added that the GBAO electricity debts had reached 3.5 million somoni. Khorog accounts for 70 percent of the overall amount of electricity debts in the region. According to the GBAO economy and antimonopoly policy directorate, PamirEnergy has generated electricity for 4.677 million somoni over the first quarter of this year. Current electricity prices in Gorno Badakhshan are 2.47 cents per 1 kWh for residential customers and 4.55 cents for organizations. PamirEnergy, which is 70% owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) and 30% by the World Bank’s private finance division, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has a 25 year concession on the assets formerly under the management on Barqi Tojik (Tajik electric systems) in GBAO. In exchange for this concession (management right), PamirEnergy invests in completing the Pamir hydropower station, rehabilitating power generation, transmission and distribution assets, and improving the management of the company.
New market constructed in Khorog with the help of Aga Khan Foundation
Posted: 25 Jul 2009 06:37 AM PDT
20 July 2009 Asia-PLUS Daily Blitz
KHOROG, July 20, 2009, Asia-Plus /Shonavruz Afzalshoyev/ —
A new market was opened in Khorog, the capital of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (Gorno Badakhshan or GBAO) on July 17. The market, built by local limited liability enterprise, Silk Road, is intended for 600 shops.
According to Aydibek Bekmurodi, one of managers of Silk Road, construction of the market began on the bank of the River Ghund four years ago. He added that the Aga Khan Foundation had provided funds for completing riverbank reinforcement works and beginning the construction of the market. In all, some 1 million US dollars have been spent for construction of the market, Bekmurodi said. “In the future, we plan to build warehouses and workshops for production of various building materials, hotel and consumer services center at the market,” the Silk Road manager said, noting that the market would provide more than 1,000 jobs.
“The Roof of the World” festival opens in Khorog
Posted: 25 Jul 2009 06:57 AM PDT
24 July 2009 The Times of Central Asia
DUSHANBE, July 24 (TCA) — A two-day cultural-ecological festival, entitled “The Roof of the World,” will be held in Khorog, the capital of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (Gorno Badakhshan or GBAO) on July 25-26.
Organized by a number of local public associations and international organizations active in Tajikistan, the festival will bring together representatives from Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.
The festival organizers include the public association Amesha Spenta, the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS), German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme (MSDSP) of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), De Pamiri Handicraft, the Christensen Fund, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the University of Central Asia (UCA), as well as a number of public associations and neighborhoods of Khorog.
The festival is held in Gorno Badakhshan for the second time and the theme of this year’s festival is “Culture and Nature Are Foundations of Our Life.”
The De Pamiri Handicraft manager Yorali Berdov said in an interview with Asia-Plus that folk groups from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan would participate in the festival that would be held in the Khorog Central Park. “The Shashmaqom Academy from Dushanbe, known Tajik singer Daler Nazarov and folk groups from Gorno Badakhshan will represent Tajikistan in the festival,” Berdov said.
Besides, MSDSP and GTZ will organize a joint exhibition, entitled “Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Gorno Badakhshan,” on sidelines of the festival. They will put on display their activities in sectors like power efficient technologies and sustainable management of forests and waters. “The main objective of the exhibition is in showing how people may rationally use natural resources in order to improve their living conditions during the period of global climate change,” the De Pamiri Handicraft manager said.
Handicraftsmen from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will put on display their outputs at the fair in Khorog. An exhibition of traditional clothes and dishes, children’s drawings and works by local painters will also be held on sidelines of the festival.
In parallel, documentaries about traditions of peoples of Central Asia, featuring diversity of cultures in the region, will be shown in Khorog.
“The main objective of the festival is in developing cultural exchange between the peoples of the region and sharing our wealthy traditions by means of music, art and dance,” said Berdov, “The festival emphasizes the importance of cultural ties and sustainable management of natural resources and it will promote preservation and development of traditional art and increase in the general ecological awareness among the population.”
According to the festival organizers, it will be held in Gorno Badakhshan every year.
TAJIKISTAN: IN REMOTE BADAKHSHAN, COMMUNITY FUNDS SPEARHEAD ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE
David Trilling 9/18/09
Isolated from the rest of Tajikistan, with their own dialect and religious traditions, the people of Badakhshan have long complained of being ignored by the central government in far-away Dushanbe.
But the Pamiris, as they are called, are not sitting by idly and bemoaning their considerable economic difficulties. The region is the home to a vibrant network of village organizations in which democratic principles govern the use of community-raised funds and public spending.
The 1990s civil war hit this isolated area particularly hard. Pamiris were targeted in security sweeps, and the region found itself economically isolated. State support vanished. Many locals -- of all ethnic groups -- say they managed to endure due to the charity of the Aga Khan, the religious leader of the region’s predominant Ismaili population. His network of development organizations started with handouts but soon began supporting locally-led village organizations (VOs), initially set up under the Mountain Societies Development Support Program (MSDSP).
The village organizations are bringing about stark changes in the way local communities function, said Aziz Gayosov of the local Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Committee (ITREC), an international body that helps supervise Ismaili education and religious instruction. "We lived in the society where all things were provided by the government; we didn’t need anything; everything came from the state. But now, this transformation period from the socialistic system to this capitalistic one marks a new way of life. You are in charge of your life. The state is there to make the laws, but people themselves must think about how to change their lives for the better," he said. "The government isn’t able to do very much for us, so we have to take care of ourselves."
"Now, communities understand what is a civil society, that you have to be involved in the betterment of your life," Gayosov added, describing how his own small organization of 23 families in his urban apartment block helps neighbors purchase plane tickets to go work in Moscow and carries out repairs of the building’s leaky roof.
Today, Badakhshan’s provincial capital Khorog - a town where strangers greet each other warmly with a soft "asalaam aleikum" ("peace be upon you"), a smile, and a hand over the heart - is enveloped in calm, a far cry from the palpable social tension in other Tajik cities.
