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African Development Bank approves $1.5 million emergency grant to curb desert locusts ravaging East and Horn of Africa
April 3, 2020 | 0 Comments
2020-02-14 Kiaruni/Kenya Swarm of 40-50 million adult desert locust hits millet fields in dmall Kenyan village – By Nicole Macheroux-Denault
The proposed assistance will be channeled to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, April 2, 2020/ — The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) on Wednesday approved a $1.5 million emergency relief grant to assist nine countries in the East and Horn of Africa on the control of swarms of desert locusts that are threatening livelihoods and food security.

The proposed assistance will be channeled to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which has been mandated to mobilize resources on behalf of the African Union.

IGAD is collaborating with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which is leading coordination of development partner support to provide desert locust invasion control, safeguard of livelihoods and to promote early recovery of affected households in the in the East and Horn of Africa. FAO will act as the Executing Agency for the grant.

The funds will be used to control the spread of the current locust invasion, prevent potential next-generation swarms and to conduct impact assessment and monitoring to enhance preparedness and awareness. A portion of the funds would also be allocated to administrative costs.

The nine beneficiary countries are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.

Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia have been particularly hard hit by the outbreak and widespread breeding of locusts that is expected to create new swarms in the coming weeks. The infestation poses an unprecedented risk to livelihoods and food security in an already fragile region and has caused huge damage to agricultural production.

In Ethiopia and Somalia, the outbreak is the worst in 25 years, and in Kenya, in 70 years.

In Ethiopia, the locusts have devastated more than 30,000 hectares of crops, including coffee and tea that account for about 30% of the nation’s exports. Despite government’s interventions, swarms and breeding have been reported in large parts of the country. In Djibouti, over 80% of 1,700 agro-pastoral farms located in 23 production zones are affected by desert locust infestations.

At least 18 of 47 Kenyan counties are affected with more than 70,000 hectares of crops under infestation according to recent FAO reports. Locust swarms are devastating pastureland, maize, cowpeas, beans and other crops despite the government’s efforts to curb the outbreak.

Locust swarms are reportedly also threatening Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sudan and Eritrea.

Efforts to control the infestations will require around $147 million, of which $75 million has been provided by governments, donors and UN agencies including FAO and the World Food Program (WFP). However, a significant funding shortfall remains.

*AFDB
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World Bank Approves $10 Million Grant to Gambia to Fight COVID-19
April 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

The World Bank has announced Tuesday its approval of $10 million to support The Gambia’s COVID-19 response.

The grant is approved from the International Development Association (IDA) for the country to provide emergency assistance in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 Response and Preparedness Project will enhance case detection, tracing, and reporting, as well as provide equipment to isolation and treatment centers, and improve disease surveillance and diagnostic capacity,” the statement from Washington stated.

It will also focus on risk communications and community engagement for increased awareness and compliance with prevention and social distancing measures.

“This rapid response operation draws from the World Bank Group’s $14 billion package of fast-track financing to help countries in their efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the spread of COVID-19,” said Ms. Elene Imnadze, Resident Representative for The Gambia.

“It provides the financing needed to strengthen coordination with partners and implement the Government’s National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan.”

The World Bank Group is rolling out a $14 billion fast-track package to strengthen the COVID-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery.

The immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

The statement indicated that the IFC is providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs. IBRD and IDA are making an initial $6 billion available for the health-response.

“As countries need broader support, the World Bank Group will deploy up to $160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.”

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Development bank for Central African States disburse 90 Billion FCFA to circumvent economic impact of Coronavirus
April 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

CEMAC Leaders at a 2019 Summit in Yaounde ,Cameroon.Photo credit PRC.

The Development Bank of Central African States, BDEAC is finalizing plans to doll out cira 90 billion francs CFA to governments of the six member states of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC, to enable them cushion the negative economic impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

This was the major decision reached when Finance Ministers of CEMAC met in Brazzaville, the Congolese capital on March 29, to ponder on the economic slum looming within the sub region, nay the world, because of the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak worldwide.

During what they categorized as an extraordinary meeting, Finance Ministers from Cameroon, Chad Republic, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic and Congo Brazzaville took much time in analyzing the impact of this pandemic on the economic fabric of their nations and the sub region in general.

