|The pay-out enables nearly 30,000 farming households to cover immediate needs including the purchase of food and payment of children’s school fees|
May 9, 2018
Poor rainfall in parts of Africa has triggered the largest insurance pay-out to date for vulnerable farmers under an innovative climate risk management scheme known as the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative (R4). Farmers participating in R4 – launched by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Oxfam America in 2011 – will receive insurance payments totalling US$ 1.5 million to compensate for weather-related crop losses in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal and Zambia.
The pay-out enables nearly 30,000 farming households to cover immediate needs including the purchase of food and payment of children’s school fees. Many smallholders also invest a portion of the pay-out in seeds or fertilizers, or in starting small-scale family businesses.
Insurance is a central component of R4, providing smallholders with protection against extreme weather shocks linked to climate change. Insurance payments are based on an index of rainfall, vegetation or yield estimates determining the extent of the loss incurred by participating farmers. Compensation is paid if the index falls below a pre-determined threshold – in this most recent instance, it was because of drought during the growing seasons in the five countries.
“In Malawi, more than 7,000 drought-affected families will receive an insurance payment worth US$ 400,000. This is the first time that a weather index insurance programme has delivered payouts at such a large scale in Malawi, “says Benoit Thiry, Country Director for WFP Malawi. “Insurance is a key element which complements other initiatives being undertaken to make people more resilient to weather-related shocks.”
R4 combines four inter-linked elements: improved natural resource management (risk reduction), insurance (risk transfer), the promotion of investment including better access to micro-credit (prudent risk taking) and savings (risk reserves). The initiative reaches over 57,000 farmers in Africa who are vulnerable to climate risk. Since 2011, a total of more than US$2.4 million have been distributed in pay-outs to R4 participants in Ethiopia, Senegal, Kenya, Zambia and Malawi as compensation for weather-related losses. The programme is supported by the governments of the United States, Switzerland, Flanders, the United Kingdom, France, the Republic of Korea, Canada and Sweden.
Distributed by APO Group
|Twenty candidates from Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, Namibia, Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, Liberia, Tanzania, and Kenya have enrolled in the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program|
May 8, 2018
Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, continues the second stage of their Africa Oncology Fellowship Program that started in 2016 with the aim to increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa. In June 2017, BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH), and the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) released a white paper on the African continent’s emerging cancer crisis.
Over 20% of African countries have no access to cancer treatments at all, while access is limited and sporadic in other countries. Later-stage diagnosis in African patients contributes to poorer outcomes. For example, 5-year female breast cancer relative survival rates are 46% in Uganda and 12% in The Gambia, compared with around 90% in developed countries, the report cited.
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “One of the main objectives of Merck Foundation is to build a strong platform of qualified medical, paediatric and surgical oncologists across the continent through the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program.”
“Twenty candidates from Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, Namibia, Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, Liberia, Tanzania, and Kenya have enrolled in the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program in partnership with African Ministries of Health, the University of Nairobi, Kenya, Tata Memorial Centre, India, and Cairo University, Egypt. We are very proud of our contribution, to lead Africa to a better future through changing the landscape of Cancer care in the continent.” Rasha Kelej added.
In partnership with Ministries of Health and Academia across Africa, the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program provides one-year and two-year oncology fellowship programs and a three-year master degree in medical oncology at Tata Memorial Centre, India, University of Nairobi, Kenya, University of Malaya, Malaysia, and Cairo University, Egypt, respectively.
Launched in 2016, with the aim to increase the limited number of qualified oncologists in the continent, three medical doctors from Sub-Saharan African countries Kenya, and South Africa were granted a two-year Africa medical oncology fellowship training at the University of Nairobi. Also, Merck Foundation supported another two African doctors from Ghana and Tanzania for the Paediatric and Adult.
Medical Fellowship program that is conducted annually at Tata Memorial Centre, India. In 2017; Merck Foundation partnered with more African countries such as; Rwanda, Liberia, Zambia, Ethiopia, Botswana and Uganda to provide ten candidates with the one-year oncology fellowship program in India and three candidates from Liberia, Ghana and Namibia to conduct a master degree in clinical oncology at Cairo University, Egypt.
“In 2018, We will continue to enroll more candidates and engage other countries on this program as we firmly believe this is a vital component of improving the quality and accessibility of cancer care in Africa. We have received requests from countries such as; Niger, guinea, Gambia, the Central African Republic to partner with them through their First Ladies’ offices and Ministries of Health to provide our fellowship program to their doctors with the aim to improve access to quality cancer care in their countries and across the continent. Merck Foundation will continue their long-term commitment to further partner with more Sub-Saharan African Countries to realize their vision to create a strong platform of future trained oncologists “, Rasha Kelej added.