"The village organizations bring people together. People know they belong to a community and that there is someone on whom they can rely," said Misrinamo Odinaeva, a volunteer accountant for the village organization in the Pastchid District of Khorog. In her neighborhood, 40 families contribute two somoni each per month - less than 50 cents - into the fund for various local development and charity projects.
"One of our neighbors had a spinal problem and became paralyzed. We gave him 400 somoni [$91] to send him to Dushanbe for an operation. We gave this money as charity. If he can, he should give it back, but it is not required because he is from a poor family," she noted.
This is not an exception. Many of the village organizations provide aid for their neighbors, says Mirzo Mirzoev of MSDSP.
MSDSP helped VOs establish budgets with seed funds. It also has provided advice on how villagers can pool their resources and lend at low interest rates, according to Mirzoev. "In order to increase the funds, VOs give credits at 2 or 3 percent, which goes back into the fund," he added.
Small-scale loans have helped many Pamiris open up economic possibilities, or to get through hard times. For example, Saodat Shasovbekova, a schoolteacher in the village of Tavdem, recounted how her husband became ill and was unable to work. She said she could not support her family on her meager teacher’s salary of 260 somoni ($60) per month. "I was unable to buy anything for my children, so I got a credit and bought books, stationary, clothes." When her husband regained his health, they paid the money back.
"When we started [a VO fund], many young people got money as a credit and used it to go to Moscow [to work]. After one or two months, they sent the money back with 3 percent interest. People are usually borrowing for six months or one year," added Shasovbekova. The VO she belongs to comprises 103 families that each contributes 2 somoni per month to the general fund.
Another vital role played by VOs is in helping to maintain and develop local infrastructure. For example, the regulation of limited water supplies is essential to livelihoods of many rural communities in Badakhshan. There, water is often channeled many miles along hillsides, cascading into alluvial terraces tended for generations by the same dedicated families. The scarcity of arable land in the mountainous region leaves villagers at the mercy of frequent avalanches. Tending to the ancient canals - or sometimes pipes - presents constant challenges.
"We bring our water from another village with a pipe. During the springtime, an avalanche broke it and so from this [VO-fund] money we bought new pipes," Shasovbekova explained.
In Islamic societies, usury is often seen as taboo. But the Ismailis have responded to changing circumstances by being doctrinally flexible, according to a local Islamic scholar who asked not to be identified. Islamic banking principles "are not as rigid as people in the West imagine," the scholar explained. "According to Shar’ia law, interest can be allowed if it is used for good things. It goes to the poor. Such interest does not go against the faith. For example, it doesn’t go to building a lavish life, it goes to the benefit of very needy people."
Editor's Note: David Trilling is EurasiaNet’s Central Asia news editor.
Endangered Languages and History - FEL
by Jane Simpson
18 September, 2009
[Media release from Nicholas Ostler, Foundation for Endangered languages]
This year's conference of the Foundation for Endangered Languages will take place in the High Pamirs, at Khorog in Tajikistan, on 24-26 September 2009.
The conference will discuss the contribution of Endangered Languages to History and how the study of history can encourage the preservation and promote the revitalisation of endangered languages.
Tajikistan itself, although a small and remote country with a population of 7 million, is home to nine languages, most of them in the mountainous south, the Pamirs. Unlike its surrounding Central Asian countries, where the national languages are Turkic, its primary language is Tajik, a form of Persian. It also shares a long border with Afghanistan, where Dari Persian is also widely spoken.
Conquered by Tsarist Russia in the 1870s as part of the Tournament of Shadows, the "Great Game" played between the British and Russian Empires, Central Asia had its languages re-organized and re-alphabetized in the 1920s and 1930s, all its scripts changing from Arabic to Roman to Russian in the course of 15 years. Nevertheless, this was the basis on which Tajik literacy has leapt from a tiny minority to almost 100 percent. The relative roles of languages, Tajik, Russian, Uzbek, and Yaghnobi and the many languages of the Pamirs, remain a highly charged issue in Tajikistan's policy.
Tajikistan is heir to many peoples who played key roles in ancient struggles between East and West: the Sogdians, great traders of 'heavenly' horses for silk at the courts of China; the Tajiks, who transmitted the fresh news of Muhammad's revelation within Central Asia at the forefront of an invading army, and brought the Persian language with them; the Samanids, who created the first civilization that used New Persian, the poetic culture made familiar in the west by the Rubai'yat of Omar Khayyam, and the Golden Road to Samarkand. As well as being a stage on the Silk Road, it was home to Tamburlaine the Great, whose bloody conquests straddled Asia from Ankara to Delhi, and to Babur, who founded the Mughal dynasty in India. Truly Tajikistan can be called the home of History. And the peoples who speak its surviving languages have seen more than most.
The conference will be held in collaboration with:
* The Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan,
* The Institute of Humanities, Khorog, Tajikistan
* The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London.
Conference delegates will also visit the Ishkashimi language community in the Badakhshan region of the country. Badakhshan was long famous as a source of rubies, emeralds and lapis lazuli.
TAJIKISTAN: SOLAR POWER MITIGATES ENERGY, ENVIRONMENTAL WOES FOR TAJIKISTAN’S NOMADS
David Trilling 10/01/09
The power lines strung above the dusty lanes of Alichur are nothing more than a painful reminder of simpler times. In the 18 years since the Soviet Union collapsed, the town has not seen one watt of state-supplied electricity.
Tajikistan’s notoriously weak and unreliable energy grid barely maintains a tenuous connection to the vast and sparsely-populated Murgab District of Badakhshan Province, situated on the high plateaus between Afghanistan and China. In the district center, Murgab, incandescent bulbs flicker like dying embers only a few hours per day, rarely providing enough wattage to make reading at night feasible, let alone to power an appliance. And that is in the summer months, when hydropower from rivers swollen with melting snow is supposed to be plentiful.
