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HiV/AIDS still high in Uganda, despite reduction in prevalence- New Study

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According to data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD), despite the rapid scale-up of antiretroviral therapy (ART) since 2000, HIV/AIDS is still the most common cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa. In Uganda, GBD data show that HIV/AIDS was responsible for 25,920 deaths in 2017.

A new research paper by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, Seattle indicates that HIV prevalence in parts of Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, and Tanzania exceeded 10% in 2017.

The paper published in Nature, estimating the prevalence of HIV among adults (aged 15–49 years) and the corresponding number of people living with HIV from 2000 to 2017 provides an important tool for precisely targeting the interventions that are necessary to bringing HIV infections under control in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD), despite the rapid scale-up of antiretroviral therapy (ART) since 2000, HIV/AIDS is still the most common cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa. In Uganda, GBD data show that HIV/AIDS was responsible for 25,920 deaths in 2017.

According to the 2017 GBD study, Bujumba County in Kalangala District reported the highest estimated HIV prevalence at 12.1% while Aringa Country, in Yumbe District reported the lowest prevalence- 1.7%.

The study found that the largest number of people aged 15-49 living with HIV (PLHIV) reside in Kyadondo County, Wakiso District.

Dr. John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in a press statement said the paper will support policy makers and health care providers to identify key areas of intervention in order to allocate meaningful resources accordingly in the continued fight against HIV/AIDS.

“Good data is critical. Data is the oxygen of a good national public health institution in Africa. Without data, a public health institution or strategy is doomed to end up not being very successful… Changing the trajectory of HIV/AIDS in Africa requires that we continue to seek better ways to know the epidemic. This paper will support policymakers and health care providers in locating hotspots of HIV/AIDS at national and sub national levels, and will help guide smart investment of scarce resources for diagnosis, prevention, and treatment,” he said.



A separate 2017 UNAIDS study showed that an estimated 800,000 people in the East and Southern Africa region contracted HiV/AIDS in 2017, according to another UNAIDS 2017 study while an estimated 380,000 died of AIDS related illnesses. Uganda, accounted for 6% of all the new HiV infections (48,000) in the region and 7% of AIDS related deaths (26,600) in Eastern & Southern Africa.

“Today we know that about 1 million Africans die every year from HIV/AIDS which is a significant number so we have to do a couple of things in Africa. First of all, the highest level of advocacy has to be maintained, there’s no room for complacency. Secondly, we have to know the epidemic, where infections are occurring, who is infecting who and use the tools that are available at our disposition that is to say have the ability to deploy ARVs appropriately based on data. Without financing, none of the things or instruments that are available in the menu to fight HIV/AIDS to be deployed. Unfortunately we’ve seen flatting of financing in global health over the past 10 years which is very unfortunate and speaks to complacency of the fact that progress has been made.”

Dr. Nkengasong further called for increased advocacy, data streamlining and financing of the health sector to create a better enabling environment in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The call comes on the heels of the recent announcement by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development on passing the HIV trust fund to which Uganda Revenue Authority will submit 2% of tax levied on drinks.

Since 2015, the World Health Organization has recommended ART for all people living with HIV, because early treatment enables them to live longer and healthier lives and reduces the potential for transmitting the virus. Despite the rapid scale-up of ART, 34% of people in East and Southern Africa and 60% of people in West and Central Africa living with HIV are not currently on treatment, according to UNICEF. Growing population size and continued high incidence of HIV infection, combined with increased life expectancy among people living with HIV (PLHIV), has led to an increase in PLHIV in sub-Saharan Africa: between 2000 and 2017, the number of people aged 15-49 years living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa increased by 3 million, even as HIV prevalence declined.

“Global funding for HIV/AIDS has declined since 2013, but our research shows the substantial burden that still exists and reveals where geographically targeted interventions might make a big difference. Our goal is to provide robust data that can be used to help prevent future infections and ensure appropriate care for people living with HIV,” said IHME’s Dr. Laura Dwyer-Lindgren, lead author and Assistant Professor of Health Metrics Sciences.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded the study, part of a five-year grant that enables IHME researchers and collaborators globally to map a range of health metrics at a fine local resolution. The research is part of the Local Burden of Disease project at IHME led by Dr. Simon I. Hay, Director of Geospatial Science at IHME and Professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the University of Washington.

48,000 new HiV Cases and 26,600 AIDS deaths in Uganda

An estimated 800,000 people in the East and Southern Africa region contracted HiV/AIDS in 2017, according to another UNAIDS 2017 study while an estimated 380,000 died of AIDS related illnesses.

Mozambique, South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania accounted for more than half of new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS-related illness in the region in 2017.

Uganda, accounted for 6% of all the new HiV infections (48,000) in the region and 7% of AIDS related deaths (26,600) in Eastern & Southern Africa.

