Standard Bank Group's contribution to the fight against HIV/Aids, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria has been recognised by the international business community. Standard Bank Group (SBG) has won an Excellence in Business Action award from the Global Business Coalition on HIV/Aids, TB and malaria in the core competency category for the work it has done with the Global Fund.
Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria has become the main source of finance for programmes to fight the three diseases, with approved funding of US$19.2 billion for health programmes in 144 countries. It provides almost a quarter of all international financing for Aids globally and two-thirds for tuberculosis and malaria.
In 2008, SBG signed a pro-bono services partnership with the Global Fund. SBG's role as a partner is to provide financial and project management expertise, also practical support services for grant-receiving projects to ensure that funds reach the grantees in a timely manner, as well as assisting with ongoing administration and reporting requirements. SBG provides free advisory services and training to in-country Global Fund grant recipients in order to up skill their personnel in the area of financial management.
In signing the partnership, SBG demonstrated its commitment to fighting disease in Africa, its main market. The partnership has enabled SBG to meet the needs of African communities by using its core competencies to improve the financial and operational management performance of Global Fund recipients, while aligning its efforts with its long-term business interests.
Udo Raab, Director of Government and International Organisations at Standard Bank Group, says: "We have a vested interest in ensuring that we make an impact in the lives of people through ridding our communities of these debilitating and deadly diseases. Apart from Standard Bank's interest in supporting the fight against the three diseases, the idea of an initiative with the Global Fund originated from our links with the UN organisations. It was only natural that Standard Bank Group should seek out the organisation as a key partner," says
The partnership kicked off in early 2009 in four pilot countries: Lesotho, Nigeria, Swaziland and Uganda (Mozambique and Zimbabwe have been added in 2010). In its award commentary the Global Business Coalition judges noted that the "strategic alliance between Global Fund and Standard Bank is an innovative programme which will act to enhance capacity at the country level. Leaders and health workers can lack the management skills to effectively manage the country's health system. Standard Bank is commended for taking on this often unappreciated task."
Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of Global Fund, says: "The Global Fund's partnership with Standard Bank is an excellent example of how the corporate sector in Africa can play a constructive role to support the fight against the three diseases. By supporting programme implementers in financial management, Standard Bank is increasing the effectiveness of the money invested by the Global Fund."
Clive Tasker, Chief Executive of Standard Bank Africa, a part of Standard Bank Group, says: "Standard Bank has a proven commitment to health, and in particular AIDS. In 2008, we were awarded the Global Business Coalition's award for business excellence for our HIV/Aids wellness programme. This new award further demonstrates that we are more than just a bank, but a partner to our communities in Africa and are committed to creating meaningful partnerships and solutions that will contribute to the success to the continent." The award is an endorsement on our continuous efforts to be relevant to our communities and we are proud to have been able to have these efforts recognised."
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