But now, some Badakhshan residents are declaring their energy independence from Dushanbe, embracing solar power, and finding, in the process, that they are saving money, and easing the stress on the local ecosystem. Using inexpensive Chinese equipment brought from just across the border, many save over a dollar per day by relying on the sun, rather than kerosene, as a power source. The savings constitutes a small fortune for the average Tajik. Per capita GDP in Tajikistan is estimated at $1,800 annually, making it one of the poorest countries in the world. Roughly 60 percent of Tajiks live below the poverty line, according to CIA estimates.
The photovoltaic panels "are economical. You buy them once and you don’t have to buy kerosene anymore," says Atabay, an ethnic-Kyrgyz yak herder, gesturing to the sympathetic sun outside his felt yurt. Previously, he used 20 liters of kerosene per month. Now, in addition to clean light, he listens to music and spends his savings on diesel for a generator so he can watch satellite television.
Many families in the area have already purchased a solar set-up, says Marifat, one of two merchants who sell the equipment in Murgab’s ramshackle bazaar. After five years, business has tapered off: "Now, I only sell three or four a month. Last year I used to sell 10 to 15 pieces in a good month."
"We are selling less, because all the people in Murgab bought them already." The average price for a 12-volt unit is 1000 somoni (about $230). It is a large outlay, but one most people realize will save them in the long run. "The price includes the panel, battery, three light bulbs and an inverter," she adds.
Ainagul, another Kyrgyz herder who also spends the short summer season based in the ’jailoos’ -- summer pastures north of Alichur -- says that before purchasing her solar setup, her family used one liter of kerosene every day to provide light "because we have small children and we had to have light at night." At five somoni a liter, that totaled over $400 per year. She spent 700 somoni ($160) on her six-volt solar unit.
"We’ve had it for two years," says Ainagul, setting a bowl of yak butter before a visiting reporter. "It provides three or four hours of light and music from the tape recorder" per night. "It helps the children study," she adds.
These days, as summer rapidly gives way to fall, herders like Ainagul are returning to their mud-brick houses in Alichur, packing up their portable solar setup, rolling up the yurt and mattresses and heading for town. "We use it all year, but it works better in summer. In the winter, there is not as much sun."
Perhaps 70 percent of the yurts on the Alichur plain have either a solar panel or share one with neighbors, revealing the tight-knit bonds amongst the extended nomadic families.
Of course, in a country as impoverished as Tajikistan, not everyone can afford the investment, despite the long-term savings. To assist the hardest-pressed Tajiks, the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme (MSDSP), a project operated by the Aga Khan Foundation, distributes panels to qualifying recipients, says Baktiyar Azizmamadov, the MSDSP regional manager in Khorog.
Solar, he notes, is a green alternative in more than one way.
In the high-altitude pastureland around Murgab and Alichur, with short summers, little rain and long, harsh winters, shrubs grow slowly. The Soviet state once provided coal for heat and cooking and feed for the animals. Now, coal imported from neighboring Kyrgyzstan is prohibitively expensive at 800 somoni per ton (about $180); each home needs between three and five tons per winter. Without alternatives, locals must pick the plants for fuel and animal feed. The shrubs are getting harder to find and herders complain they now have to hire trucks and drive up to 80 kilometers to collect them.
"There are almost no plants; they’ve all been dug up," says Azizmamadov. The depletion of supplies could lead to permanent ecological damage and conflicts over grazing rights, observers warn.
"The solar alternative releases pressure" on the local environment, he adds. "We hope this will reduce the amount of shrubs used" since the money saved can go towards cooking fuels. With solar electricity, locals can burn fewer shrubs while also moderating their need to purchase such expensive fuels as diesel and kerosene.
Nevertheless, the solar power is too weak to heat homes or supplant cooking fuels such as dung - helpful for soil regeneration - plants and coal. The plundering of the fauna continues, prompting one elder to grieve: "No grass remains. There is no food for the yaks."
Editor's Note: David Trilling is EurasiaNet’s Central Asia news editor.
Process of implementation of AKDN projects in Tajik capital discussed yesterday
Author: Avaz Yuldoshev
DUSHANBE, November 11, 2009, Asia-Plus -- On Tuesday November 10, Dushanbe Mayor Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloyev received Mr. Munir Merali, Resident Representative, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Tajikistan.
According to press service of the Dushanbe mayor’s office, the sides discussed the process of implementation of the AKDN projects in the Tajik capital.
Dushanbe mayor proposed to complete construction of the world-class Dushanbe Serena Hotel until the 2010 Navrouz holiday (Navrouz holiday is marked on March 21) and construct the Aga Khan residence in Dushanbe until the 20th anniversary of Tajikistan’s Independence, which will be marked on September 9, 2011.
For his part, Mr. Merali noted that the AKDN was ready to provide assistance with development of tourism in Dushanbe and attraction of investments for development of the city’s economy.
The Dushanbe Serena Hotel, a US$25million project whose 120 units will range from luxury rooms to long-stay apartments, will incorporate conference and shopping facilities, restaurants and a roof-top recreation centre and swimming pool. The hotel, to be managed by Tourism Promotion Services (a subsidiary of Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development) is being developed following a design from the award-winning architectural firm, ARCOP, a Montreal-based firm.
When completed, the Dushanbe Serena Hotel will join several Serena properties across the region to help strengthen tourism development in areas rich in cultural sites, physical attractions and economic opportunity. These include Serena units in Kabul, Afghanistan, and at Islamabad, Quetta, Faisalabad, Gilgit and Swat in Pakistan.
DUSHANBE, December 22, 2009, Asia-Plus -- On Tuesday December 22, Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi met with Mr. Munir Merali, Resident Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Tajikistan, according to the MFA information department.
The two discussed a broad range of issues related to cooperation between the Government of Tajikistan and AKDN, including this year’s cooperation and results and plans for cooperation for 2010.