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Finance

Kwame Ejalu’s Kent Holdings, acquires Alexander Forbes’ Ugandan unit; rebrands to Zamara

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Zamara Group’s logo; now the new face of Alexander Forbes Uganda, who have rebranded into Zamara Uganda

Alexander Forbes Financial Services Uganda Limited is now Zamara Actuaries, Administrators and Consultants (U) Limited.

This follows the ongoing exit of the South African financial services group from Uganda and the sale of their 51% stake in Uganda to Kent Holdings Limited- a Ugandan financial services group with interests in insurance brokerage and pensions management.

The two companies affirmed the sale, in a joint statement on August 21st, by Bonga Mokoena the Alexander Forbes Emerging Markets (AFEM) Chief Executive Officer and Kwame Ejalu, the Kent Holdings Limited Chairman.

Kwame Ejalu, the Kent Holdings Limited Chairman wields a rich experience in Uganda’s financial services industry. The Kent/Zamara partnership blends Kent Holdings’ 22 years of local experience and strategic leadership with Zamara’s 23-year African heritage and technical capacity

“Alexander Forbes Emerging Markets (AFEM) and Kent Holdings are pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached on a sale of shares to Kent Holdings Limited. On 2 July 2019, a sale of shares agreement was executed in terms of which, AFEM sold 51% in Alexander Forbes Financial Services Uganda Limited, to Kent Holdings Limited, a co-shareholder in Alexander Forbes Financial Services Uganda Limited,” read the statement.

Kent Holdings, previously owned 49% of the Ugandan operations.  

The statement however said that “the sale of shares agreement is subject to fulfilment of conditions precedent.”

“The terms and conditions of the sale agreement remain confidential,” both executives announced, but confirmed that Alexander Forbes has effected a name change and will now be known as Zamara Actuaries Administrators and Consultants (Uganda) Limited.

The name change was gazetted on 17th July 2019.

“Alexander Forbes Financial Services (Uganda) Limited, has been by a special resolution passed on 10th July 2019 and with the approval of the registrar of companies changed its name to Zamara Actuaries Administrators and Consultants Limited- 17th July 2019,” reads General Notice No. 762 of 2019, extracted from the Gazette.

Miriam Ekirapa Musaali, the Zamara Uganda Chief Operating Officer. She possesses over 11 years in Uganda’s capital markets industry- where she rose to the Director Market Supervision role at Uganda’s capital markets regulator – Capital Markets Authority, from whence she became the Alexander Forbes Uganda (Now Zamara Uganda) COO and Head of Business for slightly for slightly over 2 years. She says, the name change shall not in any way impede the quality of service as the team remains the same “enthusiastic, energetic, creative” team.

In a separate announcement, media announcement run in the local dailies, Zamara also confirmed their entry into the Ugandan market, promising that they called “fresh perspective in the delivery of financial services in Africa.”

Who is Zamara?

According to their media announcement, the Zamara Group is a specialised financial services group providing actuarial advice and retirement administration solutions in financial services, umbrella retirement solutions, investment and risk sectors to individuals, corporates, parastatals and retirement fund clients. 

The firm currently administers assets in excess of KSh. 280 billion an equivalent of UGX 9.995 trillion and is the only actuarial, consulting, accounting and pension administration firm in Kenya to be ISO 9001:2015 certified.

Zamara Group Executive Director , James Olubayi

Uganda is the sixth Zamara operation after Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Malawi. Zamara started operations in Kenya over 23 years ago as Hymans Robertson and later changed to Alexander Forbes (East Africa) Limited before renaming to Zamara Actuaries, Administrators and Consultants Limited, following the exit of Alexander Forbes from the Kenyan market in 2017.

For four consecutive years, Zamara, their umbrella fund, the Zamara Fanaka Retirement Fund (formerly Alexander Forbes Retirement Fund) and Zamara Vuna Pension Plan (formerly Alexander Forbes Vuna Pension Plan), Zamara’s individual pension plan have been variously awarded in Kenya’s Think Business Awards.  

A brand that embodies a fresh perspective on the delivery of financial services

Commenting on the entry of Zamara into Uganda, Kwame Ejalu, the Kent Holdings Chairman said: “We are enthusiastic about this partnership between Kent Holdings and Zamara Group as it marks the entry into Uganda, of a formidable brand that embodies a fresh perspective on the delivery of financial services in Africa. This partnership blends Kent Holdings’ 22 years of local experience and strategic leadership with Zamara’s 23-year African heritage and technical capacity, to deliver innovative and excellent services to our clients, underpinned by simplicity, empathy and trust,” adding: “Zamara Uganda will now add to our portfolio pan-African expertise, actuarial services and other online solutions that we previously did not offer.”

Asked if Zamara had acquired the stake, previously held by Alexander Forbes, he said he would comment on this after “the Alexander Forbes-Kent Holdings transaction is fully complete and all conditions precedent are fulfilled.”

Ejalu however said that Zamara Uganda inherits and will continue to run a managed private pension funds sector in Uganda and managed assets under administration portfolio in excess of UGX380 billion- roughtly 40% sector market share.