They noted that with the drastic fall in price of a barrel of oil and the drop in trade deals across the sub region, Africa and the world, there was a need for such a subsidy to enable CEMAC member states face the crisis situation.

In a press release issued by the Permanent Secretary of the CEMAC Economic and Financial Reform Programme, PREFCEMAC, the Bank of Central African States, BEAC will make this money available to the sub region’s development bank. PREFCEMAC specified that the money will be channeled to finance public projects relating to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the strengthening of health systems within member states.

Before this decision emanated from the extraordinary meeting of CEMAC Finance Ministers, the sub regional development bank had already dished out 500 million francs CFA to each member state to enable governments take precautionary measures as the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic was announced.

Development and Central Bank officials also announced that BEAC will double the weekly credits it normally gives to credit banks. This will rise from 250 billion francs CFA to 500 billion francs per week.

This is also in line with the statutes of the monetary policy committee which met a few days before the Finance Ministers’ met and deliberated by videoconference.

The sub region’s monetary officials also assured that all interest rates normally attributed to calls for tender will be lowered by 25 basis points, as well as the revised marginal loan facility rate by 100 points.

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Three Things the G20 must do to support Africa in COVID-19 Pandemic
March 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
The G20 Summit 2019 in Osaka, Japan .Photo Reuters
The G20 Summit 2019 in Osaka, Japan .Photo Reuters

Addis Ababa, 26 March 2020 (ECA) – This is a global crisis affecting the whole world. Africa, however, will be hit harder with a heavy and durable economic toll, which will threaten progress and prospects, widen inequalities between and within countries, and worsen current fragilities.

African countries need support in preparing for the health crisis, and for the economic fallout. The measures being taken in Asia, Europe and North America such as physical (social) distancing and regular hand washing will be a particular challenge for countries with limited internet connectivity, dense populations, unequal access to water and limited social safety nets.

In line with the steps being taken across the globe, African countries are preparing for the worst effects of this pandemic.

Here are the three things the G20 must do:

1. Support for an immediate health and human response

a. G20 leaders should support and encourage open trade corridors, especially for pharmaceuticals and other health supplies, as well as support for the upgrade of health infrastructure and provide direct support to existing facilities. This will enable countries to focus on prevention as much as possible and start building curative facilities. Support should be provided to WHO and CDC Africa with funds channelled through the Global Fund, GAVI and others.

b. G20 leaders should support public health campaigns and access to information including through an expedited private sector partnership for internet connectivityto enable economic activity to continue during social distancing measures and to support the effective sharing of information about the pandemic.

2. Deliver an immediate emergency economic stimulus to African governments in their efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic

a. G20 leaders should announce a US$100 billion (in addition to the $50bn already committed) to fund the immediate health response, social safety nets for the most vulnerable, feeding for out of school children, and to protect jobs. As a proportion of GDP this is consistent with measures taken in other regions. To ensure immediate fiscal space and liquidity, this package should include a waiver of all interest payments, estimated at US$44 billion for 2020.

b. G20 leaders should support a waiver on principal and interest for African Fragile States such as the Sahel, Central African Republic and others who are already struggling with the burden of debt and have limited fiscal space.

c. G20 leaders should endorse for enhanced predictability, transparency and accountability of financial flows so finance ministers can plan effectively and civil society stakeholders can help track flows to ensure reach those most in need.

3. Implement emergency measures to protect 30 million jobs immediately at risk across the continent, particularly in the tourism and airline sectors.

a. G20 leaders should take measures to support agricultural imports and exports, the pharmaceutical sector and the banking sector. An extended credit facility, refinancing schemes and guarantee facilities should be used to waive, restructure and provide additional liquidity in 2020.

b. G20 leaders should support a liquidity line available to the private sector operating in Africa to ensure essential purchases can continue and all SMEs dependent on trade can continue to function.

c. G20 leaders should ensure that national and regional stimulus packages covering private and financial systems include measures to support African businesses through allowing for the suspension of leasing, debt and other repayments to global businesses

*Economic assessments of the impact of COVID-19  presented to the African Ministers of Finance can be found here: uneca.org/vc-covid19-impact-africa

*Source ECA

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Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations donate COVID-19 Medical Equipment to African Union Member States
March 23, 2020 | 0 Comments
Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the Government of Ethiopia received a consignment of medical equipment

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 23, 2020/ — Africa’s response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak received a boost today as the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the Government of Ethiopia received a consignment of medical equipment from the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations.

