Oct 302014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Following the Press Release issued by the Commission of the African Union (AU), on 8 September 2014, in response to the report of Human Rights Watch (HRW) titled “The Power These Men Have Over Us – Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) by AU Forces in Somalia”, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission for Somalia and Head of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Ambassador Maman S. Sidikou, on 19 October 2014, addressed the attached letter to the Africa Director of HRW, Mr. Daniel Bekele. (Click here for the letter)

In that letter, the AU Special Representative for Somalia addressed a number of issues, notably the investigations and assessment of SEA, the existing mechanisms to address SEA within AMISOM, and the context and impact of HRW’s report on AMISOM operations. The letter also highlights the AU’s major concerns with respect to the report.

The Special Representative also reiterated the AU’s zero tolerance policy towards SEA and any other acts of misconduct, and its commitment and determination to investigate these allegations and to take all necessary steps if they are found to be accurate and ensure justice for victims.

Oct 302014

NEW YORK, October 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, concluding a two-day visit to South Africa today said that learning from the experiences of the region will be vital in the global effort to reform humanitarian action.

“Humanitarian needs around the world are growing as a result of conflicts, natural disasters and other factors. The number of organizations and people involved in humanitarian response is growing, and we need to think through how best to work together,” said Ms. Amos at the opening of the regional consultation for Eastern and Southern Africa of the World Humanitarian Summit. “We need to ensure that people are at the heart of response efforts – not an afterthought. What do people themselves feel they need? How can we find out and seek to meet most needs rather than imposing solutions?”

Eastern and Southern Africa is the third of eight world regions to hold consultations, following consultations held in the West and Central Africa region in June and in North and South-East Asia in July. The results and recommendations will feed into the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, in 2016 convened by the UN Secretary-General. The aim of the summit is to set the agenda for future humanitarian action and create an inclusive and diverse global humanitarian system.

While in South Africa, USG Amos signed an agreement with Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Executive Secretary of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), aimed at strengthening the partnership between the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and SADC on regional disaster preparedness and response.

Ms. Amos also met representatives of the private sector, to explore ways of working together more closely on humanitarian response and visited a UNICEF-sponsored Sports for Development programme for youth in the Kempton Park area near Johannesburg.

“I thank the Government and people of South Africa for their generosity in co-hosting the World Humanitarian Summit consultation with Ethiopia, and for their leadership and commitment to helping chart a course for new ways of thinking, new ways of preparing for and responding to disaster,” said Ms. Amos. “South Africa has the resources and capacity to be a key player in humanitarian assistance on the continent.”

Oct 302014

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon witnessed Thursday the adoption of a new historic framework that will set in motion Africa’s sustainable transport transition, benefiting health, the environment and overall sustainable development across the continent.

Over 42 African countries, represented by ministers of transport, environment and other senior officials, participated in the Africa Sustainable Transport Forum (ASTF), organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank and UN-Habitat. The meeting, which is hosted by the Government of Kenya, aims to implement concrete actions to integrate sustainable transport into the region’s development and planning processes.

Globally, air pollution is killing 7 million people a year – four times the impact of HIV Aids and malaria together, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), whose studies estimate that per capita figures for deaths from outdoor air pollution in Africa are well below the world average— but the lack of sufficient data constitutes a barrier for the production of accurate estimates.

In Kenya alone, rapid urbanization is projected to double Nairobi’s car fleet in just six years, a situation that could put the health and well-being of thousands of Kenyans at risk. And while per capita CO2 emissions remain low, the rapidly growing consumption of fossil fuels is quickly changing Kenya’s CO2 trajectory as demand for energy and mobility expands.

At the same time, studies show that in Nairobi, for example, air pollution levels are at times seven times as high as the maximum WHO guidelines. Pollution in Nairobi doubles near the central business district, reflecting high pollution from vehicle exhaust

Speaking at the opening of the ministerial event, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya said, “This conference comes at a time when Africa is at a critical stage in implementing its development agenda 2063.”

