IMF Staff Concludes Visit to Uganda 2017

  • IMF team made progress on developing the pillars of a three-year economic program.
  • Growth is projected to reach 5 percent in 2017/18 from 4 percent in 2016/17.

An IMF team led by Axel Schimmelpfennig visited Uganda from October 23 to November 3, 2017, to initiate discussions for a macroeconomic program under the Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI).

At the end of the visit, Mr. Schimmelpfennig issued the following statement:

“The team had productive discussions and progress was made on developing the pillars of a three-year economic program. The team will continue the dialogue in the coming months to define targets for the next fiscal year and identify specific measures to achieve them”.

“Growth is projected to reach 5 percent in 2017/18 from 4 percent in 2016/17, supported by better weather conditions, while private sector credit remains muted. Inflation was 4.8 percent year-on-year in October. Bank of Uganda has appropriately continued its easing cycle in October, with core inflation projected to remain in line with the 5 percent target. The team notes with concern the increase in the poverty headcount ratio to 27 percent of the population in the 2016/17 UBOS Household Survey”.

“Implementation of the FY17/18 budget is challenging. Parliament did not approve some of the government’s revenue enhancing measures, while additional expenditure pressures have given rise to a supplementary budget. This widens the overall fiscal deficit and increases the government’s financing needs. The team advised the authorities to explore alternative revenue measures and contain expenditure pressures, while protecting social spending”.

“In establishing the FY18/19 fiscal targets, the team encouraged the authorities to continue the strategy of increasing revenue collection by at least 0.5% percent of GDP per year. The team also underlined the importance of targeting a deficit that maintains debt sustainability and is consistent with available domestic financing. The team welcomed the authorities’ ongoing work to identify policy implications from the Household Survey and the stock-taking exercise of the infrastructure investment pipeline which will lead to better prioritized development spending”.

“The IMF team met with Minister Kasaija, Governor Tumusiime-Mutebile, State Minister of Finance for Planning Bahati, State Minister of Finance General Duties Ajedra, Permanent Secretary and Secretary of the Treasury Muhakanizi, Deputy Governor Kasekende, Commissioner General Akol, and other senior government officials, representatives of civil society, the private sector, and development partners”.

“The team thanks the authorities for the open and constructive dialogue.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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UNWTO expresses confidence on tourism in Madagascar

The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Taleb Rifai has visited Madagascar to express the Organization’s full support to the tourism sector. Madagascar’s tourism is facing a challenging situation following a plague outbreak which has prompted some countries to implement travel restrictions with Madagascar. Mr Rifai recalled the World Health Organization (WHO) advises no restriction on travel or trade on Madagascar.

“UNWTO is echoing the advice by WHO to governments not to rush to issue inaccurate travel advisories. The WHO Key Messages updates dated 26 October recalls that the risk of international spread appears unlikely. WHO advises no restriction on travel or trade on Madagascar based on the current available information” said Mr. Rifai.

“We can not penalise a country twice – once by the country being hit and having to confront and pay the direct heavy price of a devastating crisis and second by us, human community, falling into misguided perceptions and, as a result , shunning and isolating the victim country and adding to the problem rather than to the solution” he added.

WHO recalls that it is important to strike a balance between encouraging countries in the region to be ready to act in case of an outbreak, while avoiding panic that could result in unnecessary or counterproductive measures such as trade restrictions or travel bans on affected countries.

“We are facing a perception crisis. Clear and factual communication on the real situation in Madagascar is crucial to prevent damaging advisories from adding gravity to the crisis” said Rifai.

Meeting with the Minister of Tourism, members of government, the President of the National Assembly, representatives from the United Nations in Madagascar, including the WHO Resident Coordinator, the World Bank, local private sector and media, Mr Rifai recalled that “positive news are coming out of the sector such as the new strategic partnership between Air Madagascar and Air Austral. We need to communicate the good news; build our capacity and restore confidence”.