The shipment included over 1.5 million laboratory diagnostic test kits and over 100 tons of infection prevention and control commodities.

This relief initiative was launched by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr Abiy Ahmed, the Jack Ma Foundation, and Alibaba Foundation as part of actions towards implementation of the Africa joint continental strategy for COVID-19 led by the African Union through Africa CDC.

“On behalf of the Chairperson of the African Union, His Excellency, Cyril Ramaphosa, we thank the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations for this generous hospitality and contribution to the continent. We thank His Excellency the Prime Minister, and the Government of Ethiopia, for facilitating the donation,” said H.E. Mr Edward Xolisa Makaya, South Africa’s Permanent Representative to Ethiopia and the African Union. 

“This is a great honour and initiative and a great sign of solidarity that the world needs at this critical time. The test kits and other materials will support African countries in their fight against this outbreak. We are facing a humanitarian situation, an economic situation and a security situation in the continent and Africa CDC clearly applauds the initiative of the prime minister and the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations,” said Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC. 

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread rapidly across the continents of the world claiming thousands of lives and huge resources. In just about three months it has caused over 12,000 deaths worldwide and impacted socioeconomic activities, particularly tourism and transport. 

Ethiopian Airlines will help distribute the equipment, consisting 20,000 laboratory diagnostic test kits, 100,000 medical masks, and 1000 protective suits and face shields, to each of the Member States as part of their contribution to the fight against COVID-19 in Africa. 

“We appeal to our ministries of health to ensure that these materials are distributed and used where they are mostly needed,” said H.E. Ambassador Mohamed Idriss Farah, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Djibouti, Dean of African Diplomatic Corps, and Chair of the African Union Peace and Security Council.
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Merck Foundation meets the President of Namibia to underscore their long-term partnership with the First Lady of Namibia to break infertility stigma
March 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation & President, Merck More Than a Mother with H:E President Hage Geingob and  H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation & President, Merck More Than a Mother with H:E President Hage Geingob and H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother

Merck Foundation launched their programs in partnership with Namibia’s First Lady together with Ministry of Health & Social Service and Ministry of Education

Merck Foundation to train doctors in the fields Cancer, Diabetes and Fertility Care to build healthcare capacity in the country

Merck Foundation to train media to break the stigma of infertility in partnership with The First Lady of Namibia

Windhoek, Namibia: Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany underscored their commitment to break infertility stigma and build healthcare capacity in Namibia during their high-level meeting held at the State House between The Head of State of Namibia, H.E. HAGE GEINGOB, The F irst Lady of Namibia, H.E MONICA GEINGOS and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation. The objective of the meeting was to explain and discuss the programs of Merck Foundation, which were launched in partnership with Namibia First Lady and Ministry of Health & Social Service and Ministry of Education.

H.E. HAGE GEINGOB, the President of Namibia emphasized “Namibia needs t he programs of Merck Foundation break Infertility Stigma and train media t o sensit ize communities about health and sensitive issues. Moreover, the training programs for specialized doctors are very critical for our people and their social and economic well- being. I wholeheartedly support Merck Foundation in our country, to enable the success of all their programs.”

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation & President, Merck More Than a Mother with H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother during the launch event

The First lady of Namibia and Ambassador of Merck More than a Mother, H.E. Mrs. MONICA GEINGOS emphasized the importance of this campaign to break the silence of the Namibian women who suffered from the stigma of infert ilit y . Also emphasized the critical role her office is going to play to be the voice of these women to empower them through advocacy, access to information and change of mindset.

“I am very happy and proud of partnership with the First Lady of Namibia and Ambassador of Merck More than a Mother. This partnership will help us to break the stigma of infertility and empower childless women through access to information, health and change of mindset. It will also help us to train specialized doctors in t he fields of Diabetes, Oncology and Fertility care which will contribute significantly towards social and economic development in Namibia. We are committed to lead Africa to a better future through changing the landscape of healthcare in the continent”, emphasized Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Merck Foundation also plans to introduce other unique initiatives in t he c ountry t o create the desired culture shift with regard to breaking the stigma around infertility.

