South Africa’s Standard Bank To Offer Support to Global Fund Recipients in Africa
The Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Monday announced that it has signed an agreement with the South Africa's Standard Bank under which the bank will provide no-cost expertise to select African countries receiving Global Fund grants, Reuters reports (MacInnis, Reuters, 1/26). The bank will provide financial and management advice in an effort to ensure timely distribution of grants within countries. It also will help with reporting requirements. The assistance will be available in select African countries that request it and modified to fit country-specific needs (Global Fund release, 1/26). In addition, the program likely will be expanded to include more African countries, according to the Global Fund.
Global Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine said that the program "shows that the corporate sector in Africa is ready to play a constructive role in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria" (Reuters, 1/26). "By deploying its experts in financial management to support program implementers, Standard Bank will dramatically increase the effectiveness of the money invested by the Global Fund," John Tedstrom -- executive director of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria -- said, adding, "And by engaging its employees directly in this work, Standard Bank is building a strong connection to communities where it works as well as to one of the world's most essential development organizations" (Global Fund release, 1/26). About $180 million of the $3.1 billion the Global Fund received last year was allocated by private sector sources. Kazatchkine has said that increasing private sector support of the Global Fund is one of his priorities (Reuters, 1/26).