Deputy Prime Minister De Croo discusses situation in Democratic Republic of Congo with National Episcopal Conference of Congo

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo received today representatives of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO), among whom Mgr. Marcel Utembi, Archbishop of Kisangani and President of the CENCO.

Minister De Croo expressed during the meeting his gratitude for the important role played by the Episcopal Conference of Congo in avoiding violence in DRC and bringing about an inclusive political settlement with the New Year’s Eve Agreement. Due to a lack of implementation of this agreement, the situation has however reverted to a negative spiral.

Minister De Croo emphasized during the meeting the importance of a democratic transition through fair elections. A realistic elections calendar respecting the principles of the New Year’s Eve Agreement is an important aspect in this regard. The independence of the electoral commission, opening up the political space, guaranteeing freedoms and respect for Human Rights must also be ensured.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Kingdom of Belgium – Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

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Source:: Deputy Prime Minister De Croo discusses situation in Democratic Republic of Congo with National Episcopal Conference of Congo


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UK’s Special Envoy for Gender Equality Visits Cairo

On Saturday 23 September, Joanna Roper, the UK’s Special Envoy for Gender Equality, arrived in Cairo for a two day visit. During her visit, she will meet with the President of the National Council for Women in Egypt, Dr Maya Morsy, female Members of Parliament, and leaders working on women’s social and economic empowerment.

Joanna Roper was appointed as the UK’s first ever Special Envoy for Gender Equality in February this year, in recognition of the UK’s intention to integrate gender equality into foreign policy at all levels. Her role is to build international support for gender equality priorities, working with international partners to promote women’s equality.

Her visit to Egypt will focus on women’s economic empowerment, and she will meet with officials and business leaders to discuss the importance of women fully participating in the economy based on the belief that building an inclusive economy benefits not only women, but the economy as a whole. Her visit coincides with the visit of Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the UK’s Trade Envoy to Egypt, and an accompanying trade delegation looking for opportunities to invest in Egypt.

The UK’s support for the economic empowerment of women has included support for the Government of Egypt’s Takaful and Karama programs, to enable the government to better target subsidies to the poorest. 92% of the 8 million Egyptians benefiting from the programs are women. The UK also recently announced an EGP 25m social enterprise fund which will support businesses including promoting the participation of women.

The Special Envoy for Gender Equality will also meet with education specialists to discuss the importance of girls’ education, as a key factor in women’s economic empowerment.

Her visit comes during the final week of ‘Gender September’, a month of events at the British Embassy in Cairo designed to shine a spotlight on women in leadership and encourage men and women to work in partnership to support women’s political and economic inclusion.

Joanna Roper, the UK’s Gender Envoy, said:
“I am delighted that my first official visit to Egypt coincides with the Year of Woman. There are plenty of opportunities for Egypt and the UK to work together on women’s empowerment. I look forward to expanding the partnership between Egypt and the UK to include gender equality alongside and as part of our already strong partnerships on the economy and education.”

Distributed by APO on behalf of British Embassy Cairo.

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Source:: UK’s Special Envoy for Gender Equality Visits Cairo


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Libya Humanitarian Coordinator condemns the continued fighting in Sabratah causing civilian casualties

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya Maria Do Valle Ribeiro condemns the continued fighting in the city of Sabratah that has claimed a number of lives, including civilians. According to information received, three civilian men killed and eight others injured, including a woman and an 8-year-old child. These figures include a family whose car was hit by a rocket today while fleeing the conflict. Sabratah University Hospital was also hit twice by shells, causing damage to the emergency and surgery unit and they are now not operational.

“I am deeply saddened by the continued fighting in residential areas of Sabratah which has caused a number of civilian casualties due to the use of heavy and indiscriminate weapons. I send my deepest condolences to the families of victims and wish those injured a speedy recovery” Maria Ribeiro said. The Humanitarian Coordinator calls upon the parties to immediately cease hostilities, refrain from the use of indiscriminate weapons in residential areas, further military escalation and reminds the parties of their responsibility to respect the provisions of international humanitarian law and international human rights law at all times.