“Few initiatives include announcing the ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Media Recognition Award and Health Media Training for the first time in the country in partnership with The First Lady of Namibia together with Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education. Also, launching an inspiring children storybook of Paulus and Limbikani to strengthen family values of love and respect since young ages which will reflect on eliminating the stigma of infertility and result ed domest ic violence in the future. Also, involving Fashion industry to deliver the message of breaking the stigma of infertile women to the community in day to day life which will be achieved by out ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Fashion Awards for Namibia and rest of Africa. We will also be launching our special project ‘Education Linda’, which helps young girls who are unprivileged but brilliant to continue their education.”, added Dr. Rasha Kelej.

About Merck Oncology Fellowship Program

The Merck Oncology Fellowship Program, a key initiative of Merck Cancer Access Program, focuses on building additional capacity through medical education and training.

The lack of financial means is not the only challenge in Africa and developing countries, but a scarcity of trained health care personnel capable to tackle the prevention, early diagnosis and management of cancer at all levels of the health care systems is even a bigger challenge.

Merck Oncology Fellowship Program focuses on building professional cancer care capacity with the aim to increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa and Developing countries. The program provides One-year fellowship program at Tata Memorial Centre – India, One and hal f – years Oncology Fellowship programs at University of Malaya – Malaysia, Two years Oncology Fellowship Program at University of Nairobi – Kenya and Two years Master degree in Medical Oncology at Cairo University – Egypt, in partnership with African Ministries of Health, Local Governments and Academia.

Launched in 2016, Merck Foundation has trained more than 80 Oncology Care Specialists from 26 countries which are: Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, DRC , Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinee, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign

“Merck More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe and effective fertility care. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

With “Merck More Than a Mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.

The Ambassadors of “Merck More Than a Mother” are: H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana H.E. FATOUMATTA BAHBARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of Burundi H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADO, The First Lady of Niger H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry H.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad H.E. C LAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia H.E FATIMA MAADA, The First Lady of Sierra Leone H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOUNGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia H.E. SYLVIA BONGO ONDIMBA, The First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe

Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or specialized fertility clinics before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, Guinea, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, such as;

‘Merck More than a Mother’ Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training

• ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Fashion Awards • ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Film Awards

• Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it

• Children storybook, localized for each country

*Source Merck Foundation

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NIGERIA: FORTHCOMING REPORT TO HIGHLIGHT IMPROVING INVESTOR SENTIMENT AS PROJECT PIPELINE MOVES FORWARD
March 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission signs new MoU with Oxford Business Group

Wen Qian Chang, OBG Country Director and Yewande Sadiku, Executive Secretary, NIPC

Nigeria’s efforts to attract foreign investment for sectors of its economy earmarked for growth, despite the challenging external environment prompted by the coronavirus, will be mapped out in a new report by the global research and advisory firm Oxford Business Group (OBG).

The Report: Nigeria 2020 will shine a spotlight on the country’s plans to roll out new transport and other infrastructure projects in the coming years as part of a broader bid to accommodate its growing population and rising levels of urbanisation.

Key topics explored will include the growing emphasis on public-private partnerships in Nigeria’s infrastructural drive that is supporting a push to increase the part played by the private sector in the economy.

With the delayed Dangote refinery back in the spotlight in December, when the huge crude distillation column was inaugurated, The Report: Nigeria 2020 will consider the significant contribution that the facility will make to the national economy by processing local crude and, in turn, reducing fuel imports.

There will also be wide-ranging coverage of Nigeria’s ICT development, which is proving to be crucial in helping the country to reduce its reliance on hydrocarbons and encourage entrepreneurial activity.

In addition, OBG will look at both the benefits that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, signed by Nigeria in July 2019, is expected to bring in terms of strengthening trade and commercial activity across the continent, and the challenges that could hinder its success.

The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) has signed a further memorandum of understanding (MoU) with OBG for its forthcoming publication. Under the agreement, the commission will once again help OBG to carry out the research for The Report: Nigeria 2020 and other content that will be made available across its platforms.

Welcoming the partnership, Wen Qian Chang OBG’s Country Director in Abuja, said she looked forward to teaming up again with the NIPC, which, she added, was one of the Group’s longstanding partners.