The partnership between Merck Foundation and The African First ladies’ organization has been established in Jan 2018, to cooperate in building healthcare capacity with the special focus on cancer, Diabetes and fertility care in their countries with the support of their Ministries of Health.
Merck Foundation has supported the African governments to define their strategies, to emphasize on building professional capacity and focus on long-term training, with the aim to develop trained oncologists and not only relying on Drug or equipment donation, which will help them to be independent and would overcome their major challenge, which is the lack of skilled oncologists and healthcare professionals in general.
Merck Foundation strongly believes that building professional healthcare capacity is the right strategy to improve access to quality and equitable cancer care in Africa.
Merck Foundation makes History:
Merck Foundation will train the first medical Oncologist in some Sub- Saharan African Countries such as the Gambia and Guinea Conakry where they never had an oncologist or cancer care facility, we are making history there, and through them, we will transform people’s lives every day.
The annual platform of Merck Foundation- Merck Africa Asia Luminary and Solutions for Cancer Access:
Since 2013, Merck Africa Asia Luminary features a workshop dedicated exclusively to improve access to cancer care through Capacity building through Merck Foundation, www.merck-foundation.com. It convenes key players from the global, regional and local cancer network, health ministers, and First ladies, with the goal of encouraging dialogue among stakeholders, raises awareness of the issues, explores partnership opportunities to generate ideas for potential solutions to existing challenges.
Merck Foundation Vision and Call for Action:
“A world where everyone should lead a healthy and fulfilling life, this is Merck Foundation ‘s vision. We are working together to achieve the Sustainable Development goals- SDGs. The SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, calls us to sustainably invest on building healthcare capacity to improve access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable healthcare solutions for all by 2030.” Kelej emphasized.
The African Union has targeted by 2063, every citizen will have full access to affordable and quality health care services, and integrated and comprehensive health services and infrastructure will be in place, where services are available, accessible, affordable, acceptable and of quality.
Distributed by APO Group
BERLIN, Germany, March 13, 2018/ — An African ministerial working meeting conveyed by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) during this year’s Berlin International Tourism Fair ITB (8 March) agreed to move ahead with a new ten-point UNWTO Agenda for Africa. The final document will be adopted at the UNWTO Commission meeting for Africa, taking place in Nigeria in June this year.
Against the backdrop of international tourist arrivals expanding 8% in Africa in 2017, thus outgrowing the world average increase in arrivals, tourism is gaining weight as a development opportunity for the whole continent, with its vast diversity of nature, culture and wildlife its greatest vehicle for development.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili stressed that “tourism has huge potential to generate lasting development opportunities in Africa if we manage it in the right way, which is economic, social and environmental sustainability”.
The participants from 17 countries, including 14 ministers, supported a coordinated approach to seizing the continent’s potential for tourism, a sector that last year attracted more than 62 million international visitors. Issues on the UNWTO Agenda for Africa include, among others, connectivity, the image and brand of Africa, poverty alleviation, climate change, education and skills development, and financing. Delegates underscored the importance of educating other economic sectors on the broad impact of tourism for the benefit of societies and its people, and promoting tourism as a priority in national agendas.
The detailed, four-year UNWTO Agenda for Africa will be approved at the upcoming 61st Regional Commission for Africa – UNWTO’s annual gathering of all its member countries of the continent – in the Nigerian capital of Abuja (4-6 June).
The following countries were represented at the meeting at ITB: Angola, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
NIAMEY, Niger, March 8, 2018/ –Merck launched their Merck Foundation in Niger in partnership with the First Lady of Niger and their Ministry of Health. During the launch event Merck Foundation, a non-profit organization and a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany, marked ‘International women’s Day’ in Niger to empower infertile women through “Merck More Than a Mother” campaign.
During the event, Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board of E.Merck KG and the Chairman of Merck Foundation Board of Trustees emphasized, “We are very proud to launch our Merck Foundation in partnership with the First Lady of Niger and Ministry of Health to build healthcare capacity, improve access to Cancer and Diabetes care and to empower infertile women in the country.”
Dr. Rasha Kelej CEO of Merck Foundation explained, “We are very proud to appoint H.E. Mrs. Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou, the First Lady of The Republic of Niger, as an ambassador of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign, to work closely with Merck Foundation in defining interventions to break the stigma around childless women across the country. Through our partnership, we will transform the lives of those unprivileged women, women who suffered all their lives from the Infertility stigma.”
Her Excellency, the First Lady of Niger, H.E. Mrs. Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou emphasized, “I truly value our partnership with Merck Foundation. I firmly believe that building professional capacity is a good strategy to help our government to improve access to healthcare in our country. I will also work closely with Merck foundation to break the stigma around infertility at all levels by raising awareness, training the skills of local experts and by supporting childless women in starting their small businesses.”
