EMGA Secures US$ 20M Debt Finance for Costa Rica’s Banco Improsa

LONDON, Oct. 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Emerging Markets Global Advisory LLP (EMGA) for the second time working with Banco Improsa, secures this US$20M facility from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) – AECID (advised by COFIDES).

Commenting on the transaction, Felix Alpizar, General Manager of BANCO IMPROSA, said: “Banco Improsa is very honored to be recognized by AECID and COFIDES for both its track record and programs to finance and support Costa Rican micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). With this credit we will continue our contribution to the economic and social development of the country.”

EMGA’s Head of Investment Banking Sajeev Chakkalakal said, “A pleasure again to facilitate Banco Improsa’s continued vision of supporting SMEs within Costa Rica and complete this funding solution with AECID (advised by COFIDES).”

José Luis Curbelo, chairman and CEO of COFIDES, stated that “we are pleased to support AECID in its first impact project with EMGA and IMPROSA in the Central American region. The transaction will be used to finance small and medium enterprises in Costa Rica, which will contribute to the creation and maintenance of quality jobs and reducing inequalities. We look forward to continuing these strategic partnerships, which enhance economic growth in developing countries by strengthening the private sector through sound financial support.”

Carlos Jiménez Aguirre, General Manager of FONPRODE and Head AECID’s Financial Cooperation Department expressed that “the formalization of this transaction reflects Spanish Cooperation’s aims to contribute to expand the financial support for Costa Rican micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), as MSMEs play a key role in creating and maintaining decent jobs and reducing inequalities. Our intention is to expand this kind of support to other Central American countries in providing access to finance to MSMEs, with a special focus on mainstreaming gender and climate change strategies in private sector activities.”

Emerging Markets Global Advisory LLP, based in London, helps emerging market based financial institutions and corporates seeking new debt or equity capital.

Banco Improsa was founded in 1995 and is a niche bank with a specialization in providing financial solutions and services to MSMEs, which account for most of its portfolio. It has an extensive track record in providing support and advisory services to MSMEs. Banco Improsa’s key success factor lies in its commitment to high standards of personalized, agile, and flexible service, which, together with customized financial solutions, have enabled it to achieve a solid position in these segments. Banco Improsa is part of Grupo Financiero Improsa (GFI).

Fund for the Promotion of Development (FONPRODE), managed by Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) with the support of COFIDES (Spanish Development Finance Institution). AECID is the main management body of Spanish Cooperation and is oriented towards the fight against poverty and the promotion of sustainable development. COFIDES provides support management for FONPRODE with reimbursable financing operations that promote social and economic development of partner countries through investments or transfers of economic resources with a reimbursable nature. FONPRODE may finance non-reimbursable and reimbursable debt and equity. Examples of refundable financing offered by FONPRODE are loans to financial service providers aimed at financial inclusion.

COFIDES, a state-owned company engaging in the management of State and third-party as well as its own funds, pursues several aims; internationalization of Spain’s economy, furtherance of economic development and fortification of the solvency of companies affected by COVID-19. In addition to the Spanish State, its shareholders include Banco Santander, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Banco Sabadell and Development Bank of Latin America (CAF).

Jeremy Dobson


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Deloitte Global Selects Joe Ucuzoglu as Next Global CEO; Deloitte Global CEO Punit Renjen Announces Retirement After Record Growth

NEW YORK, Oct. 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Deloitte Global) Board today announced the selection of Joe Ucuzoglu as Deloitte Global CEO, subject to a ratification vote by Deloitte member firm partners. Ucuzoglu has been the CEO of Deloitte US since 2019. Deloitte operates in 150 countries with more than 415,000 professionals and revenue in our latest fiscal year of $59.3 billion.

As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

Ucuzoglu will succeed Punit Renjen, who has served as the Deloitte Global CEO since 2015. Upon retirement, Renjen will become Global CEO Emeritus. As Deloitte Global CEO, Renjen developed and executed a global strategy that resulted in Deloitte revenue growing from $35 billion to more than $59 billion in just seven years. Today, Deloitte is the leading professional services organization in the world, recognized as the strongest and most valuable commercial services brand, a leader in audit quality, and one of the world’s best places to work.

Under Renjen’s leadership, Deloitte launched WorldClass—a global effort to prepare 100 million underprivileged people for a world of opportunity—based on the belief that when society thrives, business thrives. Renjen also spearheaded Deloitte’s WorldClimate initiative, which includes near-term (2030) greenhouse gas reduction goals which have been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as 1.5°C-aligned, science-based targets.

“The Deloitte Global Board and I want to thank Punit for leading Deloitte to extraordinary growth and meaningful societal impact, and for his decades of commitment to the organization,” said Sharon Thorne, Deloitte Global Board Chair.

Speaking of his successor, Renjen said, “Joe is an exceptional leader. We have worked together side by side for many years, and I believe he is an excellent choice to serve as the next Deloitte Global CEO. He has been a member of the Deloitte Global Executive team for the last several years, and I am confident that, under his leadership, Deloitte will continue to deliver outstanding results for our people, clients, and the communities in which we live and work.”