“Despite global problems, such as the current coronavirus outbreak and lower oil prices, Nigeria remains an attractive emerging market for the international business community, buoyed by a rapidly growing middle-class population and abundant natural resources,” she said. “Our research for The Report: Nigeria 2020 has already highlighted an uptick in business confidence this year.

The Report: Nigeria 2020 willmark the culmination of more than 12 months of field research by a team of analysts from Oxford Business Group. It will be a vital guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments.

OBG’s publication will contain contributions from leading representatives across the public and private sectors. It will be produced with the NIPC, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


Oxford Business Group
 (OBG) is a global research and advisory company with a presence in over 30 countries, from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to The Americas. A distinctive and respected provider of on-the-ground intelligence on the world’s fastest growing markets for sound investment opportunities and business decisions. 

Through its range of products – Economic News and Views; The OBG CEO Survey; OBG Events and Conferences; Global Platform, which hosts exclusive video interviews; The Report publications – and its Advisory division, OBG offers comprehensive and accurate analysis of macroeconomic and sectoral developments. 

OBG provides business intelligence to its subscribers through multiple platforms, including its own verified subscribers and the ones of Dow Jones Factiva, Bloomberg Terminal, Refinitiv’s Eikon (previously Thomson Reuters), Factset and more.

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GE Healthcare and ECHOLAB Radiology Train over 200 Healthcare Professionals in Two Workshops across Lagos and Abuja
March 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

GE Healthcare and ECOLAB Radiology team during the training
The training was designed for hospital professionals including radiologists, radiographers, specialists, and general practitioners
LAGOS, Nigeria, March 16, 2020/ — GE Healthcare (www.GEHealthcare.com) in collaboration with ECHOLAB Radiology and Laboratory Services has held two medical clinical workshops in a week across Abuja and Lagos, Nigeria. The events have benefitted over 200 healthcare professionals. The training forums themed ‘Elevating Radiology’ focused on topics including Computed Tomography (CT) & Magnetic Resonance imaging (MRI) in stroke management, among other topics which will help practitioners optimize their work. The training was designed for hospital professionals including radiologists, radiographers, specialists, and general practitioners.

Speaking about the forum, Eyong Ebai, General Manager, West, Central & French Sub-Saharan Africa for GE Healthcare. said, “Precise diagnosis is a result of quality imaging services done by well-equipped and well-trained clinicians. This can greatly help to improve patient satisfaction and the bottom line of both public and private healthcare providers. We are honored to collaborate with ECHOLAB to ensure Nigeria’s medical professionals are equipped with the right skills to continue providing better outcomes for patients.”

Training and skill development have become an essential ingredient in ensuring the efficiency of healthcare staff. Rapidly developing technologies and constant updates in procedures mean that staff need to continually reevaluate their training needs. GE Healthcare’s objectives with the workshops, is to provide equipment’s users with opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills to optimize equipment usage, clinical practice and patient care.

Pius Ihimekpen, Sales and Marketing Director of ECHOLAB said, “Our mission is to provide world class practice delivery of diagnostic services in Nigeria as the ultimate one stop shop with a full range of diagnostic services to investigate a wide range of illnesses and conditions. The trainings delivered in collaboration with GE Healthcare are important in our experts keep up with technological advancements in the healthcare industry and remain relevant in providing patient-centred services.”

Training and education are key to strengthening healthcare systems. GE has a strong commitment to advance education, skills development of healthcare professionals to promote local capacity across Africa. GE Healthcare has established three healthcare training centres and one innovation center to serve the continent. Additionally, GE’s Lagos Garage, launched in 2016 to support SME development in Nigeria has trained 1,000 entrepreneurs so far, to use the latest in advanced manufacturing technologies; 3D printers, CNC mills, and laser cutters as well as business development.
About GE Healthcare:
GE Healthcare (www.GEHealthcare.com) is the $19.9 billion healthcare business of GE (NYSE: GE). As a leading provider of medical imaging, monitoring, biomanufacturing, and cell and gene therapy technologies, GE Healthcare enables precision health in diagnostics, therapeutics and monitoring through intelligent devices, data analytics, applications and services. With over 100 years of experience in the healthcare industry and more than 50,000 employees globally, the company helps improve outcomes more efficiently for patients, healthcare providers, researchers and life sciences companies around the world. 
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Young leaders from Canada, Fiji, Pakistan, Uganda win Commonwealth Youth Awards 2020
March 11, 2020 | 0 Comments
(From left to right: Winners from Canada, Uganda, Pakistan and Fiji)

Four outstanding young people have won Commonwealth Youth Awards for innovative projects that are delivering sustainable development in their countries.

