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BY CORRESPONDENT,NAIROBI,16TH APRIL,2020-Sub-Sahara Africa non-bank financial services provider Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) has thrown its weight behind the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus in all the markets that mirrors its business footprint both in Africa and other international markets where it operates.
The firm which is part of the Sanlam Group and is represented in the East Africa region by Sanlam Kenya PLC, Sanlam Investments East Africa among other Sanlam businesses in Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda is donating R45 million (about USD2.3 million) to support various initiatives to fight the pandemic in Africa and other territories where SEM has a business presence.
In Kenya, Sanlam Kenya, the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) listed firm and Sanlam Investments East Africa has boosted the national COVID-19 resource mobilization fund to the tune of Kshs 8million while Sanlam Uganda has donated UGX. 285M to the Government’s National Response Fund COVID-19.
Sanlam Kenya Group Chief Executive Officer Dr Patrick Tumbo, said the firms are highly conscious of the fact that the prevailing situation is totally unprecedented and that the country has found itself needing to deal with a large-scale health and social behaviour change intervention.
“We recognize that there are people with urgent medical needs following circumstances precipitated by rising positive COVID-19 cases, the need to comply with the inter-county travel restriction, national curfew and practice social distancing, among other personal hygiene protocols,” said Tumbo noting that during this critical period, it was important to take care of each other to ensure the health and safety of families, friends, colleagues and communities.
In Africa, there are over 10,000 reported cases of Coronavirus infections in Africa, and over 500 COVID-19 related deaths reported (source: WHO). The funds are aimed at assisting efforts in ‘flattening the curve’ and to support various initiatives to combat the spread and the impact of the virus and will be used for personal protective equipment (PPEs), contributions to national solidarity funds, food relief and assist schools with e-learning.
Commenting on the overall R45 million donation, SEM CEO, Mr Heinie Werth said each of the 32 countries in Africa as well as other markets Sanlam operates in will be allocated funds for use at the discretion of Sanlam subsidiaries and associate companies in those countries to support initiatives to fight the Coronavirus. We believe this effort will contribute not only towards the fight against the coronavirus, but also towards securing a sustainable future for all the communities where we do business across the continent. In addition, the country operations may contribute additional funds from their respective businesses to relief efforts.
“The scale and impact of this pandemic on both Africa’s people and economies can be dire, but if we act in solidarity and collectively, we can contribute to the ongoing efforts to attenuate the impact of COVID-19,” said Mr Werth
“As a leading pan-African financial services company with a rich history of ‘doing well by doing good’ and good corporate citizenship, we are proactively taking responsibility to support the countries in which we operate to fight COVID-19. We believe that such an unprecedented time of uncertainty as we are now in calls for us to act in order to contain the impact of this scourge. We are confident that our contribution, along with those of like-minded corporates and other donors, will go a long way towards flattening the curve of this virus in Africa and elsewhere” he said.