It was noted that 2009 has been a successful year in terms of expansion cooperation between the Tajik Government and AKDN in different fields, the MFA information department said, noting that the sides also considered bilateral cooperation on implementation of specific project in sectors like energy, communications, education and culture.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) was founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims. It is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. The Network’s nine development agencies focus on social, cultural and economic development for all citizens, regardless of gender, origin or religion. The AKDN’s underlying ethic is compassion for the vulnerable in society. Its annual budget for philanthropic activity is in excess of US$450 million.
In Tajikistan, the AKDN activities include the Mountain Societies Development Program (MSDSP), which currently implements rural development projects in 17 districts in three regions of Tajikistan – GBAO, Rasht valley, and Khatlon, reaching more than 730,000 people. Since 1997, it has mobilized over 1000 village organizations and overseen the construction or rehabilitation of more than 400 water and sanitation projects, 850 irrigation projects, 270 road and bridge projects, 280 health facilities, 150 schools and 25 mini-hydels. It is largely responsible for raising food security in the region from 15 percent in 1993 to over 70 percent today. Economic development projects include a hydroelectric plant (Pamir 1) that supplies Gorno Badakhshan with electricity; a mobile phone provider that cover 90 percent of the country; and a hotel being built in Dushanbe. The largest project underway is the creation of a campus of the University of Central Asia, in Khorog, which will have a broad socioeconomic impact on the entire region and beyond.
Joint commission of GBAO and Afghan Badakhshan authorities discusses cooperation issues
KHOROG, Jan 11, 2010 (Asia Pulse Data Source via COMTEX) --
A joint commission of local authorities of Gorno Badakhshan and Afghanistan?s Badakhshan province met in Khorog, the capital of Gorno Badakhshan.
Ms. Husnoro Dodikhudoyeva, a spokeswoman for the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) Tajikistan, told Asia-Plus that the meeting took place on an initiative of the Association of Entrepreneurs of Gorno Badakhshan, Milal-Inter, under support of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), OSCE Office in Tajikistan and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Tajikistan.According to her, the meeting brought together 20 representatives from local authorities of the neighboring provinces to discuss the progress of implementation of a protocol of intent on cooperation that was singed by heads of Gorno Badakhshan and Afghan Badakhshan province in Fayzobod, the capital of Afghan Badakhshan in 2009.The meeting participants expressed satisfaction with the current level of cooperation in developing cross-border trade and in exchange of specialists in the fields of education, health and culture, Ms. Dodikhudoyeva said, noting that they also made proposals on promoting cross-border trade between the regions.Mr. Yodgor Fayzov, CEO of AKF Tajikistan, and Mr. Najmiddin Naim, AKDN program manager in Afghanistan, in particular, noted that the cross-border trade required expansion. According to them, cross-border trade restrictions and transportation of humanitarian cargoes only via official automotive bridges across the Panj River have impeded implementation of projects on providing food and material aid as well as construction of roads in Afghan Badakhshan province.During the meeting, it was also noted that construction of border marketplace was in full swing in the area of Afghan Badakhshan bordering GBAO?s Darvoz district.The sides agreed that it was necessary to consider opportunities of construction of marketplaces on both sides of the bridges Langar and Ishkashim for expansion of the cross-border trade and improvement of transportation of humanitarian cargoes.
AKF promotes Corporate Social Responsibility in Tajikistan
Author: Payrav Chorshanbiyev
DUSHANBE, January 26, 2010, Asia-Plus -- The Civil Society Programme (CSP) of Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), Tajikistan held a round table discussion on “Corporate Social Responsibility for the Benefit of Business and Society” in Dushanbe on January 22, press relase issued by AKF Tajikistan said.
The event participants included representatives from business sectors in Tajikistan and Russia, Agroinvestbonk, Tojik Sodirot Bank, Orienbonk, Beeline, also Kazkommertsbank, Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) companies and other business companies.
The round table discussion aimed to discuss issues of integrating Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) into the main framework of production of business companies, as well as to strengthen partnerships with Civil Society Organizations in the country.
Participants had the opportunity to share their experience of CSR implementation and discussed the integration of it within their companies in the future. Various opinions were raised on the importance of CSR both for society and business and weather this new notion is understood within its correct meaning and not taking as a philanthropy or charity. Further, ‘…CSR is not a corporate social liability but rather a responsibility…and it is also a culture of business vision and a way of thinking” noted Ozodkhon Davlatshoev, Head of AKFED in Central Asia.
The discussion was led by Aga Khan Foundation in Tajikistan and Geneva along with Matluba Uljabaeva, Chief of the Board of the National Association of Small and Medium Businesses and Manuchehr Rahmonov, Deputy Country Director of USAID Business Environment Improvement (BEI) Project.
The Aga Khan Foundation is part of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of development agencies founded and guided by His Highness the Aga Khan. Established in 1967 in Geneva, Switzerland, AKF is a non-denominational, international development agency with branches, affiliates and representative offices in 20 countries. In Tajikistan AKF has been active since 1993 when, with the support of the international donor community, a response was mounted in Gorno-Badakhshan to imminent food shortages caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union. In parallel with this emergency program, AKF initiated a rural development program with the aim of contributing to poverty alleviation in the program areas. Programs for reform in the social sector (Health and Education) were introduced in 1994, with the aim of assisting the government to cope more efficiently with reduced resources while at the same time benefiting from new approaches in education and health.
AKFED a major stakeholder in Central Asia's third 4G network
TeliaSonera-controlled firms to launch 4G for Tajiks
* TeliaSonera-controlled firms to launch 4G for Tajikistan
* This will be Central Asia's third 4G network
DUSHANBE, Dec 23 - Tajikistan's two largest mobile phone operators, both controlled by Nordic firm TeliaSonera <TLSN.ST>, will install 4G-standard communications in the country in 2011, a local company official said on Thursday.
