European investors support Vantage, Africa’s leading mezzanine debt provider, with $75m of commitments

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, April 28, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Vantage Capital (http://www.vantagecapital.co.za), Africa’s leading mezzanine debt provider, today announced that the DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (“DEG”) and four other European investors are contributing a total of approximately $60m to Vantage’s third fund. DEG’s commitment to Fund III is $20m. In addition the DEG is providing $15m to a co-investment with Vantage in Surfline Communications, the leading 4G LTE network operator in Ghana. Vantage invested $15m in Surfline from its second fund late last year.

Logo Vantage Capital Group: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/vantage-logo.png

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1914

Gunnar Stork, Director Equity & Mezzanine for Africa and Latin America, said “DEG is excited to partner with Vantage in the investment in Ghana. We believe that the investment in Surfline will contribute to improve internet connectivity in Ghana and as such be an important factor to bridge the digital divide. In addition we are pleased to continue our partnership with Vantage in general by investing in Fund III, after having already been an investor in Vantage’s first Mezzanine Fund. We believe in this existing asset class on the African continent and see it as an important instrument to facilitate economic growth in Africa.”

The funds committed by DEG to Surfline will be used for the on-going expansion of the company’s 4G LTE network in Ghana as well as to enhance its product distribution and marketing capabilities. By deploying the first 4G LTE mobile network in Ghana, Surfline is able to offer high-speed internet connectivity (up to 10 times faster than the average speeds offered by the existing mobile network operators) at pricing that is competitive with existing internet service providers. The network achieved an extremely successful commercial launch in August 2014 and is experiencing tremendous growth in its customer base. Surfline was recently nominated for “Breakthrough LTE Entrant” at AfricaCom in South Africa and won “Top Emerging Brand” at the Top Brands Awards in Ghana. The investment in Surfline by Vantage and DEG was nominated by Dealmakers Magazine for “Private Equity Catalyst Deal of the Year.”

Colin Rezek, Managing Partner at Vantage, said “We are extremely pleased to receive the strong endorsement of DEG for our third mezzanine fund, which will employ a pan-African investment approach to focus on high-growth markets such as Ghana, Nigeria, the East African Community members and some of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. We also welcome DEG as a co-investor in Surfline, one of the most exciting deals out of the over 600 investment opportunities we have reviewed in the past five years.”

DEG joins other investors that have already committed funds to Vantage, including a major South African pension fund and foreign investors such as the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (“SIFEM”) which is advised by Obviam. Obviam’s Chief Investment Officer, Andrea Heinzer stated: “Based on Vantage’s robust and positive track record in South Africa, we see Vantage Capital as the ideal partner for SIFEM to develop the mezzanine asset class in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Vantage has made 12 investments in its second mezzanine fund, of which about 90% of available funds have been invested. More than half of the capital deployed has gone into growth projects such as Surfline. Vantage is targeting a final close of its third mezzanine fund at approximately $250 million later this year.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Vantage Capital Group.

Notes to Editors

About Vantage Capital

Vantage Capital Group (http://www.vantagecapital.co.za) was established in 2001 with funds under management of $12 million (R150 million) and now currently manages over $400 million (R5 billion). In addition to managing venture capital, mezzanine debt and renewable energy debt funds, Vantage also provides advisory and origination services through its debt capital markets division and makes proprietary investments using its balance sheet capital.

Mezzanine is an intermediate form of risk capital, which is situated between senior debt, the least risky tranche of the capital structure, and equity, the most risky. It combines elements of both debt and equity thereby providing companies with long-term funding on terms which are less dilutive to shareholders than pure equity. Website: www.vantagecapital.co.za

About DEG

DEG, a subsidiary of KfW, finances investments of private companies in developing and transition countries. As one of Europe’s largest development finance institutions, it promotes private business structures to contribute to sustainable economic growth and improved living conditions. Website: https://www.deginvest.de/International-financing/DEG/

About Surfline

Surfline Communications is the first mobile telecommunications operator to deploy an LTE network in Ghana. As a wholly Ghanaian owned company Surfline was established to provide wireless broadband and related services to the Ghanaian market, including meeting the emergent and largely unfulfilled data needs of Ghana’s businesses, government agencies, professional and academic communities and residential users. Surfline’s vision is to see a Ghana where people and businesses experience true mobile broadband, and the possibilities it brings. Website: www.surflinegh.com

Source:: European investors support Vantage, Africa’s leading mezzanine debt provider, with $75m of commitments

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World Immunization Week Aims to “Close the Immunization Gap” and Provide, in Africa, “a Gift for Life”

KAMPALA, Uganda, April 28, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The World Health Organization’s World Immunization Week (WIW) from 24th to 30th April this year aims to raise awareness about the importance of vaccination to people of all ages and increase rates of immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases around the world. This year WIW focuses on ‘closing the immunization gap.’ African Vaccination Week is being celebrated under the theme “Vaccination, a gift for life”.