“For this agenda to gain traction, it requires our commitment to a shared strategic framework for inclusive growth and sustainable development for Africa’s transformation. It also requires that we do things differently to achieve our vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.”

“Further, Agenda 2063 identifies infrastructure transport and interconnectedness as key drivers and enablers to our social and economic development,” President Kenyatta added.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “I congratulate African Governments for taking the initiative to formulate a sustainable transport strategy. Your commitment to develop and maintain reliable, modern, sustainable and affordable infrastructure in both rural and urban areas is in line with the emerging African Agenda 2063 and the associated Common African Position on the post-2015 development agenda. “

“Only a few months ago, I participated in the first UN Environment Assembly, at which member countries called on the international community and UNEP to strengthen their work on air quality. I am happy to see we are already putting this into action, today, through developing a sustainable transport roadmap for Africa.”

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director said, “With spending on transport infrastructure growing at an unprecedented rate across Africa, policymakers have a window of opportunity to mitigate climate change threats and ensure the health and well-being of millions of Africans by introducing clean and efficient transportation.”

“The ASTF Framework will provide the platform for Africa’s decision-makers to share best practices, coordinate sustainable transport efforts and provide focus to development planning to transition its transport sector into one that is more resource-efficient, environmentally sound and cost-effective for its ambitious and increasingly mobile population.”

Mr. Jose Luis Irigoyen, Director, Transport and ICT, Global Practice of the World Bank said

“The renewed focus on sustainable transport in Africa is critical in supporting more inclusive growth and avoiding locking in countries to an unsustainable development path.”

Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat said, “The ASTF Framework, and the bi-annual ASTF meetings, will allow leaders to share knowledge and best practices, while acting as a mechanism for funding and investment for sustainable transport infrastructure across the region.”

Reducing CO2 emissions is a growing challenge for the transport sector. According to the World Bank, transportation produces roughly 23 per cent of the global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion. More alarmingly, transportation is the fastest growing consumer of fossil fuels and the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions. With rapid urbanization in developing countries, energy consumption and CO2 emissions by urban transport are increasing rapidly everywhere in the world, including Africa.

The roadmap adopted by ministers today seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport in Africa by adopting a comprehensive approach that aims to promote the use of low-emission non-motorized transport, encourage the development of quality public transport and increase investment in clean technologies.

Notes to Editors:

•    From 28 – 31 October 2014, the ASTF Conference hosts the Solutions Expo; showcasing some of the most successful, exciting and innovative sustainable transport solutions within the African continent and beyond. In particular, the Solutions Expo supports two of the key aims of the First ASTF Conference; sharing best practice and developing partnerships.

•    The Transportation sector includes the movement of people and goods by cars, trucks, trains, ships, airplanes, and other vehicles. The majority of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation are CO2 emissions resulting from the combustion of petroleum-based products, like gasoline, in internal combustion engines. The largest sources of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions include passenger cars and light-duty trucks, including sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, and minivans. These sources account for over half of the emissions from the sector. The remainder of greenhouse gas emissions comes from other modes of transportation, including freight trucks, commercial aircraft, ships, boats, and trains as well as pipelines and lubricants.

•    Relatively small amounts of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are emitted during fuel combustion. In addition, a small amount of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions are included in the Transportation sector. These emissions result from the use of mobile air conditioners and refrigerated transport.

Oct 302014

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, October 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Africa offers enormous growth potential for e-retailers given that online shopping is in its infancy in the region.

This is according to Sumesh Rahavendra, head of marketing for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) (http://www.dpdhl.com), who says the recently released ‘Shop the World!’ report reveals that emerging markets offer the highest growth potential for the eCommerce industry.

The study is available at http://www.dhl.com/shop-the-world.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/dhl_logo2.jpg

Photo Sumesh Rahavendra: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/sumesh_rahavendra.jpg (Sumesh Rahavendra, head of marketing for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa)

“Although global e-retailer Amazon celebrated its 20th anniversary in July, eCommerce companies in Africa are only now beginning to mark and / or accelerate their presence in the marketplace. An example is Nigeria online retailer, Jumia, which despite being founded only two years ago, is quickly gaining market share within the country which reiterates the region’s potential.

