Novartis Africa Day highlights company's efforts to expand access to healthcare
BASEL, Switzerland, December 5, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ --
• Africa's healthcare challenges are compounded as it begins to face a dual disease burden as non-communicable diseases rise
• In addition to existing corporate responsibility efforts such as its Malaria Initiative, Novartis is implementing innovative commercial models, utilizing new technologies and increasing healthcare education and training
• African countries seen as the next set of fast growing markets as middle class projected to grow substantially
Today, Novartis senior executives gather in Basel, Switzerland for the first-ever Novartis Africa Day (http://www.novartis.com), to review the company's innovative work in Africa, including growing commercial activity, novel approaches to expand access to high-quality, affordable medicines, local talent development and the company's Malaria Initiative.
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“Novartis is taking an outcomes approach, looking beyond therapeutic solutions to a focus on new technologies, new commercial models, education and training,” says Joseph Jimenez, Chief Executive Officer of Novartis, who will open the event. “As the continent increasingly grapples with the dual healthcare burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, we believe we can make a significant difference in improving lives as the demand for healthcare rises.”
Africa faces immense challenges in its efforts to provide adequate healthcare to its people. The continent is home to one-seventh of the world's population, shoulders one-quarter of the global disease burden, but it has only two percent of the world's doctors and less than one percent of global health expenditure (1). Life expectancy is 15 years less than the global average (2). Africa is also at a turning point as it begins to be challenged by a dual disease burden – both communicable diseases that have historically plagued the continent, such as malaria, and non-communicable diseases that are on the rise due to lifestyle changes, such as diabetes. Low levels of disease awareness, declining infrastructure and poor distribution channels further compound Africa's problems.
Novartis employs a range of activities on the African continent with the aim of becoming the leading healthcare company in Africa. Programs to be discussed at today's event include Sandoz Health Shops in Zambia, the Novartis Malaria Initiative (http://www.malaria.novartis.com/malaria-initiative/index.shtml) and SMS for Life (http://www.malaria.novartis.com/innovation/sms-for-life). Sandoz Health Shops have the potential to reach more than 2.5 million patients over the next four years. The Novartis Malaria Initiative has provided more than 600 million antimalarial treatments, without profit, to more than 60 malaria-endemic countries. In addition, SMS for Life has reduced wait times and stock-outs for antimalarial medicines from three months to a few days and from 79% to less than 26% in three districts in Tanzania.
To learn more about Novartis' continued efforts in Africa, please visit http://www.novartis.com.
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Novartis.
1. WHO. “Global Health Observatory”.
2. WHO. “Global Health Observatory”.
This press release contains expressed or implied forward-looking statements, including statements that can be identified by terminology such as “aim,” “potential,” or similar expressions, or by express or implied discussions regarding potential future revenues from sales in Africa. Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of the Group regarding future events, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from any future results expressed or implied by such statements. There can be no guarantee that Novartis' efforts in Africa will be commercially successful in the future. In particular, management's expectations could be affected by, among other things, risks and factors referred to in the Risk Factors section of Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update it in the future.
Novartis (NVS) (http://www.novartis.com) provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2012, the Group achieved net sales of USD 56.7 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.3 billion (USD 9.1 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 133,000 full-time equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.
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African Union concludes Consultative Workshop to review AU DDR Operational Guidance
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, December 4, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Commission of the African Union (AU), convened a two day consultative workshop from 3-4 December 2013, to review the AU DDR operational guidance documents on issues of Detention, Women and Children in armed conflict, Reintegration and developing frameworks for National DDR initiatives, which will assist the AU's engagement in DDR related activities.
The meeting was opened by Dr. Tarek A. Sharif, Head, Defense and Security Division (DSD), and brought together DDR experts from selected Member States, representatives from the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), representatives from Center of Excellence (Kofi Annan Centre), the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the World Bank, the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) and staff from the AU Commission.