The new wireless standard enables better Internet access including video.
TeliaSonera holds 60 percent and 59.4 percent respectively of the two operators, Indigo-Tajikistan and Indigo-Somoncom, which operate under the Tcell brand. The other shareholder is the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development.
Altogether the two operators provide mobile communications to a total of over 2 million subscribers in the Central Asian nation of 7.5 million.
The first part of the 4G network will operate in the capital Dushanbe and then be expanded to other parts of the mountainous nation.
"We have submitted a request to the transport and communications ministry for obtaining a 4G licence allowing to transmit data at a speed of up to 100 megabits per second," Indigo-Tajikistan Director General Bakhriddin Nazhmudinov told Reuters.
This will be Central Asia's third 4G network after the previous two were launched in neighbouring Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent by local subsidiaries of Russia's MTS <MBT.N> and TeliaSonera earlier this year.
Tajikistan's mobile phone operators also include subsidiaries of Russia's Vimpelcom <VIP.N> and Megafon, as well as Tajik-U.S. firm Babilon-Mobile. (Reporting by Roman Kozhevnikov; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Greg Mahlich)
Tajikistan, AKDN to continue bilateral cooperation
Author: Zarina Ergasheva
DUSHANBE, December 18, 2010, Asia-Plus -- Issues related to bilateral cooperation between Tajikistan and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) were discussed here on Friday at a meeting of Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi with the AKDN Resident Representative in Tajikistan Munir Merali.
According to the Tajik MFA information department, the sides discussed the results of the AKDN activities in Tajikistan in 2010 and projects designed for 2011.
Zarifi and Merali, in particular, touched upon issues of bilateral fruitful cooperation between the Government of Tajikistan and AKDN aimed at promoting economic development of Tajikistan, enhancing the country’s education and health sectors as well as cultural development and urban planning in Tajikistan, the source said.
The Aga Khan Development Network was founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims. It is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals to improve living conditions and opportunities in developing countries. The Network’s nine development agencies focus on social, cultural and economic development for all citizens, regardless of gender, origin or religion.
In Tajikistan, the AKDN activities include the Mountain Societies Development Programme (MSDSP), which currently implements rural development projects in various regions of Tajikistan. Economic development projects include a hydroelectric plant (Pamir 1) that supplies Gorno Badakhshan with electricity; a mobile phone provider that cover 90 percent of the country; and a hotel being built in Dushanbe. The largest project underway is the creation of a campus of the University of Central Asia (UCA), in Khorog, which will have a broad socioeconomic impact on the entire region and beyond.
Welcome to the Website of Investment Forum “Pamir Invest 2011”.
Association of Entrepreneurs and Mountain Farmers “Milal-Inter” jointly with local executive body of Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO), State Committee on Investment and State Property Management, with cooperation of Aga Khan Foundation in Tajikistan and with the financial support of German Organization for International Cooperation organizes the Forum “Pamir Invest 2011”, in Khorog, GBAO, Tajikistan.
Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) is one of the mountainous regions of RT that occupies more than 43 % of its territory. GBAO has borders with three countries – Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Republic of Kyrgyzstan and People’s Republic of China.
The region possesses huge natural potential for development of economy. Rich deposits of minerals, numerous thermal and medicinal springs are located on the territory of this oblast. Peculiar mountainous landscape adds to development of various types of local and international tourism. Bridges constructed on the Panj River promote to development of trade and economic liaisons with transboundary oblasts of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. In spring 2010 the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan has decided to create Free Economic Zone in Ishkashim district of GBAO, which shall promote more effective usage of oblast’s internal resources. Currently, the administration of FEZ Ishkashim arranging contacts with entrepreneurs and investors.The above listed conditions together with stable economy and improvements in investment climate of RT are providing new opportunities to attract foreign direct investments.
Entrepreneurs and investors have the unique opportunity to meet each others in Pamir and establish mutually beneficial cooperation.
Islamabad—Dr Arbab Alamgir Khan, Federal Minister for Communications paid a three-day successful visit to Tajikistan from Aug 8.
Dr Arbab visited Ishkashim, a border city from where the road between Pakistan and Tajikistan from Chitral is planned.
Along with his Tajik counterpart, Hakimov Nizom, Dr. Arbab Alamgir Khan had an aerial view of the site and the connecting bridges between Tajikistan and Afghanistana, said a press release received here on Thursday from Dushanbe.n.
Arbab Alamgir visited Khorog, capital of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) and the first big city on the planned route from Ishkashim to Dushanbe.
He met with Qodiri Qosim, Governor of GBAO and exchanged views on road connectivity between Pakistan and Tajikistan.The Minister also visited School of Professional and Continuing Education of the University of Central Asia, Serena Inn, Park Chorbogh and the Pamir Energy Town.
These projects have been funded and are being run by the Aga Khan Foundation. The Minister for Communications invited Tajik Minister of Transport to visit Pakistan. They agreed to form an Experts’ Working Group to speed up the process of feasibility study and to proceed on its implementation after the concurrence of Afghan authorities.—APP
On 16-17th June in Khorog was held an investment Forum “Pamir – Invest 2011”. The Forum was organized by the project of Association of Entrepreneurs and Mountain Farmers “Milal - Inter” with the support of the State Committee on investment and State Property Management of the Republic of Tajikistan and local executive authority of Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast. General sponsor of the Forum was Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The Forum was attended by 180 participants.
The Chairman of State Committee on investment and State Property management of the Republic of Tajikistan Saidov Davlatali has opened the Forum with welcoming speech on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan. He emphasized the importance of conducting of purposeful work on attracting and effective use of native and foreign investments to economic development. He also expressed confidence that the issues which are being considered in the Forum have positive impact on economic development of Gorno Badakhshan and other mountainous regions of the country.