The awards recognise exceptional contributions by young people whose ventures are helping their countries achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The regional award winners are:

  • Africa and Europe: Brian Galabuzi Kakembo, Uganda, turning plastics into eco-friendly briquettes (focus on SDG 8: decent work and economic growth)
  • Asia: Hafiz Usama Tanveer, Pakistan, bringing clean water to poor communities (focus on SDG 6: clean water and sanitation)
  • The Caribbean and Canada: Sowmyan Jegatheesan, Canada, providing one-stop information to prevent human-wildlife conflict (focus on SDG 15: life on land);
  • The Pacific: Sagufta Salma, Fiji, transforming waste into sustainable furniture (focus on SDG 12: responsible consumption and production).
(The Commonwealth Secretary-General presenting the award to Hafiz from Pakistan)

More than 500 award nominations were received from 40 countries. From these, a pan-Commonwealth judging panel selected sixteen finalists. The awards were presented during a gathering at Commonwealth headquarters in London. Recipients received a £3,000 grant for their projects.

2020 Commonwealth Young Person of the Year

As well as the Africa and Europe prize Galabuzi Brian Kakembo of Uganda scooped the overall prize of 2020 Commonwealth Young Person of the Year for his work on transforming biodegradable plastics and organic waste into eco-friendly charcoal briquettes.

Growing up in a poor community, he set up an enterprise to educate women and young people to turn waste into wealth. He has reached more than 800 women and young people, and 600 of them now make and sell briquettes in Uganda.

Brian said: “I want the world to see that unemployed youth is not a problem but an untapped resource that can be trained and supported to bring about a social change.”

(Commonwealth Secretary-General presenting the award to Sowmyan from Canada)

Asia Winner

Hafiz, from Pakistan, has created water purification kits to improve access to clean water in poor communities and refugee camps to help prevent the spread of waterborne diseases. He has reached more than 11,000 people including victims of the Kerala flooding that occurred in the past two years.

He said: “This award is an encouragement to continue on this trajectory to reach more people and to make water non-exclusive.” 

The Caribbean and Canada Winner

Canada’s Sowmyan wants the world to make informed decisions when it comes to protecting wildlife from the effects of climate change.

He has developed one of the world’s largest online information hubs to help communities build resilience by better understanding climate activities, migration patterns and human-wildlife conflict.

(Commonwealth Secretary-General presenting the award to Sagufta from Fiji)

He said: “The business-as-usual practice has led to the endangering of so many species. We must change our course, understand the evidence and make informed decisions to protect our wildlife from changing climate.”

The Pacific Winner
 

Sagufta from Fiji turns waste material into sustainable furniture and home accessories. She says a lack of access to proper waste disposal in Fiji drove her to establish her enterprise, which has now upcycled more than 1,000 tons of waste.

She mainly employs single mothers so they can support their families. She said: “This award will help me create more awareness around sustainable living and empower more women to work in a field that is largely dominated by men.”

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, who presented the awards, said: “For the awards this year, we received nominations from more than 40 Commonwealth countries. Considering them made us aware of a vast range of impressive innovations.

“There were projects for delivering tech-powered learning, to provide clean water and sanitation, and for waste management.

“The entries remind us that there is no lack of ingenuity or ideas. What we tend to lack are mechanisms to support and fund the young innovators who have the imagination and creativity we need to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

“So the Commonwealth Youth Awards are a searchlight picking out some of the best examples of who we are and what we can do as a family of nations.”

During the awards ceremony, presentations on the work being done by finalists to deliver sustainable development were made to diplomats, officials and civil society representative from Commonwealth countries.