She added “Currently, we don’t have any oncologist or fertility specialists in Niger, we even do not have cancer care facility and fertility clinic in the country. Merck Foundation makes history in the Niger, through its ‘Merck Oncology Fellowship Program’ and ‘Merck More Than a Mother’. They will provide training to the first oncologists and fertility specialists for Niger.
“As per the information received from the Ministry of Health, for 22 Million population, Niger has only six oncologists, one hematologist, and 12 radiotherapists. This gap is of course not enough to give proper access to quality and equitable cancer care across the country. We hope we can significantly increase the number of oncologists in the next three years.” Rasha Kelej added.
Merck foundation is committed to providing one-year to two-years Oncology Fellowship Programs and Clinical Fertility Management Training to four candidates from Niger in 2018 and is determined to provide training to more candidates in the future.
Moreover, Merck Foundation is committed to contributing toward advancing Diabetes Care in Niger, by providing online Diabetes Management Diploma in the French language, for medical postgraduates in Niger and other Francophone African countries, so that they can learn more about diagnosis and treatment of diabetes. The course is accredited by ‘Royal College of General Practitioners’ in the UK.
About Merck Foundation in Niger:
Merck Foundation is going to provide the oncology and clinical fertility training to the following healthcare professionals from Niger:
1. Dr. Mamadou Oumarou Ramatou- Adult medical oncology
2. Dr. Mahamadou Aichatou- Paediatric Oncology
3. Dr. Alhousseini Alhassane Laila- Radiation oncology
4. Dr. Moussa Soffo Issa- Radiation technician
Clinical Fertility Management Training
1. Dr. Abdoulaye Maiga
2. Dr. Barkire Fatoumatou
3. Dr. Lawali Chekarao Mamadou.
So far, candidates from Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, Namibia, Tanzania, Ghana, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Botswana, Liberia, Rwanda, Kenya, Chad, Niger, Guinea, Gambia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Nepal have benefitted from Merck Foundation’s training programs in fertility or oncology fellowships. Merck Foundation aims to expand to more African and Asian countries soon.
LOME, Togo, March 5, 2018/ — Francophone West Africa leads in intra-regional trade with trade hotspots around Dakar, Abidjan, Cotonou and Lomé, according to analysis by Ecobank’s research team in its new website, AfricaFICC.
The team has updated Ecobank’s flagship Africa Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Guidebook (FICC) and made it available as an online resource: The website provides key facts for businesses and investors on the economies of Sub-Saharan Africa and the key sectors of activity.
The first regional section of the website to go live is Francophone West Africa, one of the most diverse regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. Stretching from Senegal and Cape Verde in the West to Niger 2,000 miles away in the East, Francophone West Africa covers nine countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. Together they make up the Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest-Africaine (UEMOA). The website gives a country-by-country analysis of each country, with an economic outlook, details on the FX, FI and banking sectors, and overview of the mineral, energy and soft commodity sectors, as well as key trade flows.
Data for Francophone West Africa show that, despite geographical differences, the region is one of the best integrated economic and monetary zones in Africa, bolstered by the shared currency (the CFA franc), the common legal system (OHADA) and the French language which has fostered economic integration and intra-regional trade.
Key factors to consider include:
- The region’s economy is driven by agriculture, mining, hydrocarbons, trade and financial services, and is home to the world’s largest producer of cocoa (Côte d’Ivoire) and Africa’s largest regional producers of cotton and palm oil.
- Abidjan, Dakar, Cotonou and Lomé are key trade hubs for trade, acting as conduits for the import and export of goods and services, both to the international market and to sub-regional markets.
- Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal account for more than half the block’s GDP and trade flows, acting as vital lifelines for their landlocked neighbours, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Benin and Togo are also major re-export hubs for capital & consumer goods and food, with large informal volumes not being captured by official data.
- Côte d’Ivoire has the largest banking sector in UEMOA, followed by Senegal. Both countries are emerging as the key Fintech innovation hubs in Francophone Africa.
“Many businesses and investors struggle to find good and reliable economic data about Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Dr. Edward George, Ecobank’s Head of Group Research.
“Our new Africa FICC website offers a one-stop shop, with all the key economic, currency, banking, commodity and trade data that those working or investing in Sub-Saharan Africa need at their fingertips,” he said.
“Ecobank understands regional and local business customs, regulations and country-specific risks better than any other bank in Africa because we operate on the ground in 33 markets. This data will help us and our clients in making investment and other financial decisions as part of our seamless service,” said Charles Daboiko, Group Head for Francophone West Africa.
Country guides for the other regions of Sub-Saharan Africa – Anglophone West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa & Southern Africa – will go live over the coming month.
Country guides from other regions of sub-Saharan Africa – English-speaking West Africa, Central Africa, Eastern Africa and Southern Africa – will be posted online in the coming months.