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

Despite recent progress within African countries, there is still significant opportunities provided by immunization.

Did you know that:

• Immunization can protect against 30 different infectious diseases, from infancy to old age;

• Vaccines are one of the most successful and cost-effective public health stories;

• Immunization saves the lives of 2 to 3 million people worldwide each year.

In addition, the overall health benefits are significant. Immunised children have higher cognitive abilities and are more likely to attend school and go on to be productive members of their community.

By reducing illness and long-term disability, vaccines also generate savings for health systems and families. Health workers are freed up and parents spend less time looking after sick children1.

Immunisation programs average about 80% coverage globally. South of the Sahara, the average was 80.6% for the DPT3 vaccine in 2013, with wide disparities across countries.

Africa has made several gains beyond increasing reach of immunisation; some diseases have been eliminated through wide-scale immunisation programmes. Vaccines are available in public vaccination programmes in the vast majority of African countries, thanks to sustained political will, international support and innovative public/private partnerships2.

Ensuring equity and coverage across the continent and within countries requires sustained effort and resources. As African countries grow economically and actively finance vaccines and immunisation programmes,2.children and entire economies benefit. Fully-immunized African children have a better chance of living up to their full potential, both intellectually and physically3. And, by investing in immunization, African countries can make a lasting contribution to the millennium development goals (MDGs). These efforts will also advance the health and development commitments of African leaders and governments and allow children and adults to lead productive, prosperous, and healthy lives3.

Africa and Human Papillomavirus

• An estimated 266,000 women die every year from cervical cancer. Over 85% of those deaths occur among women in developing countries. Without changes in prevention and control, cervical cancer deaths are forecast to rise to 416,000 by 2035; and virtually all of those deaths will be in developing countries4.

• Cervical cancer is the most common of all cancers in Africa and thus continues to be a significant threat that demands urgent attention in the African Region. In 2012, over half a million new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed worldwide with 1 in 5 being in sub-Saharan Africa5.

• The primary cause of cervical pre-cancerous lesions and cancer is persistent or chronic infection with one or more types of the high risk human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the most common sexually acquired infection and is most often acquired in adolescence and young adults upon sexual debut5.

• The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates HPV infections cause approximately 68 000 cases of cervical cancer each year in Africa. However, these figures most likely represent a conservative estimate due to the health challenges in health information systems and cancer registries in the region6.

• Cervical cancer is a preventable disease. Immunisation, together with screening and treatment, is the best strategy to rapidly reduce the burden of cervical cancer7.

Uganda and HPV

• Cervical cancer in Uganda is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women and the most common cancer found in women between 15 and 44 years of age. About 3,915 new cervical cancer cases are diagnosed annually in Uganda (estimation for 2012) and 2275 women die annually from the disease8.

• The primary cause of cervical pre-cancer lesions and cancer is persistent or chronic infection with one or more types of the high risk human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the most common sexually acquired infection and is most often acquired in adolescence and young adults upon sexual debut9.

• Immunisation to protect against HPV, together with screening and treatment, is the best strategy to rapidly reduce the burden of cervical cancer10.

• National rollout of the HPV vaccine programme in Uganda is expected this year. This vaccination programme will help Uganda achieve its goal to prevent unnecessary deaths from cervical cancer in Uganda and support an entire generation of women to live healthy, and productive lives.

• MSD commends the great progress Uganda has made in its HPV immunization efforts and supports its continued partnership with Uganda’s Ministry of Health to expand HPV vaccine coverage across the country.

“For more than 100 years, scientists at MSD has been discovering and developing vaccines to help prevent certain diseases in children, adolescents and adults,” said Farouk Shamas Jiwa, Director, Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility in Africa, MSD. “We have an important responsibility to improve access to vaccines and quality healthcare worldwide. We do this by working in partnership with others — governments, donors, patient organizations, healthcare professionals, NGOs, multilateral organizations and others in the private sector — to lend our expertise and knowledge. Our commitment is steadfast as we work to increase access to vaccines now and in the future.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of MSD (Merck Sharp & Dohme).