*Commonwealth

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GE Healthcare and the Kenya Association of Radiologists host 2nd Radiology with Over 100 Healthcare Professionals
March 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

The one-day forum themed ‘Elevating Radiology’ was focused on Gastrointestinal and abdominal radiology

Jennifer Kinyoe, Senior Vice President Financing for GE Healthcare East Africa and Dr. Elijah Kwasa, Chairperson of the Kenya Association of Radiologists during the Radiology Clinical day in Nairobi

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 9, 2020/ — The clinical radiology trainings by GE (http://www.GE.com) and KAR are geared towards achieving better health outcomes; The first GE Healthcare (http://www.GEHealthcare.com) Radiology Day was held in 2019 on “Interventional Radiology”. 

GE Healthcare and the Kenya Association of Radiologists (KAR) held the ‘2nd Radiology Clinical Day’ to train more than 100 Kenyan radiologists on the latest medical imaging technologies and techniques to improve diagnosis and disease management.

The one-day forum themed ‘Elevating Radiology was focused on Gastrointestinal and abdominal radiology. Topics covered included advanced technologies in body imaging, advanced digital mammography techniques, functional imaging of prostate cancer, imaging of the liver and liver care management among other topics which will help practitioners optimize their work.

According to the Kenya Association of Radiologists, limited training positions and lack of comprehensive post-Masters training opportunities within the country necessitate partnership with industry and other resource parties to promote for the healthcare training and continuous professional development of the radiology fraternity in the country.

Speaking during the session, Jennifer Kinyoe, Senior Vice President Financing for GE Healthcare East Africa said, “Accurate diagnosis is a result of quality imaging services done with quality technology by competent healthcare professionals. We are honoured to partner with KAR to ensure Kenya’s medical technologists are equipped with the right skills to continue providing better outcomes for patients.”

Ms Kinyoe added that the annual Radiology day initiative is part of the company’s efforts to ensure sustainability and long-term utilization of advanced medical technologies and solutions.

Dr. Elijah Kwasa, Chairperson of KAR said, “Kenya, like majority other African countries, still faces acute challenge of trained radiologists and other medical technologists. As a result, expensive medical equipment and machines are underutilized and sometimes damaged within a short period of time. We are excited to partner with GE Healthcare to upskill our radiologists on the latest trends in the industry.”

GE Healthcare’s Annette Angose doing equipment demo with clinicians during the radiology day

Commenting on last year’s Radiology day, the former Chairperson of KAR Dr. Beatrice Mugi noted: “Last year’s Radiology day focused on current trends in neuroimaging and a major outcome of the forum was the stroke imaging guidelines and management shared by one of the invited speakers from India. Kenya, which is a developing country like India currently lacks such unified guidelines and hence a key takeaway for us was the necessity for the country to adopt such guidelines in future to help manage the morbidity and mortality associated with stroke.”

Participants were also exposed to the latest medical imaging technologies and techniques including Definium™ XR120 digital X-ray which brings the world of digital technology to imaging facilities that rely on analogue equipment.

GE Healthcare continues its commitment to capacity building and upskilling initiatives across the region that will sustainably strengthen the local healthcare ecosystem and support governments’ UHC agenda. In Kenya, over 1400 healthcare professionals have now been trained through the Healthcare Skills & Training Institute launched in 2016 in partnership with Ministry of Health. 

A group photo of the Radiology Day attendees

GE Healthcare (http://www.GEHealthcare.com) is the $19,8 billion healthcare business of GE (NYSE: GE). As a leading provider of medical imaging, monitoring, biomanufacturing, and cell and gene therapy technologies, GE Healthcare enables precision health in diagnostics, therapeutics and monitoring through intelligent devices, data analytics, applications and services. With over 100 years of experience in the healthcare industry and more than 50,000 employees globally, the company helps improve outcomes more efficiently for patients, healthcare providers, researchers and life sciences companies around the world.

*Source GE

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Nigeria: Visiting Abia State Governor seeks partnership with African Development Bank to transform state into industrial hub
March 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

A thriving entrepreneurship industry and agricultural base in Nigeria’s Abia State are the foundation for the creation of a potentially viable industrial hub, its governor Okezie Ikpeazu told the African Development Bank Tuesday.

Ikpeazu met with African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to discuss investment for Abia to help boost job creation and enhance livelihoods.