Appendix 1: FICC facts and figures
• Benin is one of smallest countries in West Africa.
• It is West Africa’s third-largest cotton producer, with estimated output of 150,000 tonnes of cotton lint in 2016/17 – Benin’s most valuable export, worth US$187mn in 2016, with most exports going to India, Malaysia, Bangladesh and China for spinning and textiles.
• Benin is a major re-export hub, serving as a key informal conduit for capital and consumer goods going into and out of its eastern neighbour, Nigeria.
• Burkina Faso has recently emerged as West Africa’s third largest producer of gold (after Ghana and Mali), with estimated output of 45 tonnes in 2017 and is now its most valuable export, worth US$1.6bn in 2016. Thanks to major investment production of gold is expanding, along with other minerals such as zinc (169,000 tonnes produced in 2016) and lead (2,000 tonnes).
• Burkina Faso is West Africa’s leading cotton producer, with estimated output of 283,000 tonnes of cotton lint in 2016/17 which totalled US$423mn in 2016. It is also a significant producer of sesame (95,000 tonnes in 2017) and cashew nuts (86,000 tonnes), all exported raw to world markets.
• One of Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading soft commodity exporters, accounting for 14.2% of the total in 2016. Cocoa and cocoa products were the largest export, totalling US$5.7 bn.
• The world’s leading producer of cocoa, with record output of 2.01mn tonnes in 2016/17 (October-September), 42.8% of world output.
• Africa’s largest producer of natural rubber, with estimated output of 326,101 tonnes in 2015, most of which was exported to world markets.
• An archipelago with the region’s smallest population of just over half a million people.
• With limited land and water resources, Cape Verde does not produce agricultural commodities for export and the country remains heavily dependent on food imports to meet domestic needs.
• Guinea Bissau is Africa’s third largest producer of cashew nuts, with estimated output of 200,000 tonnes of raw cashews (RCN) in 2017, around 8% of world production.
• Mali is the third largest producer of gold in Sub-Saharan Africa, Gold, with an estimated output of 63 tonnes in 2016 and production set to rise, is Mali’s most valuable commodity export worth US$2bn in 2016, and and makes up a quarter of government revenues. The government hopes to raise total production to over 100 tonnes in the near term.
• Mali is West Africa’s second largest cotton producer after Burkina Faso. Run by a state monopoly, Mali’s cotton production has risen steadily since 2013/14, reaching a record 266,000 tonnes of cotton lint in 2016/17, worth US$266mn in exports. Output forecast to grow further to 300,000 tonnes in 2017/18, thereby making Mali Africa’s largest cotton grower; Malian cotton fibre trades at a slight premium to Burkinabè fibre, owing to its longer staple length and reliable deliveries.
• In 2016 Mali exported US$228mn worth of live animals to neighbouring countries (mostly cows, sheep and goats)
• Niger is Africa’s largest producer of uranium, with estimated output of 2,904 tonnes in 2016, worth US$299mn, 93% of which is exported to France as fuel and the balance to the USA;
• Niger became an oil producer in 2011 when production started at the Agadem block: output has averaged 20,000 bpd; but production is set to rise following the award of a second oil licence in November 2013;
• Niger is a major re-exporter of food to neighbouring countries; in 2016 it exported US$134mn of rice, US$132mn of palm oil and US$31mn of pasta.
• Senegal has the second largest banking sector in the UEMOA, after Côte d’Ivoire.
• Senegal’s banking sector is loan-driven, with loans and advances accounting for more than half of total assets and the wholesale lending activities – primarily to SMEs and local and multinational corporates – the main growth driver.
• Senegal’s mining sector is focused on gold, phosphates and cement production, with an estimated 10 tonnes of gold produced in 2016, all for export. New investment aims to increase annual production to more than 30 tonnes by 2022.
• Estimated output of cement was 2.9 million tonnes in 2016, both for domestic consumption and for export to the sub-region, and output of phosphate rock was 473,000 tonnes in 2016; Senegal is a hub for processing this into phosphoric acid, the key ingredient in fertiliser.
• Senegal has a dynamic horticultural goods sector which is seeking to challenge the dominance of Kenya and Ethiopia for market share of the EU’s organic fruit and vegetable market.
• Togo is a major trade hub for the West African region.
• Phosphate is Togo’s most valuable mineral export, representing up to 11% of foreign exchange earnings; a total of 846,091 tonnes was exported in 2016, most of which went to India and Canada
• Togo is a major exporter of cement (US$137mn in 2016), cotton (US$53mn) and phosphate rock (US$81mn), most of which is produced in Togo; it is also a re-exporter of imported goods including plastics (worth US$95mn), vehicles and machinery (US$76mn), cosmetics (US$49mn), with the majority going to neighbouring Ghana and Nigeria.
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo in 1988, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,000 people in 40 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organisations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.