A recent report by McKinsey & Company(1) also revealed that, eCommerce could account for 10% of retail sales in the African continent’s largest economies by 2025. In comparison, online retail in the U.S. already accounts for around 9% of total retail sales(2).

“Globally, it took over 2 000 years for a formal monetary system to evolve and over 600 years for a formal banking system to be implemented. It’s taken over 50 years for credit and debit cards to be introduced and still not every person has a bank account. With all these milestones that have taken place in the evolution of commerce, it goes to show that how we shop (e-commerce), is still in its infancy,” says Rahavendra

He points to a recent Jana(3) survey conducted in the continent’s largest economy, Nigeria, which revealed that close to a quarter of respondents (23.55%) cited the lack of security as the largest obstacle for buying products online. 38.81% of respondents also picked cash, compared to 29.52% who chose credit cards, as the payment mechanism they would prefer to use when purchasing goods and services online. “This highlights that consumers on the continent are still familiarizing themselves with the online payment methods,” adds Rahavendra.

The DHL Shop the World report revealed that Asia Pacific took center stage in the global eCommerce market, which is largely attributed to increased access to internet.

“Technology on the African continent is a hindrance in terms of connectivity, but we are noticing a rising trend in retailers growing significantly due to advances in this area. According to figures by the International Communications Union, 16% of the African population have internet access, up from 10% in 2010.

The 2014 Mobile Media Consumption report(4) by InMobi, which includes data from 14,000 users across 14 countries, including Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, predicted that 83% of consumers plan to conduct mobile commerce in the next 12 months, up 15% from the current figure.

“As technology continues to evolve in the respective African countries, as will the levels of online shopping. It is of our opinion that many African businesses will start to skip the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ formal retail environment, and instead move straight into online shopping space due to the rise in mobile and internet services within Africa,” concludes Rahavendra.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Deutsche Post DHL.

Media Contact:

Megan Collinicos. Head: Advertising & Public Relations, Sub-Saharan Africa

DHL Express

Tel +27 21 409 3613 Mobile +27 76 411 8570



1: McKinsey & Company – Lions go digital: The Internet’s transformative potential in Africa: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/lions_go_digital_the_internets_transformative_potential_in_africa

2 US eCommerce Forecast: 2013 to 2018: https://www.forrester.com/US+eCommerce+Forecast+2013+To+2018/fulltext/-/E-RES115513

3 Jana : Online Shopping in Emerging Markets: http://www.jana.com/blog/online-shopping-in-emerging-markets/

4 2014 Mobile Media Consumption report: http://info.inmobi.com/rs/inmobi/images/Global%20Mobile%20Media%20Consumption%20Wave%203%20Report.pdf

DHL – The logistics company for the world

DHL (http://www.dpdhl.com) is the global market leader in the logistics and transportation industry and “The logistics company for the world”. DHL commits its expertise in international express, national and international parcel delivery, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation as well as contract and e-commerce related solutions along the entire supply chain. A global network composed of more than 220 countries and territories and around 315,000 employees worldwide offers customers superior service quality and local knowledge to satisfy their shipping and supply chain requirements. DHL accepts its social responsibility by supporting environmental protection, disaster management and education.

Oct 302014

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Two United Nations Special Rapporteurs will carry out the first official visit ever to the Gambia by experts of the Human Rights Council Special Procedures*.

The UN Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, and on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan Méndez, will visit the country from 3 to 7 November 2014, at the invitation of the Government.

“I will examine the current level of protection of the right to life in law and in practice in the country,” Mr. Heyns said. “An essential aspect of my visit will focus on the current situation of violence, in particular the level of unlawful killings and death threats by any actor, as well as the efforts to prevent them and ensure justice and accountability in such cases.”

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions will further look at the legal framework and existing practices in connection to the imposition of the death penalty and assess its level of conformity with international law.

“During the mission, I will assess the situation and identify challenges regarding torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the Gambia,” the Special Rapporteur on torture said. “I will look into allegations of torture or other ill-treatment, the conditions of detention in all places where persons are deprived of their liberties, including the conditions of persons on death row.”