“Our vision is to leverage the capacity of our people to become the SME capital of Nigeria.  Our people are industrious and innovative. For instance, our people are known as top players in the leather industry. We have a new shoe factory that is producing over 50, 000 shoes. We particularly need the Bank’s help to address the State’s infrastructure deficit,” the governor said.

With a population of over 2.8 million, Abia State is looking to the Bank to help make Enyimba Economic City (EEC), an ambitious economic hub, a reality. The State Government’s goal is to transform the region into a manufacturing and industrial powerhouse and create 700,000 jobs over 5 years.

The project, presented at the Bank’s 2019 Africa Investment Forum, has received significant investor interest, officials said.  Other investment interests include a waste-to-energy project.

The Bank’s support was also sought to facilitate the Abia State Integrated Infrastructural Project which is designed to develop massive infrastructure in the State, especially in the commercial city of Aba and the State capital of Umuahia.

Adesina said Abia State had “huge potential in agro processing and human resources. “The Bank’s role is to support governments like yours to transform their economies and create jobs,” he said.

Ikpeazu also requested the Bank’s support for the development of key agricultural value chains, including palm oil, rice, cocoa, cassava, maize and cashew, that would also create jobs for women and youth.

Accompanying the governor were the Commissioner for Works, Chidozie Bob Ogu, Commissioner for Finance, Aham Uko, Commissioner for Agriculture, Ikechi Mgbeoji and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Inter Governmental Affairs, Chinenye Nwaogu.

“Over the years, Aba has evolved as a centre of entrepreneurship and SMEs.  The city has the potential to be a competitive industrial hub for Nigeria and for Africa. For this reason, the Bank will continue to support your vision,” Adesina concluded.

Since the Bank Group commenced operations in Nigeria in 1971, it has invested about $ 74.5 million in the State, across four critical sectors of power & energy (53%); education (25%); health (15%); and transport (7%). In the years to come, the State will continue to be a key beneficiary of the Bank’s support with the planned Abia State Integrated Infrastructure Development Project and the Enyimba Economic City.

*AFDB

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Somalia Clears Arrears to World Bank Group Bank Group
March 6, 2020 | 0 Comments
Abdirahman D. Beileh, Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Somalia

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2020 –The Federal Government of Somalia today cleared its arrears to the International Development Association (IDA), completing the process of normalizing its financial relationship with the World Bank Group. With this clearance, Somalia has fully re-established its access to new resources from IDA and paved the way to receive debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) to promote growth and recovery over the coming years.

“I congratulate the Federal Government on reaching this critical milestone that will allow Somalia to access the strongest possible support from the World Bank Group to improve peoples’ lives,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Managing Director of Operations. “This lays the foundations for long term economic and social recovery. I would also like to thank the Government of Norway for its generosity in facilitating the arrears clearance process.” 

The payment of these arrears was made possible through a $365.9 million bridge loan from the Norwegian government. This effort is part of a comprehensive plan for arrears clearance that also includes the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank. “I am pleased that Norway is contributing in a smart and constructive way to Somalia’s efforts to reengage with the international community, clear arrears and restore access to concessional funding from IDA. I am also pleased that this important step paves the way for Somalia to receive deep relief on its remaining debt,” said Ine Eriksen Søreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway.The clearance of IDA’s arrears is an opportunity to lock in Somalia’s turnaround. “As we enter this new course, we look forward to strengthening our collaboration with the World Bank Group and building on the pillars we have laid so far to boost the economy and bring prosperity to our people,” said H.E.M. Abdirahman D. Beileh, Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Somalia.“We are also grateful to the support from Norway which enabled us to clear arrears with IDA.”

In a meeting of the Bank’s Board last week, Executive Directors expressed support for the government’s strong record of fiscal, political, social and economic reforms in recent years which enabled Somalia to reach this major milestone. They noted their expectation that in addition to accessing new IDA resources, Somalia would also work with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) to support the development of its private sector.

The International Development Association (IDA) is one of the largest sources of funding for fighting extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries. IDA provides zero- or low-interest loans and grants to countries for projects and programs that boost economic growth, build resilience, and improve the lives of poor people around the world. Since 1960, IDA has provided more than $391 billion for investments in 113 countries. As an institution of the World Bank Group, IDA combines global expertise with an exclusive focus on reducing poverty and boosting prosperity in the world’s poorest countries.

*Source World Bank

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