KHUMORGI, Tajikistan – Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon and Afghan officials ceremonially opened a new Tajik-Afghan bridge over the Panj River in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast August 16, Avesta.tj reported.
The bridge is the result of a trilateral agreement among Tajikistan, Afghansistan and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), Rakhmon’s press office said, according to Avesta.tj. It cost 12m TJS (US $2.3m) to build.
The 216m-long bridge will allow 70,000 people living on both ends to engage in trade. It is the fourth funded by the AKDN, according to the organisation.
The Governments of Tajikistan and Afghanistan and the Aga Khan Development Network Inaugurate the Vanj Bridge, Enhancing Cross-Border and Regional Cooperation
Please also see: Photographs
Khumrogi, Vanj District, Tajikistan, 16 August 2011 - The Vanj Bridge, the fourth in a series of bridges funded by the Aga Khan Development Network, was inaugurated today by Tajikistan’s President H.E. Emomali Rahmon. The bridge connects Tajikistan’s Vanj District with Mohi-May Vulusvoli in Afghanistan and is expected to enhance cross-border humanitarian assistance delivery, infrastructure development, socio-economic exchange, tourism and trade between the two countries.
The Vanj Bridge ceremony marks nearly a decade since the opening of the first of the bridges nearly a decade ago, and commemorates the longstanding partnership between the Republic of Tajikistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, as well as their continued commitment to cross-border collaboration.
Describing the project as “the best bridge built yet between the two countries on the River Pyanj,” President Rahmon noted that the bridge was built within the framework of the agreement between the Governments of Tajikistan and Afghanistan and the Aga Khan Development Network. “We will not withhold any assistance, cooperation and fraternal help for the sake of stability in Afghanistan and its economic development,” President Rahmon commented. “Peace, tranquility and happiness in Afghanistan is peace and tranquility in Tajikistan and all of Central Asia.”
Afghanistan’s Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs H.E. Asadullah Khalid also emphasised the importance of cross-border relations in his comments and thanked His Highness the Aga Khan and the Government of Tajikistan for their continued support for the region.
The Vanj Bridge spans 216 metres across the Pyanj River, making it the longest cross-border suspension bridge yet developed, and will support over 3,000 commercial and passenger crossings per year. The US$2.6 million bridge project was funded by the Aga Khan Foundation in Tajikistan and employed 400 local Tajiks and Afghans over the course of nearly four years to completion.
In addition to the bridge itself, the Vanj project yielded several development works such as the construction of roads leading to the bridge on either side of the Pyanj, which will provide better access to electricity and water. A cross-border market, customs center and other border facilities, under development with the support of the Government of Germany through a US$428,000 grant from Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), will offer the local population renewed access to competitively priced goods as well as a forum for intercultural exchange. The banks of the river have also been strengthened and protected. These projects are only an example of the development initiatives that will be supported by the opening of the Vanj Bridge.
In his comments at the ceremony, AKDN Resident Representative Munir Merali acknowledged the valuable partnerships that made the project possible. “These achievements are the efforts of many including our external funding partners and the support of both the Governments of Tajikistan and Afghanistan,” he said.
Dr. Pascal Richter, the Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy in Tajikistan, represented the Government of Germany at the event. “The Vanj Bridge and the cross-border market are visible representations of the commitment of the Government of Germany and the European Union to bringing stability and development to these cross-border regions,” he said. “The peoples of the two Badakhshans have incredible potential - in particular, in the role of women which is something to be admired and emulated by other societies.”
The Vanj Bridge joins three other bridges at Darwaz, Tem, and Ishkashim as part of the Aga Khan Development Network’s multi-sector cross-border development strategy. Since 2002, the bridges have served as the primary connection between Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Oblast and Afghanistan’s Badakhshan Province. These highly isolated regions face numerous geographic, cultural and economic challenges, which the AKDN’s cross-border initiatives aim to mitigate. The bridges, including a fifth currently under development at Shurobod, serve as key conduits for humanitarian assistance, commerce and socio-cultural exchange opportunities.
The bridges and markets are but one feature of the AKDN’s overall cross-border development strategy, which consists of many projects. The University of Central Asia, an AKDN partner, recently graduated 60 Afghan scholarship students who studied IT, accounting and English at UCA’s School for Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) in Khorog, and who will now return to Afghanistan equipped with the skills and qualifications to make a positive impact on their communities. The AKDN-affiliated electricity company PamirEnergy, based just outside of Khorog, has been extending electricity to Afghan Badakhshan for three years, and currently provides over 1,000 Afghan households with affordable power with plans to expand supply even further in Afghanistan. Through its cross-border health programme, Aga Khan Health Services has provided emergency, routine and surgical care and vaccinations to thousands of residents of Afghan Badakhshan in addition to rehabilitating the hospital in Faizabad, Afghanistan. Still more AKDN agencies are working to improve the lives of the residents of Tajik and Afghan Badakhshan.
In his speech, President Rahmon also mentioned another cross-border collaboration between the Government of Tajikistan and the Aga Khan Development Network. "God willing, time will come when Afghanistan's entire northern region will be provided with cheap electricity after we build the Sanobod hydroelectric power plant,” he said, referring to an AKDN-supported HPP currently under development. “If there is electricity there will be prosperity, development and a high level of living standards.”
The ceremony was also attended by Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Tajikistan H.E. Abdulgafor Orzu, the Chairman of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast H.E. Qodiri Qosim and the Governor of Afghan Badakhshan H.E. Shah Waliullah Adib, representing one step further toward sustainable, community-based development in these isolated but culturally vibrant regions.
For further information please contact:
Aga Khan Development Network
8-10 Gani Abdullo Street, Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Mobile: +992 93 500-82-93
Senior Program Officer, Communication and Resource Mobilization
Aga Khan Foundation Tajikistan
4th floor, 137 Rudaki Avenue, Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Mobile: +992 93 435-75-12
Prince Amyn Aga Khan to pay visit to Tajikistan
Prince Amyn Aga Khan, younger brother of His Highness the Aga Khan, is arriving in Tajikistan on August 27 for a three-day visit, according to the Tajik MFA information department, Asia-Plus reported.