The Minister of Tourism Roland Ratsiraka recalled “Being an island with 80% endemic biodiversity, Madagascar has a natural calling for sustainable tourism” said the Minister of Tourism. “Mr. Secretary General, your visit is rich in meaning, gives hope to a whole people and those who still doubt the economic benefits of the tourism industry” he added.

“Collaboration among all countries in crisis situations is critical and we call upon all countries in the region to cooperate in a way that reinforces prevention without creating unnecessary travel bans” said the Najib Balala, Chair of the UNWTO Commission for Africa and Minister of Tourism of Kenya.

UNWTO Secretary-General and the Minister of Tourism of Madagascar will be meeting the press this week at the World Travel Market in London to brief on the current situation in the country.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

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Merck Foundation Launched by First Ladies of Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, Gambia and Guinea Conakry and Chairperson of National Assembly of Namibia

  • Dr Rasha Kelej is the First Female, African and Youngest ever Chief Executive Officer for Merck Foundation.
  • The First Ladies of Central African Republic, Gambia, Chad , Niger and Republic of Guinea announced to be ambassadors for Merck more than a Mother campaign in their countries.
  • More than 450 African healthcare providers, policy makers and researchers from Africa and Asia benefited from the luminary sessions.

Merck KGaA ( Germany launches their Merck Foundation (, a non-profit company established in June 2017 at their Fourth edition of their annual “Merck Africa Asia Luminary” held in Cairo, Egypt.

During the conference The First Ladies of Africa congratulated Dr. Rasha Kelej , CEO for her appointment as the CEO of Merck Foundation which makes her the the first Female , African and Youngest ever Chief Executive Officer for Merck Foundation. And at Merck.

Chairperson of National Assembly of Namibia, Hon. Margaret Mensah-Williams emphasized “I am very proud to be an ambassador for Merck Foundation in my country, the appointment of Dr. Rasha Kelej as the CEO of Merck foundation is a great proof that Merck believes in women empowerment, diversity and empowering of African talents as a core part of their strategy. Such an important vision which we all share as African women leaders.

Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of E-Merck KG emphasized “Merck is a value driven company and that is one of the reasons why Merck through its foundation is committed to support the social and economic development of Africa, Asia and developing countries by building healthcare capacity and improving access to innovative and equitable healthcare in the continent.”

Dr. Rasha Kelej emphasized in our interview “I am very proud to have very influential women leader to launch Merck foundation and inaugurate the Luminary”.

The First Ladies pledged their committed to long term partnership with Merck foundation and their foundation and ministries of health of their countries to implement the fertility and cancer access programs in their countries.

First Lady of Chad, Madame Hinda Deby Itno emphasized “I will be very happy to lead campaigns and raise awareness about infertility to break the stigma around infertile women together with Merck foundation, we are discussing the execution of the training programs for our first fertility specialists in my country which will contribute to helping couples to find solutions to make happy families.”

A side meeting have been held with each First lady and ministers of health to define the strategy and execution plans of Merck more than a mother and Merck Cancer access program.

Individual visits have been decided toi identify infertile women and enroll them in Merck more than a mother empowerment programs in each country.

First Lady of Niger, H. E, Madam Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou said “we are very proud to partner with Merck Foundation for such noble cause, I am happy to accept the appointment as an ambassador of Merck more than a mother to empower infertile women through access to awareness, health and change of mindset in Niger”.

First Lady of Guinea Conakry, H.E. Madam Djene Kaba Condé commented “I am personally involved in community awareness to empower women in my country, I welcome this noble cause to save women from discrimination and mistreatment for no reason at all except their inability of bearing children which is equally caused by their husbands and yet they are solely blamed for it. We will work very closely with Merck more than a mother to change this unfair behavior and create a culture shift. We are also very happy to provide oncology training for our doctors as we do not have any oncologists in Guinea, this will leave a very strong impact on the health of my people.”

First lady of Central African Republic, H.E, Madam Brigitte Touadera has received an acknowledgment award from Merck foundation as a recognition for her successful role as ambassador for Merck more than a Mother in 2016 and 2017 and the successful partnership with Merck foundation to build healthcare capacity in the post conflict country.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Merck Foundation.