Contacts for Media:

Charlie McCurdy,

Global Communications | Eastern Europe/Middle East/Africa

T: +1 267-305-7545

E: charles.mccurdy@merck.com

Farouk Shamas Jiwa,

Director, Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility in Africa

T: +41 799623934

E: farouk.jiwa@merck.com

About MSD

Today’s MSD (http://www.merck.com) is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.msd.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

References:

1. http://www.gavi.org/about/value/

2. http://sa.au.int/en/sites/default/files/2014_Status_Report_on%20MNCH%20-%20English_1.pdf

3. www.carmma.org/download/file/fid/821

4. http://www.gavi.org/support/nvs/human-papillomavirus-vaccine-support/?utm_source=The+Alliance+at+work&utm_campaign=c7db6ec405-The_Alliance_at_Work_Issue_7&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b075913875-c7db6ec405-407303021

5. http://www.afro.who.int/en/media-centre/pressreleases/item/7550-implementing-cervical-cancer-interventions-key-to-save-african-women.html

6. http://www.afro.who.int/en/media-centre/afro-feature/item/7557-cervical-cancer-common-amongst-african-women.html

7. http://www.gavi.org/support/nvs/human-papillomavirus-vaccine-support/

8. http://www.hpvcentre.net/statistics/reports/UGA.pdf

9. http://www.afro.who.int/en/media-centre/pressreleases/item/7550-implementing-cervical-cancer-interventions-key-to-save-african-women.html

Source:: World Immunization Week Aims to “Close the Immunization Gap” and Provide, in Africa, “a Gift for Life”

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EU-Africa B2B Forum – 1 week to go: The UEMOA is ready to present key investment opportunities

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, April 28, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU, also known by its French acronym, UEMOA), is one of the strategic partners of the 1st edition of the EU-Africa B2B Forum (http://www.eu-africa-cc.org) to be held on 06 -08 May 2015 in Mons (Belgium), with Euronews as main media partner.

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

Photo ‘Save the Date4: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/150310euacc.jpg

The UEMOA will present several investment projects, including projects on roads linking the most important West African cities, during a dedicated workshop. Other African Countries as Ghana, Rwanda, Madagascar, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Morocco, and Senegal have also been invited to present investment opportunities.

The main focus of the EU-Africa B2B Forum is to provide a high level platform for Business-to-Business (B2B) and matchmaking meetings. The EU-Africa B2B Forum enables business contacts between professionals from African and European private sectors.

More than are already 500 participants registered from over 50 countries: http://bit.ly/1GmhQEO

Among high level participants invited to attend the EU-Africa B2B Forum 2015, is HEM John Dramani Mahama, President of Ghana, as well as Ministers from different African countries who confirmed their participation: HEM Narson Rafidimanana, Minister of Industry and Private Sector Development, Madagascar; HEM Frédéric Nikièma, Minister of Communication, Spokesman of the Government, Burkina Faso; HEM Emmanuel Bonde, Minister of Mines, Industry and Technological Development, Cameroon; HEM Lahcen Haddad, Minister of Tourism, Morocco; HEM Elio Di Rupo, Former Prime Minister, Mayor City of Mons, Belgium; HEM Willy Borsu, Minister of the Middle Class, SMEs, Self-employed and Agriculture, Belgium.

See confirmed high-level participants here: http://bit.ly/1GmhQEO

The EU-Africa B2B Forum is also partner to this year European Business Summit: http://www.ebsummit.eu

The EU-Africa B2B Forum will take place in Mons, this year European Capital of Culture.

Latest Agenda: http://bit.ly/1AHDXli

The EU-Africa Chamber of Commerce (EUACC) is headquartered in Brussels since 2012. The EUACC’s mission is to promote the development of the African private sector and to encourage win-win and sustainable business partnerships between the European and African private sectors.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the EU-Africa Chamber of Commerce (EUACC).

Media contact

Sonia Toro

Director Communication and CSR

E-mail: sonia.toro@eu-africa-cc.org

Tel.: +32 471 10 84 83

Source:: EU-Africa B2B Forum – 1 week to go: The UEMOA is ready to present key investment opportunities

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UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to review Sudan

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 28, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Sudan’s record on tackling racial discrimination will face scrutiny by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on Monday 4 May and Tuesday 5 May in meetings that will be webcast live.

Sudan is one of the 177 States Parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and so is required to submit regular reports to the Committee, which is composed of 18 international independent experts.

The Committee will engage in a dialogue with the Sudanese Government delegation on 4 May from 15:00 to 18:00 (16:00 to 19:00 in Sudan) and on 5 May from 10:00 to 13:00 (11:00-12:00).

Venue: Palais Wilson, Geneva

Live webcast: www.treatybodywebcast.org.

The Committee will also hear from other UN entities and NGOs.

Among the possible issues to be discussed: Vulnerability of ethnic minorities to police harassment; preservation of ethnic and cultural diversity of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states and customs and traditions of Nuba peoples; situation of ethnic and tribal groups in Red Sea and Kassala states; situation of internally displaced people; political representation of ethnic minorities; impact of 2011 amendment to nationality law on South Sudanese people in Sudan, including risk of statelessness.