During his stay in Dushanbe, His Highness will hold talks with a number of high-ranking Tajik state officials and will review some programs of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Tajikistan, the source said.
Prince Amyn joined the United Nations Secretariat, Department of Economic and Social Affairs following his graduation from Harvard in 1965. Since 1968, Prince Amyn has been closely involved with the governance of the principal development institutions of the Ismaili Imamat. He is a member of the Board of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) and Chairman of its Executive Committee. Prince Amyn was also deeply involved in the establishment and the development of the Tourism Promotion Services (TPS). He is also a Director of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC).
Tourism Promotion Services (TPS), an affiliate of AKFED, seeks to develop tourism potential in underserved areas such as Tajikistan. Operating under the "SERENA" brand name, TPS hotels enjoy an established reputation for the highest standards of comfort, service and product, with over 34 properties in nine countries in Africa and Asia. Each Serena property is carefully built to harmonize with local culture and heritage and to reflect the architectural styles of the region so that it promotes awareness of these elements amongst travelers.
Dushanbe Serena Hotel followed Serena’s successful design standards reflecting on strong local design features to uphold Tajikistan’s rich cultural heritage enveloped in a modern glass structure. The hotel has been designed to act as both a social and business hub. Dushanbe Serena Hotel will offer 540 square meters of purpose built meeting and conference spaces for executive board meetings to large banquets and State functions. Health-and-leisure facilities consist of an extensive Fitness and Spa Centre including holistic treatment rooms, a roof-top swimming-pool and car parking for all its valued guests.
This world-class hotel will promote tourism, commercial and urban development in Tajikistan.
At FMFB Tajikistan, remittance services are now available at 29 banking service centres throughout the country, reflecting the importance of remittances in the Tajik economy.At FMFB Tajikistan, remittance services are now available at 29 banking service centres throughout the country, reflecting the importance of remittances in the Tajik economy.Tajikistan has one of the lowest gross domestic products per capita among the 15 former Soviet Republics and nearly two-thirds of the population continues to live in poverty. In recent years, the economy has become heavily reliant on migrant remittances. More than 43 percent of Tajikistan’s GDP is made up by remittances.
The average Tajik migrant is a 32-year old, male, who has three dependents, spending 14 months at a time (cyclically) in Russia and remitting US$ 2,000-2,500 on average per year (US$ 150-200 per month). Remittances are generally seasonal and peak between September and December each year, around the time migrants return home after the completion of a contract. Recipients of remittances are most often women who remain to care for the family.
Over the last year, FMFB-T has worked on increasing the number of access points for banking operations so that many communities can access remittances close to their homes. In 2009, the National Bank of Tajikistan granted FMFB-T the right to engage in money transfer activities in its banking service centres because remittance recipients are more inclined to receive remittances through banks or operators that have locations close to where they reside.
The bank is also advertising its remittance services so that it can begin to build a visible presence in Tajikistan. In Russia, FMFB-T has established a greater presence to attract remittance business and promote the services of the bank.
Establishing a stronger presence in Russia enables the bank to engage more with the migrant communities, building relationships which can be further strengthened by remittance officers in Tajikistan.
FMFB-T has started to develop several remittance-linked products to help its clients increase the amount of the remittances that go into asset building as opposed to income smoothing. In 2010, FMFB-T started considering a remittance-linked savings product to foster the building of assets of its clients.
Clinton Reaches Out To Tajiks In First Official Visit
"We are working with the Agha Khan Development Network to support new energy, to build an integrated energy grid along the Tajik-Afghan border," Clinton said. "We want to spur growth, create jobs, invigorate the private sector and fully integrate Tajikistan into the South and Central Asian economy."
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Discusses New Silk Road Initiative; Lauds AKDN for “Creating Opportunities for the Tajik People”
Dushanbe, 22 October 2011 – Speaking at a meeting called the “Town Hall with Women, Youth, and Civil Society”, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton thanked the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) for arranging for the use of the Ismaili Centre for the forum and remarked that the Network was “working so hard to create opportunities for the Tajik people”. The town hall meeting was part of a “New Silk Road Initiative”.
The town hall meeting brought together various members of the country’s civil society, local and international aid and development organizations, and local and regional media outlets. The Secretary discussed collaboration – within the context of the New Silk Road Initiative – with AKDN Resident Representative Munir Merali.
In highlighting some of the critical challenges facing the region, Secretary Clinton discussed the potential to create employment, especially among the youth and women; attract foreign investments; and integrate regional economies, as outlined in the New Silk Road Initiative, to engender peace, security and stability in the region and beyond.
Secretary Clinton also cited the successful private-public-partnership of PamirEnergy, a rehabilitated hydropower station in South Eastern Tajikistan, noting, "the United States is working with the Aga Khan Development Network to support PamirEnergy in building an integrated energy grid along the Tajik-Afghan border". PamirEnergy is a cross-border electricity transmission project that is helping to light up two very remote provinces of Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Today, PamirEnergy not only meets the electricity needs of its catchment population, but also provides energy to over 1,500 households across the Pyanj River in some of the most isolated and vulnerable areas in Northern Afghanistan.
For a full transcript of the Secretary of State's speech, please see the US State Department website.
I recently had the pleasure to meet in Washington with Munir Merali, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Representative for Tajikistan. The AKDN is a global organization doing great work in health and humanitarian assistance in Tajikistan. The AKDN has also taken the initiative to sponsor cross-border energy and education activities with Afghanistan, building an important bridge between these two countries.