Media contact:
Sandrah Mulluka

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About Merck Foundation:
The Merck Foundation (, established in 2017, is a philanthropic organization that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to innovative healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website. Please go to to read more and/or register online to interact and exchange experience with our registered members.

Merck Foundation is a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany.

About Merck:
Merck ( is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

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Source:: Merck Foundation Launched by First Ladies of Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, Gambia and Guinea Conakry and Chairperson of National Assembly of Namibia


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Sage Foundation, The Bricon Foundation partner to raise ₦3.6m to support cancer patients

The Sage Foundation ( has partnered with The Bricon Foundation (, a Nigeria-based non-profit organisation that helps to raise awareness about cancer and assists cancer patients and their families, in the ‘Keeping Hope Alive Challenge’. The challenge aims to raise $10,000 (about N3.6 million) to support cancer patients who cannot afford medical treatment.

The Keeping Hope Alive $10k Challenge has three phases, the first of which was the ‘Walk the Talk (’ cancer walk in Lagos, on Friday, 27 October, to raise funds and create awareness about breast cancer. The Sage Foundation appealed to colleagues, business partners, customers and the wider community to support the cause by getting people to sponsor their walk, the proceeds of which will go towards the Keeping Hope Alive fundraising initiative.

Every year, more than 80,000 Nigerians lose their battle with cancer, and more than 100,000 new cases are recorded. For many of the two million Nigerians living with the disease, life-saving medical treatment is not an option, either because of the high cost or because there are not enough support centres equipped to handle the disease.

“The Keeping Hope Alive Challenge forms part of the Sage Foundation’s global $1 million challenge (, which aims to raise about $1 million to support charities around the world,” says Magnus Nmonwu (, Regional Director for Sage in West Africa. “When detected early, cancer is treatable, and it’s not right that millions of people are affected because they cannot afford medical care. The Sage Foundation is committed to building opportunities in local communities and we believe that, together, we are stronger against cancer.”

“Nigeria has the worst cancer death rate in Africa, at a shocking 80%. The majority of deaths are due to late presentation and/or inaccessibility to medical care. At Bricon, we believe that, through awareness, early detection and providing appropriate and timely support to cancer patients and their families, we can bring that figure down and make a difference in millions of lives,” says Abigail Simon-Hart the co-founder of The Bricon Foundation.

The Bricon Foundation was established to provide practical support to cancer patients and their families. This includes funding for treatment, diagnostic tests and medication, subsidising or providing free mastectomy products, and providing training to local nurses and doctors supported by International partners.

The remaining two events in the “Keeping Hope Alive” Challenge include:

  • The KHA button campaign that encourages people to wear a button during November to show their support for the cause.
  • A fundraising Football match in the first quarter of 2018.

To support one or all three events, direct donations can be made to the Bricon Foundation:

  • Account Name: The Bricon Foundation
  • Bank: GTB Plc
  • Account Number: 0223638186
  • Reference code: SAGEF KHA

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Sage.

Media contact:
Thuli Lamani
Tel: +27 (0) 11 803 0030
Mobile: +27 (0) 83 716 2572

Del-Mari Roberts
Tel: +27 (0) 11 803 0030
Mobile: +27 (0) 72 5958 053

Idea Engineers (PR agency for Sage).

About Sage:
Sage (FTSE: SGE) ( is the global market leader for technology that helps businesses of all sizes manage everything from money to people – whether they’re a start-up, scale-up or enterprise. We do this through Sage Business Cloud – the one and only business management solution that customers will ever need, comprising Accounting, Financials, Enterprise Management, People & Payroll and Payments & Banking.

Our mission is to free business builders from the burden of admin, so they can spend more time doing what they love – and we do that every day for three million customers across 23 countries, through our 13000 colleagues and a network of accountants and partners. We are committed to doing business the right way, and giving back to our communities through Sage Foundation.

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Source:: Sage Foundation, The Bricon Foundation partner to raise ₦3.6m to support cancer patients


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