The Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM) is a not-for-profit, non-denominational, international development agency created under Swiss law. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. It is governed by an independent Board of Directors. The Chairman of the Board is His Highness the Aga Khan.
Since its establishment in 2005, AKAM has taken over 25 years of microfinance activities, programmes and banks that were administered by sister agencies within the Aga Khan Development Network. At the end of December 2010, this amounted to a portfolio of over US $148 million in outstanding microloans to over 310,000 beneficiaries in 13 countries. Total disbursements for 2010 equaled US $226 million.
The underlying objectives of AKAM and its entities are to reduce poverty, diminish the vulnerability of poor populations and alleviate economic and social exclusion. AKAM aims to help people become self-reliant and eventually gain the skills needed to graduate to the mainstream financial markets. The organisation therefore offers a broad range of microfinance services, including credit, microinsurance, savings, housing credits and education loans.
A major focus of AKAM’s staff is to enhance the quality of credit through clear and detailed lending procedures, well documented manuals, properly trained staff and the use of best practices ensuring financial discipline and cost control. AKAM works in concert with other AKDN agencies and external organizations to integrate microfinance and maximise synergies through complementary development activities.
The range of services and products that AKAM’s programmes, institutions, and banks provide is continually expanding to meet its clients’ needs. Research initiatives are geared towards developing new services that are sustainable and of high quality. Emphasis is placed on vulnerable groups, focusing in particular on women.