Mr. Méndez will also examine the national legislation and its accordance with international law, and assess the State’s compliance with the obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish all acts of torture, provide access to legal assistance upon arrest, and guarantee redress and reparation to victims.

The Special Rapporteurs look forward to assist the Gambian Government in coping with some of the challenges it faces regarding these issues and in finding solutions that uphold the rule of law, promote accountability for human rights violations and fulfil the right of reparation for victims.

During the five-day visit, the human rights experts will meet with high-ranking officials, as well as various UN agencies, international and local non-governmental organizations, and civil society representatives in the Gambia. The independent experts will also visit places of detention, including prisons, police stations, interrogation centres, juvenile and women’s facilities and psychiatric institutions.

Mr. Heyns and Mr. Méndez will present their final reports on the visit to the Gambia to the UN Human Rights Council in 2015.

The Special Rapporteurs will hold a press conference on 7 November 2014, at 1:30 pm, at the Conference Room of the Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort, Cape Point, Bakau, Gambia, to share their preliminary findings with the media.

Oct 302014

OTTAWA, Canada, October 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Today, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced Canada’s continued support for the Madagascar school feeding program of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

“Providing meals in schools helps children learn,” said Minister Paradis. ‘‘Through Canada’s leadership and support, the WFP is supplying nutritious food to schoolchildren, which will help to increase enrolment and attendance, decrease drop-out rates and improve children’s concentration, learning and performance.”

Canada is providing $6.4 million over two years to the WFP’s school feeding program in Madagascar. This program will provide meals to more than 214,000 children attending primary schools as well as 24,000 orphans and vulnerable children enrolled in vocational training centres, where seasonal food insecurity and extreme poverty have impacted school attendance.

Quick Facts

• The WFP is the world’s largest provider of school meals as a way to motivate children to enrol in, attend and stay in school, and increase their nutrition.

• The WFP is Canada’s largest humanitarian partner, and Canada was the WFP’s third-largest donor in 2013, contributing more than $370 million to its operations.

• Canada has been one of the largest donors to the WFP’s school feeding program since 2003.

• In 2013 the WFP provided food assistance to more than 80 million people in 75 of the world’s poorest countries.

Oct 302014

ARUSHA, Tanzania, October 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Hervé Joly, visited Tanzania during October 16−29, 2014. The mission conducted the first review under the Policy Support Instrument (PSI) program that was approved on July 16, 20141. The mission met with Hon. Mohammed Gharib Bilal, Vice President, Hon. Saada Mkuya Salum, Minister of Finance, Professor Benno Ndulu, Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, and other senior government officials.

Mr. Joly released the following statement at the end of the mission:

“Macroeconomic performance has been broadly in line with the program, although new challenges have emerged during the last three months. Economic growth was strong during the first half of 2014 and is expected to remain close to 7 percent this year. Inflation increased moderately in recent months, to 6.6 percent in September, reflecting higher food and fuel prices, while core inflation reached a historical low level of about 3 percent.

“Almost all program targets for end-June 2014 were met, with the exception of the one for tax revenue. Despite significant revenue shortfalls in the 2013/14 fiscal year compared to the original budget assumption, the fiscal deficit was contained to 4.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), well below the program target. However, reflecting continued weaknesses in the ability to control expenditure commitments, this performance coincided with further accumulation of expenditure arrears. The Bank of Tanzania continued to build up foreign reserves, meeting the program target for end-June 2014 by a comfortable margin.

“Program targets for the remainder of the year, including for the fiscal deficit, remain within reach but will require cautious expenditure implementation. Revenue collection has been lagging behind the budget target. Front-loading of domestically-financed capital expenditure in July and August was facilitated by the central bank through conversion of liquidity paper into financing paper but this complicated significantly monetary policy implementation. Combined with delays in the disbursement of budget financing from development partners, related to the Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) case, this has been a challenging backdrop for program implementation. In this regard, the upcoming mid-year budget review should be used to align expenditure allocations with available resources. The expected implementation of VAT reforms in early 2015 should help bolster the revenue base. The mission welcomes the government’s intention to address comprehensively arrears to suppliers and pension funds.