James Olubayi, the Zamara Group Executive Director said that the Zamara Group looked at Uganda as “one of the key strategic regions in the market for growth of the group.”

“Zamara aims to elevate the quality of advice and solutions offered to stakeholders and inevitably be a game changer for clients it serves in Uganda. We look forward to the extended partnership with Kent Holdings, clients, stakeholders across Africa,” he said.

Miriam Ekirapa Musaali, Chief Operating Officer, Zamara Uganda who previously was the Alexander Forbes COO said “We remain the same enthusiastic, energetic, creative team that is committed to serving our clients in Uganda. We will no doubt continue to offer superior consulting, advisory and administration services to pension funds in Uganda and further enhance our offering and advice to truly world class levels.”  

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Finance

Stanbic Bank scoops June/July best gov’t securities dealer award

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The Governor Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile has given an award to Stanbic Bank Uganda (LTD) for being the best performing bank in dealing government securities for the months of June and July 2019. The award was received by Stanbic Bank CEO Mr. Patrick Mweheire during the quarterly Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) meeting at BoU headquarters in Kampala.

Governor BOU Prof. Emmanuel Mutebile(L) and Patrick Mweheire(R), CEO Stanbic Bank Uganda(LTD) at the do

The bank has been recognised by the regulator for its role in the primary dealer system that helps in developing Financial Markets and in reducing the costs associated with issuing Government Securities; through increasing demand, market efficiency, encouraging secondary market trading and improving the quality of Financial Market information.

A primary dealer is a pre-approved bank, broker or financial institution that is able to lend money to the government through treasury bonds and treasury bills. 

Background information on best performing banks in government securities award

In January 2005, the Bank of Uganda initiated the “Award for the Best Performing Primary Dealer in Uganda Government Securities for the Month” to recognize the Primary Dealer that performed best in trading Uganda Government Securities and transmitting information regarding the status of the financial markets to the Central Bank.

A Primary Dealer is any financial intermediary that has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bank of Uganda to execute the following actions on a consistent basis:

§ To participate as counter-party in Uganda Government securities auctions conducted by the Bank of Uganda.
§ To provide the public with prices or yields that they will buy and sell “On-the Run” (the most recently auctioned) Uganda Government securities. i.e. Treasury bills and Treasury bonds on a continuous basis.
§ To provide the public with prices or yields that they will buy Off-the-Run (Other than the most recently auctioned) Uganda Government securities on a continuous basis.
§ To trade with the public Uganda Government securities at the prices or yields that they have quoted.
§ To make available information on the status of the market to the Bank of Uganda on a timely basis.

The points allocated for the Award to the Best Performing Primary Dealer in Uganda Government Securities for the Month are aggregated to determine the winner of the prestigious award.

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Travel

Unscrupulous Tour Operator Arrested

Tourism police have arrested a rogue tour operator accused of fleecing tourists of $21,500. The suspect has been identified as Richard Tusasibwe, director of Gatatu Safaris Limited in Kigezi.   According to CP Frank Mwesigwa, Tusasibwe, he was arrested at Arcadia Cottages in Kabale; near Lake Bunyonyi; where he had taken other tourists for a […]

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Tourism police in Kabale have arrested a rogue tour operator accused of fleecing tourists of $21,500. The suspect has been identified as Richard Tusasibwe, the director of Gatatu Safaris Limited in Kigezi.  

According to CP Frank Mwesigwa, Tusasibwe, was arrested at Arcadia Cottages in Kabale; near Lake Bunyonyi; where he had taken other tourists for a trip.

He added that the arrest came after a tip off by suspecting people who had fallen victims of his unscrupulous behavior and the covert teams at check-in were able to arrest him. He is currently being held at Kabale Police station and charged with obtaining money by false pretense.

Richard Tusasibwe(centre) in handcuffs

Tusasibwe is alleged to have been contracted by 5 American tourists to organize chimpanzee and gorilla tracking expedition in Uganda. After an airport pickup and arrival in Kisoro, Tusasibwe abandoned the tourists at a lodge and has been on the run for the past two weeks.

Uganda Tourism Board Quality Assurance Manager, Samora Semakula said that the board was working around the clock to ensure that quality standards and the law are upheld in the tourism sector and that rogue operators face the law.

“We are pleased that the police has arrested a rogue operator who has been on the run for the last two weeks since this case was brought to our attention. Rogue tour operators are a peril to the growth and development of the sector. Uganda Tourism Board will continue to work with the tourism police and other players in the sector to ensure that the vice is brought to a conclusive end,” Semakula said.

Mwesigwa reassures tourists saying, “As tourism police, we are committed to clean up quack tour operators who con our tourists. Uganda remains a peaceful and secure country and all efforts together with stakeholders is to ensure that law and order is upheld in the tourism sector and the country at large.”

As mandated by the Tourism Act (2008) Uganda Tourism Board earlier this year kicked of a registration and licensing exercise of all tour operators and facilities in the tourism value chain. This process is aimed to effectively regulate the tourism sector and promote quality assurance across the value chain.

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