Standard Chartered Bank Puts Global Health Initiative Guidelines into Practice with a New HIV/AIDS Campaign Targeting Customers and Suppliers
Cape Town, South Africa, 15 June 2007 – Standard Chartered Bank is ramping up its HIV/AIDS programme across Africa to include small and medium size business enterprises (SMEs). The Bank is implementing best practices developed by the Global Health Initiative (GHI) of the World Economic Forum.
The GHI has developed expertise in this area following the implementation of their Beyond Big Business programme. The Beyond Big Business programme aims to extend access to HIV/AIDS education and treatment to more people in Africa by working with large companies to include customers and suppliers in their workplace programmes. To help companies implement this approach, the GHI has created a set of guidelines based on best practices in companies involved in the programme.
After piloting the initiative in Tanzania through a workshop for SME banking customers, Standard Chartered Bank will run a full series of workshops throughout Africa. These workshops will educate SMEs on the business risk associated with the HIV/AIDS epidemic and will help them take the appropriate actions. The pilot was run in association with the AIDS Business Coalition Tanzania (ABCT) and attracted 20 companies that collectively represented 4,500 employees.
Speaking at the workshop, Richard Wright, Standard Chartered Bank’s Regional Head for SME Banking Africa, said, “There is enough evidence that HIV/AIDS has a vast impact on the country’s economy, particularly on SMEs which may not have the resources that a large company can utilize to implement such programmes. We believe that it is essential for our customers to be conversant in all aspects of business risks, including HIV/AIDS, and understand how to mitigate these risks. We hope to roll out a similar programme in our other markets across Africa.”
The director of the GHI, Francesca Boldrini said, “SMEs are the economic engine of sub-Saharan Africa. Two-thirds of large African-based companies have HIV/AIDS workplace programmes to minimize the risk to their business. SMEs, however, have not responded as well, even though in countries such as Botswana, they employ over 50% of the workforce and contribute to over 35% of GDP – yet only 8% have workplace programmes. HIV/AIDS often has a greater impact on SMEs; for example, losing one or two workers a year in a small business can represent a significant proportion of the workforce. Therefore it is vital that large companies such as Standard Chartered Bank bridge the gap and help SMEs.”
The GHI urges more companies to join Standard Chartered Bank and other companies, including Eskom, Volkswagen South Africa, Unilever Tea Kenya and Heineken Nigerian Breweries, to enrol in the Beyond Big Business approach. As HIV/AIDS continues to affect the working population through absenteeism, sickness and death, more companies need to respond to mitigate the business risk.
Note to Editors:
For further information on the World Economic Forum on Africa, Cape Town, please contact:
Director of the Global Health Initiative
World Economic Forum
Mobile: +41 (0)79 375 1032
Tel.: +44 207 611 3638
Mobile: +44 791 461 0606
Area Head Corporate Affairs Southern Africa
Standard Chartered Bank
Tel: +263 477 4482
About the Global Health Initiative (GHI) of the World Economic Forum
The GHI provides a unique platform for catalysing public-private partnerships in health and driving action on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria at the regional, national and international levels. To achieve this goal, the GHI works closely with the World Economic Forum’s member and partner companies as well as UNAIDS, the boards of the Global Fund and the Global Partnership along with the World Health Organization’s Stop TB and Roll Back Malaria partnerships. In addition to these, the GHI successfully engages with a broad range of NGOs and other members of civil society, as well as governments from across the world, effectively stimulating public-private dialogue in world health.
The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests (www.weforum.org).
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