“The mission took note that an important first step to address alleged governance concerns related to the IPTL case is underway through the special audit by the Controller and Auditor General.

“Discussions on the first review are well advanced and will be concluded in the next few weeks, with the IMF Executive Board’s consideration of the review expected to take place in early January 2015.

“The IMF team is appreciative of the constructive and open policy dialogue and thanks the authorities for their warm hospitality during the visit.”

1 PSI is an instrument of the IMF designed for countries that do not need balance of payments financial support. The PSI helps countries design effective economic programs that, once approved by the IMF’s Executive Board, signal to donors, multilateral development banks, and markets the Fund’s endorsement of a member’s policies (see http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/psi.htm). Details on Tanzania’s PSI program are available at www.imf.org/tanzania.

Oct 302014

KAMPALA, Uganda, October 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Kampala to conduct the third review of Uganda’s economic program supported by the Policy Support Instrument (PSI). The mission met with Hon. Maria Kiwanuka, Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development; Professor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, Governor of the Bank of Uganda; Mr. Keith Muhakanizi, Permanent Secretary/Secretary of Treasury; and other senior government officials, parliamentarians, and representatives from the business and international communities.

At the end of the mission, Ms. Ana Lucía Coronel, IMF mission chief and senior resident representative for Uganda, issued the following statement:

“Uganda’s economic developments remained favorable. Growth is now estimated to have reached 5¼ percent in fiscal year 2013/14, somewhat lower than anticipated under the program, mainly reflecting the adverse impact on exports of slower growth in neighboring trading partners. Inflation was kept under control, and the international reserve coverage increased to 4½ months of imports. Low and stable inflation and a strong external position continue to provide important buffers against potential shocks to the economy.

“Economic policies were supportive of growth. Public investment was kept at relatively high levels, and the Bank of Uganda eased its monetary stance in June. However, difficulties in implementation capacity slowed the execution of anticipated externally financed investments, and global and domestic uncertainties prevented further easing.

“Performance under the PSI was broadly satisfactory. The end-June targets for inflation and international reserves were met, the ceiling on government’s net domestic financing was observed, and the stock of government arrears was significantly reduced. However, once again enforcement and compliance difficulties hindered the observance of the indicative target on tax revenue. The authorities have taken important corrective action, adopting a strong revenue package approved by parliament in the context of this year’s budget.

“The start of the construction of the Karuma and Isimba hydroelectric projects and pick-up in private sector activity should help raise growth to 6.1 percent in fiscal year 2014/15. Fiscal policy has a key role in supporting growth, by ensuring full implementation of the tax revenue package and improving tax administration; keeping current spending under control this pre-electoral year; and adhering to the public investment program. Monetary policy should support growth while keeping inflation low and stable. Credit constraints need to be gradually removed by reducing banks’ structural rigidities and encouraging financial deepening. The government should strengthen policies to ensure that all segments of society, including the most vulnerable, share the benefits of growth.

“Collecting taxes from all economic agents is a key priority. The recent elimination of Value Added Tax (VAT) exemptions is commendable and needs to be accompanied by strict enforcement by the Uganda Revenue Authority and enhanced compliance from taxpayers. It is also important to avoid granting new exemptions that would undermine the gains accomplished thus far. Uganda critically needs to improve its tax-to-GDP ratio well before oil revenues come on stream to reduce its dependence on donor assistance or domestic borrowing and finance the countries’ significant investment and social needs.

“Particular attention needs to be paid to the sequence and quality of public investment projects. Execution and financing have to be consistent with the capacity of the economy to absorb investments without generating inflation or crowding out the private sector, and to repay debt without increasing the risk of debt distress. This can only be possible if projects are phased gradually after verifying their financing terms and commercial viability.