The workshop was held as part of the Commission's efforts to assist its Member States, RECS/RMs in building their capacity to respond effectively and in a timely manner to DDR challenges in Africa, in a manner that reflects the wealth of African experiences across the continent whilst also presenting an opportunity for technical input to the AU DDR capacity program. The operational guidance documents are aimed at strengthening the continental peace and security architecture and provide a platform for the AU to provide practical and political support to AU Member States and regional mechanisms in addressing DDR related challenges as they arise.
These operational guidance documents are intended to help standardize critical elements in any peace support operation on the continent based on experience to date by member states, from RECs and other partners to dates and are an important step towards improving and harmonize DDR modalities.
The AU DDR capacity program enjoys the support of the World Bank and UN as well as other key partners working towards enhancing efficiency and effectiveness on how the AU addresses key issues pertaining to DDR on across the African continent.
Ireland / Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello TD to visit Kenya and Uganda
DUBLIN, Ireland, December 4, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello TD began an eight day visit to Kenya and Uganda today to promote increased trade with East Africa and see the impact of Ireland's aid programme.
The Minister's visit comes a month after he led a successful Trade Mission to Nigeria and South Africa, in which almost 40 companies participated. This mission secured new contracts worth more than €7m in the financial services, telecommunications and education sectors. The Minister will explore opportunities for Irish companies in the Kenyan market in sectors including oil and gas and construction. He will announce plans to develop stronger trade links between the two countries.
Minister Costello said:
”This visit to Kenya is an opportunity to further develop opportunities for the Irish private sector in East Africa. Kenya is an important gateway for Irish companies to the wider East African region where economies are growing at more than 6 % per year.
“The visit is part of the Government's Africa Strategy, which stresses the need to think beyond aid and to develop stronger political and economic links with African nations. Kenya was identified as a priority country in East Africa, given its potential for growth and its position as a gateway to the East Africa region.”
In Uganda, in addition to exploring trade opportunities, the Minister will see the impact of Ireland's aid programme. This is the first ministerial visit to Uganda since the Irish Government suspended over €16 million of assistance in October 2012 following the discovery of fraud in the Office of the Prime Minister.
During the visit, Minister Costello will meet with the the Auditor General of Uganda, who has been conducting follow-on audits, with the support of Irish Aid. The Minister will also meet with the Ugandan Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Minister for Industry and Cooperatives. He said:
“Ireland has no tolerance for corruption. The Government of Uganda has now refunded in full the €4 million of Irish Aid funds which was misappropriated. Ireland has pressed for concerted action following the fraud. To date, the Ugandan Director of Public Prosecutions has opened 99 case files and Irish Aid will be following these cases very closely.
“Ireland will not return to funding through the Ugandan Government until we are fully confident that the Government has strengthened its internal financial controls and acted against all officials who were implicated in this fraud. Our programme of support to Uganda in 2013 is being delivered through trusted non-governmental partners.
The Minister said Ireland continues to work to support the poorest and most vulnerable communities in Uganda:
“Today, with the support of donors including Ireland, Uganda is making real progress. Our programmes support the poorest families to improve their livelihoods, enabling them to send their children to school and invest in their futures. I am particularly looking forward to visiting the Karamoja region where I will launch the Irish Aid funded school building programme in a region where poor facilities has contributed to low attendance, low retention and decreasing pupil performance.”
Press Statement of the the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 407th meeting which devoted an open session to the theme: “Women, children and other vulnerable groups in conf
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, December 4, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 407th meeting held on 4 December 2013, devoted an open session to the theme: “Women, children and other vulnerable groups in conflict situations in Africa”. The meeting was held in pursuance of the decision adopted by Council at its 223rd meeting held on 30 March 2010, to convene such a session once every year.
Council took note of the statements made by the Commission, the Representatives of Namibia, in its capacity as the country that championed the adoption of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1325, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), as well as the statements made by fifteen (15) other delegations.
Council noted the progress made by AU Member States in the ratification and implementation of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women (2003) and other pertinent international instruments. Council further noted the progress made by Member States in submitting their reports on implementation of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (2004) and the African Charter on the Protection and Welfare of the Child (1999), as well as the AU Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (2009).
Council welcomed the progress made in the development and adoption of the AU Gender Training Manual for AU Peace Support Operations (AUPSOs), including the elaboration of a Policy Brief and a Draft Code of Conduct.