Mr. Merali showed me amazing photos from his recent trip to Khorog, where he traveled with the U.S., Afghan, French, and Russian ambassadors for the graduation ceremony of the University of Central Asia. At the ceremony, over 60 Afghan students graduated, the first time in 90 years that Afghans graduated on what is now Tajik soil. Moreover, 14 of the Afghan graduates were women. Mr. Merali also described his efforts to build a regional diagnostic center and laboratory at the Khorog General Hospital, which could train Afghan doctors and service the Afghan population. He hopes to build on U.S. assistance to extend Pamir Energy's transmission to provide electricity to some 1,500 households, across the border.
AKDN's activities complement U.S. efforts to embed Afghanistan into the regional economy by creating sustainable economic and social linkages. There are several other U.S.-funded programs centered in Tajikistan that build ties between the two countries:
- The USAID Regional Trade Liberalization and Customs Project Export Partnerships Initiative trained 55 competitively selected business managers and business association leaders from Central Asia and Afghanistan. Several participating companies have identified synergies and agreed to form export partnerships. Companies from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are planning to collaborate to export footwear to Afghanistan. Twelve textile producers from across the region decided to combine efforts to export their products to Russia.
- A Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement-financed, International Organization for Migration-administered Border Guards Training Center was opened in Khorog (GBAO) in April 2006, with more than 300 Tajik graduates. Since April 2010, the Center hosted five iterations of joint training for Tajik and Afghan Border Guards, with 36 Tajiks and 50 Afghans completing the course. The border post personnel from paired posts on each side of the border train together and the training helps facilitate the flow of legitimate visitors and goods and improving cultural and economic ties between the two countries.
Robert O. Blake
Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs
View the Original News Article ››
(This news article is a product of the DipNote - U.S. Department of State Blog)
Tajikistan, Afghanistan and AKDN Lay Foundation Stone for Fifth Bridge Between Countries
Please also see: Photographs
Showun, Shurobod District, Tajikistan, 31st October 2011 – His Excellency Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan, Minister of Public Works of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan His Excellency Abdulkudus Hamidi, and His Highness the Aga Khan, founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), today performed the foundation-stone ceremony for the Shurobod Bridge.
The bridge, the fifth to be built in partnership with the AKDN, will connect the Shurobod District of Khatlon Region in Tajikistan with the Khohon Province of Afghanistan. The ceremony was also attended by the German Ambassadors to Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
Since 2002, AKDN has constructed four bridges -- at Darwaz, Tem, Ishkashim and Vanj. Today they serve as the primary transport links between Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Oblast and northern Afghanistan. As integral parts of AKDN’s multi-sector cross-border strategy, they are key conduits for humanitarian assistance, commerce and socio-cultural exchange opportunities in these remote and isolated areas.
President Rahmon said the new bridge will “significantly enhance closer trade and economic cooperation and the intensification of multilateral cooperation between our two countries”.
“This foundation is a symbol of the relationship between our two countries,” said Minister Hamidi. “With the construction of this bridge, thousands of people across the river will now have the opportunity to connect to health services and education opportunities in Tajikistan, and this is a remarkable achievement.”
“What you are doing today is setting a remarkable example of people coming together for a common purpose across frontiers – and that common purpose is to improve the quality of life of every individual in those societies,” said the Aga Khan, thanking the local and national governments of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. “These bridges enable people to come together to share best practice in developing human society. Across frontiers, you can build best practice in education, in healthcare, in economic development, in financial institutions, in rural activity, and it is this capacity to bring the best of society together for the benefit of all the people that I think is the most important lesson that we have today.” The Aga Khan also thanked the government of Germany for its support for the project.
When completed, the Shurobod Bridge will connect rural, mountainous and isolated communities living along the borders of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The bridge will be 162 meters in length, measure 3.5 meters in width and have a load capacity of 30 metric tons. Construction is expected to be completed at the end of 2012. The German government will provide financial support through its development bank, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), while the Aga Khan Foundation, together with its local partners, will provide technical assistance.
As with the previously constructed bridges, facilities, including cross-border markets, will be built on both sides of the Shurobod bridge. It is anticipated that the new bridge will contribute to increasing the livelihoods of the isolated and rural areas by stimulating cross-border commercial trade as well as the development of infrastructure on the Afghan side.
For more information please contact:
Senior Program Officer, Communication and Resource Mobilization
Aga Khan Foundation Tajikistan
4th floor, 137 Rudaki Avenue, Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Mobile: +992 93 435-75-12
Prospects of further cooperation between Tajikistan and AKDN discussed in Dushanbe
DUSHANBE, February 16, 2012, Asia-Plus – On Wednesday February 15, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sharif Rahimzoda met with Mr. Munir Merali, Resident Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Tajikistan.
According to the press center of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MoEDT), the sides discussed state and prospects of further expansion of cooperation between Tajikistan and AKDN.
Rahimzoda, in particular, noted that the MoEDT as the public body authorized for coordination of cooperation with international organizations was ready to extend cooperation with AKDN.
For his part, Mr. Munir Merali made specific proposals regarding plans, programs, implementation of projects covering the private sector, finance and banking, energy, agriculture and health, as well as improvement of activities of free economic zones in the country and training of personnel for the fields of economy, tourism, insurance and other social directions, the MoEDT press center said.
During the meeting, Rahimzoda and Merali also exchanged views on a number of other issues being of mutual interest.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of development agencies with mandates that include the environment, health, education, architecture, culture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise and the revitalization of historic cities. AKDN agencies conduct their programs without regard to faith, origin or gender.
AKDN works towards the vision of an economically dynamic, politically stable, intellectually vibrant, and culturally tolerant Tajikistan. This is achieved by supporting the establishment of programs and institutions that allow the government, private sector and civil society to play complementary roles in increasing prosperity and creativity within a pluralistic society. Operating in Tajikistan since 1992, AKDN draws on a strong base of experience in working with mountain societies. It works in all regions of the country and employs approximately 3,000 people through its operations and investments.
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