Note to correspondence:
Clashes have erupted between two armed groups in the city of Sabratah on Saturday 16 September, claiming the lives of three civilians so far, and injuring another eight. On 22 September, the car of a family trying to leave Sabratah to Zawiya was hit, killing a husband and wife. At least 150 to 200 families are reported to be internally displaced and are mostly staying with host families in quieter areas. The International Federation of the Red Cross and the Libyan Red Crescent Society have provided medical supplies to the Sabratah Main Hospital and the Sabratah Field Hospital. More emergency medical supplies to support the hospitals in dealing with conflict injured will be provided in the coming days.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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Source:: Libya Humanitarian Coordinator condemns the continued fighting in Sabratah causing civilian casualties


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Merck Foundation brings African and Asian Countries together to Contribute towards Building Healthcare Capacity in the Continent

  • Merck Foundation conducts their 4th Luminary for the first time in partnership with Ministry of High Education and scientific research of Egypt.
  • ‘Merck more than a Mother’ to be launched by Vice President of Tanzania and First Ladies of Central African Republic, Gambia, Chad, Niger and Republic of Guinea with the aim to empower infertile women in their countries.
  • More than 450 African healthcare providers, policy makers and researchers from Africa and Asia to benefit from several educational and social development sessions.
  • Winners of Merck Diabetes and Hypertension Awards to be announced.

After the success of Merck Africa Luminary in Germany, Kenya and cote D’Ivoire, Merck Foundation (, a non-profit company and a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany, to conduct the Fourth edition of their annual ‘Merck Africa Asia Luminary‘ on the 24th and 25th of October 2018, in partnership with Egypt’s Ministry of High Education and Scientific Research, Africa Fertility Society and the International Federation of Fertility Societies- IFFS.

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, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized “Merck Foundation will bring more than 450 healthcare providers, policy makers, academia and researchers from Africa, Asia and CIS countries to benefit from the valuable educational and social development sessions by top international experts in Diabetes, Fertility, Oncology, Cardiology, Women Health and Research, with the aim to improve disease management, early detection and prevention, build healthcare and research capacity and improve access to innovative and equitable healthcare solutions in developing countries.”

“We are very proud to have very influential women leader to inaugurate the Luminary such as: Vice President of Tanzania, H.E. Dr. Samia Hassan Suluhu, First Lady Republic of Guinea, H.E. Conde Djénè Kaba, First Lady of Gambia, H.E. Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow, First Lady of Niger, H.E. Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou, First Lady of Chad, H.E. Hinda Deby Itno and First Lady of Central African Republic, H.E. Brigitte Touadera. They will announce the start of “Merck more than a Mother” to empower infertile women through access to information, health and change of mind-set in their respective countries and the rest of Africa,” Dr Kelej added.

Key African Ministers to participate in two High Level Panels:

Two high level panels of Ministers of Health and Gender to discuss the challenges and solutions to improve access to fertility and cancer care will also take place.

The first ministerial high level panel on ‘Merck more than a Mother’s role in defining interventions to break the stigma around infertility in Africa and Asia,’ involved Hon. Zuliatu Cooper, Minister of Health & Sanitation, Sierra Leone; Hon. Julia Cassell, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Liberia; Hon. Susan Shabangu, Minister for Women, South Africa; and Hon. Betty Amongi, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Uganda and Dr Rasha Kelej , Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation to chair the panel discussion.

The second ministerial panel on “The Role of Merck Foundation Together with Governments to improve access to equitable healthcare solutions in Africa and Asia” included Hon. Chilatu Chilufya, Minister of Health Republic of Zambia; Hon. Julieta Kavetuna, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services of Namibia; Hon. Saffie Lowe Ceesay, Minister of Health, Gambia; Hon. Idi Illassou Mainassara, Minister of Health of Niger; Hon. Ngarmbatina Odimbeye Soukate, Minister of Health, Chad; Hon. Jocelyne Fernande Djengbot, Minister of Health, Central African Republic; Hon. Abdourahmane Diallo, Minister of Health of Republic of Guinea. Others in the panel include President of International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO); Prof. Dr. Kailash Sharma, Director, Tata Memorial Centre, India; Prof. Dileep Mhaisekar, Vice Chancellor – Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) India and Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Executive Officer, Merck Foundation to chair the panel.

Healthcare Providers and Academia will also be engaged in an open dialogue to explore the educational gaps with the aim to inform the successful implementation of Merck Diabetes and Hypertension Capacity Advancement Program. In addition to witness the announcement of the winners of the ‘Merck Diabetes and Hypertension Awards’ from across Africa and Asia at the Award Ceremony Dinner.

Countries participating include: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Congo, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Mali, Malawi, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Liberia, Burundi, Mali, Malawi, Equatorial Guinea, Russia, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and India, Indonesia.

Read more about the 2nd and 3rd edition of Merck Africa luminary in Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire respectively.

Distributed by APO 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.
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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.

Source:: Merck Foundation brings African and Asian Countries together to Contribute towards Building Healthcare Capacity in the Continent


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