Council emphasized the importance of the AU Gender Training Manual in contributing towards engendering the African Peace and Security Architecture. Council commended AU Member States for their plans to include their Centers of Excellence in gender mainstreaming process.
Council commended the African Peace Support Trainers' Association (APSTA) for availing its personnel for training on the AU Gender Training Manual for AU PSOs.
Council recognized that the Training of Trainers (Tots) on the AU Gender Training Manual for AU PSOs represent a pool and platform to both understand and address gender-based-violence in conflict situations in Africa.
Council, whilst deploring the increasing use of sexual violence as a weapon of war on the continent, underscored the need to develop an African capacity, including appointment of a Special Rapporteur on violence against women and children in conflict situations in Africa, to prevent and respond to the scourge of sexual violence. In this respect, Council applauded the efforts of the Commission to mitigate women's and children's vulnerability.
Council welcomed the efforts of the Chairperson of the Commission to continue to ensure the mainstreaming of gender aspects into all AU activities.
Council supported the proposal of the Republic of Namibia to institutionalize the annual celebration of the adoption of UNSC Resolution 1325 in AU Member States and at the African Union Commission level.
Council agreed to convene the next open session on women, children and other vulnerable groups in conflict situations in Africa in 2014.
Sudan: ICRC facilitates handover of five soldiers in Darfur
GENEVA, Switzerland, December 4, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) assisted in the transfer of five Sudanese Armed Forces personnel released today by the Sudan Liberation Army – Ali Karbino (SLA-AK), an armed opposition group in Darfur. The soldiers were handed over to the Sudanese authorities in Al Fashir, North Darfur.
"So far in 2013, ICRC staff in Sudan have facilitated the handover of 78 persons: 37 Sudanese armed forces personnel and 36 civilians released by armed opposition groups, and five South Sudanese prisoners of war released by the Sudanese government," said Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan.
Three ICRC delegates accompanied the five soldiers released this afternoon as they were taken by helicopter to Al Fashir. Prior to the journey, they spoke privately with each of the soldiers to make sure they were being transferred of their own free will. The ICRC's regular dialogue with the government authorities and various armed opposition groups enables the organization to play its unique role as a neutral intermediary.
The ICRC has been working in Sudan since 1978. In 2003 it extended its operations to Darfur, where it helps people suffering the effects of armed conflict and other violence.
Conference: “DRC two years after the elections: state of play and perspectives”
BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, December 4, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- MEP Mariya Gabriel (EPP Group) and the European Network for Central Africa (EurAc)
Have the honor to invite you to the Conference
“DRC two years after the elections: state of play and perspectives”
European Parliament – 5 December 2013 13h30-15h30
Koen Vervaeke EU Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes region
Flavien Misoni Congolese National Electoral Commission
Marcel Wetsh'okonda Koso 11.11.11.
Please register online https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1xhyzjk55lwDOkIywEll5O6Ika6OhpFQ4QuqbJVJzuF0/viewform before 4 December 2013
IFC and Société Générale Trade Facility Supports Energy Imports in Cote d'Ivoire
WASHINGTON, December 4, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Société Générale have co-arranged a $300 million facility for Cote d'Ivoire's only oil refinery that will help guarantee a steady supply of critical energy imports for the country and its landlocked neighbors.
IFC and Société Générale will each participate with up to $100 million in the facility for Societe Ivoirienne de Raffinage (SIR), which supplies effectively all of the refined petroleum products in Cote d'Ivoire as well as Burkina Faso, Mali, and other countries in western Africa. BNP Paribas and Standard Chartered Bank will also participate in the financing.
The structured trade facility will finance around $2 billion of oil imports over the next two years helping prevent interruptions in the fuel supply that could have a negative effect on Côte d'Ivoire and its redevelopment.
By helping stabilize the regional energy supply, IFC and its partners believe this facility may help mitigate price spikes that drive up costs for both businesses and households and often have the most adverse effects on the poorest. The financing will also help SIR to regain access to the international financial markets.