“Progress in regional integration and recent improvements in public financial management (PFM) are set to support these efforts. The government is encouraged to complete the amendments to the Bank of Uganda Act, issue national IDs, and define the final structure of the Treasury Single Account. It also needs to begin preparing the charter of fiscal responsibility as envisaged in the PFM bill. A speedy approval of this bill, now under parliamentary consideration, followed by prompt adoption of its regulations, will facilitate preparations for efficient petroleum revenue management and bring forward the budget cycle to improve fiscal policy efficiency.

“IMF Executive Board consideration of the third review of the PSI-supported program is expected by end-December 2014.”

Oct 292014

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 29, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ —

• Merck signs memorandum of understanding with KEMRI to collaborate on research and development projects, programs and activities focused on malaria and schistosomiasis

• Merck is committed to advancing research capacity and improving access to innovative healthcare solutions and safe medicines in Africa

Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com), a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical, chemical and life-science sectors, announced today the signature of a memorandum of understanding with Kenya Medical Research Institution (KEMRI) for a scientific partnership aimed at contributing to the country’s social and economic development. The partnership will cover research and development projects, programs and activities focused on malaria and schistosomiasis, as well as related co-infections.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/merck_logo.jpg

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1487 (Belen Garijo, CEO and president of Merck serono and Prof. Solomon Mpoke, Director and CEO of KEMRI)

“Merck is pleased to engage with KEMRI on a scientific collaboration as part of our commitment to advancing healthcare capacity and providing sustainable access for patients to high-quality health solutions and safe medicines in Africa,” said Belén Garijo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck. “We are fully committed to partner with KEMRI, Kenya Ministry of Health, Kenyan patient associations and other stakeholders to develop and deliver solutions to expand healthcare capacities and improve access to health in the country.”

“KEMRI is especially delighted to partner with a company that is committed to building healthcare capacities and providing sustainable access to high-quality, safe medication and health solutions in developing countries,” said Solomon Mpoke, KEMRI Director and Chief Executive Officer. “We are looking forward to establish a scientific collaboration with Merck focused on malaria and schistosomiasis, as well as related co-infections, for the purpose of advancing science and most importantly for benefitting patients.”

“Merck’s partnership with local research institutions will advance their research capacity and boost their rigorous efforts to improve healthcare in the country,” added Solomon Mpoke.

Merck is planning to partner with other research institutes in Africa in order to deliver innovative products quickly and cost-effectively. The company aims to further develop research and development activities through its newly launched Translational Innovation Platform unit dedicated to deliver unique, integrated and affordable solutions to tackle unmet medical needs of major tropical diseases such as schistosomiasis and malaria affecting children in endemic countries.

“Merck is greatly honored to collaborate on this project with a leading African research institute such as KEMRI,” added Belén Garijo. “We hope to maintain a long-standing relationship in this venture to improve the standard of healthcare and research capacity in order to tackle some tropical diseases in Kenya and the rest of African communities as a part of Merck Capacity Advancement Program.”

The Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) is a 5-year program aimed at expanding the professional capacity in Africa in the areas of research and development, clinical research, supply chain integrity and efficiency, pharmacovigilance, community awareness and education for medical students at African Universities.

Another core element of Merck’s commitment to provide access to healthcare in Africa is the Merck Praziquantel Donation Program to fight the worm disease schistosomiasis together with the World Health Organization (WHO). Since the start of the program in 2007, Merck has donated over 160 million tablets of praziquantel. To date, more than 38 million patients in total have been treated, consisting primarily of school children. Merck is committed to continue its efforts to fight schistosomiasis until the disease has been eliminated in Africa. Merck’s efforts to fight schistosomiasis are in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and are also part of the initiative to fight neglected tropical diseases that was launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in early 2012.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Merck KGaA.

Your contact:

Leonard Saika

Tel: +254722762037

e-mail: leonard.saika@merckgroup.com

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Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com) is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. With its four divisions Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Performance Materials and Merck Millipore, Merck generated total revenues of € 11.1 billion in 2013. Around 39,000 Merck employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to further the success of customers and to help meet global challenges. Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70 percent interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany is holding the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company is known as EMD.