Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Shares Experience at Vatican Conference on Impact Investing

Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. CEO Dr. Mirza Jahani meeting Pope Francis at the recent Investing for the Poor conference held by the Vatican. 

June 18, 2014 – Invited by Catholic Relief Services and the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame, together with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP), theAga Khan Development Network (AKDN) took part in a two-day symposium on Impact Investing to address poverty that concluded yesterday at the Vatican.

His Highness the Aga Khan has addressed this issue in many contexts, including a 2012 speech when he received the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award, where he said, “I believe that impact investment is one of the most important concepts that I can recollect in the last 50 years. And the reason is that it harnesses social ethic to economic purpose.” At the request of the symposium’s organizers, Dr. Mirza Jahani, CEO of Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. (AKF USA), presented the AKDN’s history of development-focused private equity investment, its current work using impact investing as a tool to foster self-reliance in poor and marginalized communities, and an exploration of how blended finance can advance social development far into the future.

Dr. Jahani described AKDN impact investment as part of its overall approach to social development. The key to the Network’s success lies in its support of local, permanent institutions focused on the values of sustainability, self-reliance, and improving quality of life in the poorest parts of Africa and Asia. AKDN uses blended financing, a mix of social development grants with appropriate mission-aligned investment, to leverage new capital with a range of public and private partners. He described examples of impact investing within AKDN including theFirst MicroFinance Bank of Afghanistan, theUniversity of Central Asia, the Nairobi City Park in Kenya, and the Aga Khan University Hospitalin Karachi, Pakistan. In the last example, the investment involved a ground-breaking partnership with the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Speaking of a shared commitment to social development that acknowledges the potential of private business, His Eminence, Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, closed the symposium yesterday by citing Pope Francis’s call for “inclusive economics for the common good.” He added, “In a very real way our discussion here on Impact Investing is a way of also addressing how we can make market-based business reach out to fashion an inclusive system of economics.”


Source: Partnership in Action org


Earlier news by CRS Newswire:

Conference in Rome Will Focus on Impact Investing to Help the Poor

Business and Church Leaders Respond to Pope Francis’ Challenge to Help People out of Poverty
BALTIMORE, MD, June 12, 2014 – Catholic Relief Services and the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame, together with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP), will convene a two-day symposium regarding Impact Investing to be held just outside the Vatican in Rome, Italy on June 16-17, 2014. Impact Investing — investments made with the intention to achieve a measurable social and environmental impact alongside a fair financial return — holds great promise as a tool to serve the projected 1 billion people living in extreme poverty by 2015 and indeed all of humanity.


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