“SIR's production touches the lives of millions of people by providing them with energy for their homes and businesses and gasoline for their trucks to get products to market,” said Georgina Baker, IFC Director for Global Trade and Supply Chain Solutions. “This facility will ensure that the company continues to provide the refined fuel essential for day-to-day life and commerce in West Africa.”
"Société Générale is delighted by yet another example of cooperation in Africa with our partners at the IFC in this new key financing line for the SIR, a long standing relationship of the Group through Société Générale de Banques en Côte d'Ivoire and Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking,” said Federico Turegano, Global Head of the Natural Resources and Energy Financing group at Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking.
IFC will also work with the refinery to further review its environmental standards in line with international best practices, to help restore the strong performance it enjoyed before the conflict.
The initiative is an evolution of IFC's Critical Commodity Finance Program, launched in 2012 to facilitate imports of energy-related goods in the world's poorest countries. Total commodity trade supported by the CCFP facilities has exceeded $9 billion, with 60 percent reaching Africa. A similar facility signed last year in Mauritania has financed 500,000 tons of fuel imports.
AfDB provides US $73.6 million to Malawi and Zambia for Multinational Nacala Road Corridor Phase IV
TUNIS, Tunisia, December 4, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessionary arm of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group (http://www.afdb.org), approved on Tuesday, December 3 a loan of US $65.0 million and a grant of US $900,000 to Malawi, and a loan of US $7.7 million to Zambia, respectively, for a total of about US $73.6 million, for the Multinational Nacala Road Corridor Development Project Phase IV. The facilities constitute part of the Fund's contribution towards strengthening Malawi and Zambia's transport infrastructure to promote inclusive growth and expand trade and regional integration.
The project is a continuation of the Nacala Road Development Corridor being supported by the AfDB in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia, respectively. Phase IV will involve rehabilitation of a 75-kilometre road between Liwonde and Mangochi and the establishment of One-Stop Border Posts at Chiponde and Mchinji at the Malawi-Mozambique and Malawi-Zambia borders, respectively.
Under the four phases of the project, more than 900 km of road are under construction or rehabilitation in the three countries. The project has been a model of donor cooperation. AfDB financing of the corridor has been crucial in bringing other co-financing partners such the European Union, the European Investment Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency and Korea Exim Bank.
The Nacala corridor at its completion will be one of the most cost-effective routes to the sea for imports and exports from Malawi, Zambia and western Mozambique. It will also contribute significantly to boosting intra-regional trade and integrating the economies of the Southern African Development Community region.
The project is expected to generate more than 400 temporary jobs and about 100 permanent jobs. It is anticipated that 70 per cent of the jobs will be taken up by youth and 25 per cent by women. In addition, three roadside markets will be constructed at convenient locations along the road to provide business opportunities to small-scale traders for which 60 per cent are women. The project will also provide for training of women traders in export and import processing and entrepreneur skills.
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
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DRC: Denial of justice for the victims of sexual crimes
KINSHASA, Dem. Rep. of Congo (DRC) December 4, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), victims of sexual crimes are facing insurmountable obstacles to obtain justice and reparation. The cost of proceedings is prohibitive and judicial decisions are hardly implemented. This is the damaging picture described in a report FIDH and its member organisations in DRC are publishing today, following several missions in that country.
For 20 years now, DRC has been the theatre of a conflict characterised by crimes of sexual violence of incredible magnitude and unprecedented brutality, amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes. All combatants use this violence as a weapon of war to enslave victims and terrorise the population.
“Women's bodies have become another battlefield. Hundreds of thousands of women have been raped, from young girls to older women. All women have been impacted,” lamented Julienne Lusenge, President of SOFEPADI.
Victims of sexual violence are particularly stigmatised. They are often rejected by their family and community. They need enormous courage and determination to file their case before the courts in an attempt to break the cycle of impunity.
“In addition to the trauma and having to deal with a society that points the finger at them, rape victims must overcome exorbitantly expensive legal proceedings. These legal costs are, however, mandatory for these matters to be concluded properly”, explained Sylvain Lumu, Executive Secretary of the League of Electors.