More information, including Sudan’s written report, here: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=977&Lang=en

A news conference is scheduled for 14:30 on Friday 15 May at Palais des Nations in Geneva to discuss the Committee’s concluding observations on Sudan and the other countries being reviewed – France, Guatemala, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany and Denmark. The concluding observations will be published here on 15 May: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=977&Lang=en

Source:: UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to review Sudan

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Statement attributable to the Spokesman of the Secretary-General on Darfur

NEW YORK, April 28, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the recent increase in attacks on peacekeepers serving in the African Union United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the limited cooperation provided by the Government of Sudan in addressing these incidents. The Secretary-General condemns the two successive attacks by unidentified armed groups that occurred in Kass, South Darfur, on 23 and 24 April. Six peacekeepers were wounded and four attackers killed when UNAMID troops returned fire in self-defence. The Secretary-General wishes the injured a speedy recovery.

The Secretary-General urges the Government of Sudan to ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice and take all necessary action to avoid further attacks on or threats against peacekeepers in Darfur. UNAMID has launched its own investigation into the incidents.

The Secretary-General also deeply regrets that, on 26 April, the Government of Sudan denied a flight request for the emergency medical evacuation of an Ethiopian peacekeeper injured while forming his duties in Mujkar in West Darfur. The peacekeeper died hours later. The Secretary-General conveys his condolences to the Government of Ethiopia and to the family of the deceased. He calls on the Government of Sudan to respect the Status of Forces Agreement signed with the United Nations and lift all restrictions placed on the Mission.

The Secretary-General underscores the need for the Government of Sudan and the United Nations to work in full cooperation, especially in the context of the ongoing discussion on the UNAMID exit strategy.

The Secretary-General expresses his appreciation and support to UNAMID and its troops for their tireless efforts to implement their mandate.

Source:: Statement attributable to the Spokesman of the Secretary-General on Darfur

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Chad — IMF Executive Board Completes First Review Under the ECF Arrangement, Approves Augmentation and US$27.7 Million Disbursement

NDJAMENA, Chad, April 28, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the first review of Chad’s economic performance under the program supported by an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement.1 It also approved the authorities’ request for an augmentation of access by SDR 26.64 million (40 percent of the country’s quota).

Completion of the review enables the immediate disbursement of SDR 19.97 million (about US$27.7 million), including SDR 6.66 million (about US$9.2 million) from the augmentation. This brings total disbursements under the arrangement so far to SDR 33.28 million (about US$46.2 million).

The Board granted waivers for the nonobservance of the performance criteria on net domestic government financing and on poverty-reducing social spending.

In addition, the Board also agreed that Chad has taken the steps necessary to reach the completion point under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. This decision on the HIPC completion point is contingent upon the Executive Board of the World Bank concluding that Chad has reached the completion point under the Enhanced HIPC Initiative, after which a joint press release will be issued.

Chad’s three-year ECF arrangement in the amount equivalent to SDR 79.92 million (about US$110.9 million), was approved by the Board on August 1, 2014 (see Press Release No. 14/381).

Following the Executive Board’s discussion on Chad, Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Acting Chair and Deputy Managing Director, said:

“Despite the collapse in oil prices, the deterioration of regional security, and the attendant influx of refugees, performance under the Fund-supported economic program has been broadly satisfactory in 2014. In particular, the non-oil primary deficit target, the main fiscal anchor of the program, was achieved and progress on the structural agenda was in line with program objectives, with a continued focus on strengthening public financial management.

“The macroeconomic outlook for 2015 and the medium term is significantly affected by the prospects of lower oil revenues. The authorities have responded decisively, including by undertaking a sizable fiscal adjustment under the revised 2015 budget awaiting parliamentary approval, while protecting poverty-reducing spending. The revised budget is to be financed by domestic financing sources, the rescheduling of oil sale advances, and budget support from international partners as well as an augmentation of access under the current arrangement under the Fund’s Extended Credit Facility.

“Chad has made commendable progress in increasing the transparency of oil revenue flows and achieved full compliance with the standards of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Further efforts, however, are needed to keep pace with structural changes in the oil sector. The structural reform agenda remains focused on improving public financial management and removing obstacles to private sector development, economic diversification, and inclusive growth.

“The external debt burden will fall significantly after reaching the HIPC completion point, releasing resources for investment and poverty reduction. However, Chad remains at high risk of debt distress and prudent fiscal and borrowing policies remain essential.”

1 The ECF is a lending arrangement that provides sustained program engagement over the medium to long term in case of protracted balance of payments problems.

Source:: Chad — IMF Executive Board Completes First Review Under the ECF Arrangement, Approves Augmentation and US$27.7 Million Disbursement

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