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Guidelines For Business Coalition Against HIV/AIDS

The World Bank And Sabcoha Launch Guidelines For Business Coalitions Against HIV/AIDS

Johannesburg, February 10, 2005 – The World Bank and the South African Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (SABCOHA) today launched guidelines for building business coalitions against HIV/AIDS throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

The launch came during aconference, held from February 9 to 11, to map the way forward for private sector involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sponsored by Standard Bank, the conference considered how African business coalitions against HIV/AIDS can partner more efficiently with governments and other stakeholders to respond more effectively to the pandemic.

In high prevalence areas, HIV/AIDS can exact a significant toll on businesses, both at the employee and market level. Businesses increasingly recognize this impact.

In a recent global survey of almost 9000 business leaders across 104 countries, (Global Health Initiative of the World Economic Forum, Harvard University and UNAIDS: www.weforum.org/globalhealth/globalsurvey) 30% of executives report some current impact on their business from HIV/AIDS, and 37% expect an impact within the next five years. [KTA 21] About 41% of African firms report serious current impacts on their business and the majority note negative effects on operating costs.

Participants were from 15 countries (Botswana, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe), representing both business coalitions and national AIDS councils. They plan to establish a regional network with products and services that will serve the interests of business and governments in mounting an effective and sustainable response to HIV/AIDS.

The highlights of the conference included the launch of guidelines for Building Business Coalitions.

The World Bank notes that national business coalitions enable companies to leverage their resources more effectively to combat the disease. According to the World Bank’s Elizabeth Ashbourne: “Coalitions assist companies by facilitating information sharing; permitting economies of scale in the development of workplace HIV/AIDS products and services; and creating a strong, unified front for public policy debate and advocacy.”

The conference also initiated a program to implement the small and medium enterprise toolkit recently developed by SABCOHA at regional level and discussed better coordination of the many efforts and programs of the African private sector. In addition, the conference considered strategies for increased cooperation between the private sector and donors to ensure more consistent funding streams.

Building on the series of technical fora held in Zambia, Namibia, and Malawi, the conference also served as a platform for groups of companies to take a broader, more integrated approach to addressing HIV/AIDS.

According to Brad Mears, managing director of SABCOHA, “we hope to stimulate dialogue and discussion that will lead to quantifiable shared action by industries, governments and donors.”

For more information on the World Bank’s work in South Africa visit: http://www.worldbank.org/afr/za


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