At each stage of the proceedings, victims must pay court costs and other large sums of money to the Congolese administration so that investigations and prosecutions may be conducted effectively. Even the certificate of indigence, which reduces some of the expenses of the proceedings, costs between US$25 and US$50. In a country where 67% of the population lives on less than US$2.00 per day, paying this sum is simply not possible. Without this certificate, and as a preliminary condition for any reparation, victims must systematically advance 6% of the total amount of the compensation decided in their favour in order to collect it. This prevents them from actually receiving any compensation.
“The international community must strengthen its support of structural reforms of the legal system and participate in defining a true reparation policy. Otherwise, the meaning of this support to the organisation of trials, whose judgements are not ultimately implemented, is to be questioned”, declared Dismas Kitenge, FIDH Vice President and President of the Lotus Group.
In front of the magnitude and gravity of these crimes, the international community supports the efforts of justice in the DRC and encourages the organisation of trials. Progress has been made, but the current proceedings only very rarely target the highest-ranking officials. Too many defendants remain free, even during trials. Too few judgements are final and effective. Our organisations have also observed that those who have been sentenced all too often manage to escape, and compensation that has been ordered for the victims are never paid. In the end, the victims of sexual crimes do not derive any benefit from justice in the DRC.
“The Congolese authorities must urgently adopt political and legal reforms to fight against the impunity of the perpetrators of crimes of sexual violence and facilitate effective access of victims of crimes of sexual violence to justice and reparation. These measures require that the domestic legal system be reformed and that hybrid chambers (national and international) be established to judge these crimes in DRC,” concluded Jean Claude Katende, President of ASADHO.
Energy: Schneider Electric invites African students to take part in the Go Green in the City global business case challenge
PARIS, France, December 4, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Schneider Electric (http://www.schneider-electric.com), the global specialist in energy management, is inviting African students to take part in the Go Green in the City global business case challenge (http://www.gogreeninthecity.com), focusing on innovative energy solutions for the city and open to students from across the globe.
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A total of 217 African students, representing 21 countries, have already signed up for this 2014 edition of Go Green in the City. These students come primarily from Nigeria (83 applications), Algeria (29 applications), Morocco (23 applications), Ghana (18 applications), South Africa (17 applications), and Egypt (12 applications).
Students from Engineering and Business Schools, Master's and MBA Programmes in Africa and from across the globe have until 15 February 2014 to sign up at: http://www.gogreeninthecity2014.com.
"The young generation in Africa is increasingly aware of the mounting electricity and energy needs which go hand in hand with social progress and environmental protection. This growing interest by African students is key for Schneider Electric. The challenge lies not only in producing more electricity, but also in generating smart energy so as to enable intelligent growth in Africa", states Mohammed Saad, President of Schneider Electric in Africa.
Go Green in the City 2014 is consolidating its reputation as the leading global challenge for green energies aimed at students from Africa and across the globe. To date, more than 1,744 applications representing over 81 different nationalities have been received.
Students from Engineering and Business Schools, Master's and MBA Programmes in Africa and from across the globe have until 15 February 2014 to sign up for the challenge in teams of two, with at least one female member. Each team must submit a business case illustrating their idea as a viable energy management solution for one of the five main urban sectors (residential, university, commercial, water and hospital). In order to receive expert tips for their business case and gain unique insight into the global leader in energy management, students can now take part in a creative challenge, via an online questionnaire.
On 28 February 2014, the 100 best teams will be short-listed and have one month to work with a mentor from Schneider Electric to present a synopsis and video outlining their business case. The top 12 teams will then be invited to Paris in June 2014 to take part in the final. The winning team will travel to various Schneider Electric sites across the world and meet with staff and management from the Group. They will also be offered a permanent position within the Group.
For more information and to sign up, please visit: http://www.gogreeninthecity2014.com
Go Green in the City on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoGreenCity
Go Green in the City on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoGreenintheCity
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Schneider Electric SA.
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About Schneider Electric
As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric (http://www.schneider-electric.com) offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in Utilities & Infrastructure, Industries & Machines Manufacturers, Non-residential Building, Data Centres & Networks and in Residential. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green, the Group's 140,000 plus employees achieved sales of 24 billion euros in 2012, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.