In response to his nomination, Joe Ucuzoglu, Deloitte US CEO and the next Deloitte Global CEO said, “It is my great honor to be chosen to lead this extraordinary organization. I believe deeply in Deloitte’s responsibility to lead through the unprecedented pace of change the world is experiencing, and to meet the rapidly expanding needs of our stakeholders. I want to thank Punit for his excellent leadership of Deloitte.”

“It has truly been an honor and privilege to lead Deloitte over the past several years,” said Renjen. “More important than any commercial outcome, I am proud of the incredible societal impact we have been able to make as a purpose-driven enterprise. And I am looking forward to some exciting endeavors, including dedicating time to several societal causes about which I am deeply passionate, including sustainability and climate.”

Deloitte Global’s rigorous and comprehensive nomination, selection and member firm partner ratification process occurs every four years and includes all Deloitte member firms. The member firm partner vote to ratify Ucuzoglu will take place throughout the month of November, and he will assume the Deloitte Global CEO role upon Renjen’s retirement on 31 December 2022.

As Ucuzoglu prepares to assume his new Deloitte Global responsibilities, the Deloitte US firm’s well-established succession process occurs every four years and is underway.

About Deloitte
Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), its global network of member firms, and their related entities (collectively, the “Deloitte organization”). DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) and each of its member firms and related entities are legally separate and independent entities, which cannot obligate or bind each other in respect of third parties. DTTL and each DTTL member firm and related entity is liable only for its own acts and omissions, and not those of each other. DTTL does not provide services to clients. Please see www.deloitte.com/about to learn more.

Deloitte provides industry-leading audit and assurance, tax and legal, consulting, financial advisory, and risk advisory services to nearly 90% of the Fortune Global 500® and thousands of private companies. Our professionals deliver measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in capital markets, enable clients to transform and thrive, and lead the way toward a stronger economy, a more equitable society and a sustainable world. Building on its 175-plus year history, Deloitte spans more than 150 countries and territories. Learn how Deloitte’s approximately 415,000 people worldwide make an impact that matters at www.deloitte.com.

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Pawel Lopatka Joins Customertimes as Strategic Portfolio Leader

NEW YORK, Oct. 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Customertimes, an international leader in digital solutions and a global Salesforce integration and implementation partner, announced today that veteran IT executive Pawel Lopatka has joined the company as Strategic Portfolio Leader.

Mr. Lopatka brings a broad suite of skills and strategic expertise to his new role. He is regarded as one of the most effective, innovative managers working in Poland’s IT sector, with deep experience in financial technology, retail, media, digital transformation, outsourcing, the Metaverse, and mergers & acquisitions.

Recognized by the Pro Progressio Foundation as Manager of the Year in 2018 and as a Business Tiger from 2017 to 2022, Mr. Lopatka has spearheaded European initiatives for a range of global companies. He is a former Board Member of the Polish Chapter of the Project Management Institute and Poland’s Association of Business Service Leaders.

Customertimes COO Brian Borack said Mr. Lopatka is central to the company’s plans for accelerated European growth.

“Pawel is widely regarded for his strategic and operational acumen,” said Mr. Borack. “We’re scaling dramatically, and Pawel’s vision and insight will be a key ingredient to blaze the trail for our clients, team, and organization.”

Mr. Lopatka considers Customertimes an ideal fit for his skills and personal ethos.

“Customertimes’ primary mission is implicit in the company’s name – serving the customer above all else,” said Mr. Lopatka. “That’s a commitment I share. I’m devoted to driving customer success, ensuring quality delivery, and helping the company scale its client portfolio. Customertimes has a stellar reputation for top talent and delivering cutting-edge solutions on deadline. That’s why it’s growing rapidly, and why I’m proud to join the leadership team.”

To learn more:

Contact us: experts@customertimes.com

Follow us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/customertimes

About Customertimes:

Customertimes Corp. is a global consulting and software firm dedicated to making top IT technologies accessible to customers. With more than 4,000 projects completed by 1,600+ highly skilled experts, our solutions are engineered to help clients realize true business transformation and achieve maximum value from their technology investments. An early entrant into the Salesforce consulting and implementation space in Eastern Europe and an award-winning product development organization, Customertimes Corp. has headquarters in New York City, with regional offices in London, Paris, Toronto, Kyiv, Poznan, Riga, and Podgorica. For more information, visit www.customertimes.com.

Media Contact:

Meriel Sikora




New US$250 million grant from USAID will boost FAO’s efforts to strengthen health security and agri-food systems globally

Rome – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are expanding efforts to strengthen animal health security around the world, with the objective of protecting human lives and livelihoods while at the same time improving agri-food systems and safeguarding the environment.

USAID has once again reaffirmed its strong commitment to a long-lasting, high-impact partnership with FAO by donating USD 250 million to fund the Organization’s Global Health Security Program for another five-year period (2022- 27).

The new funding will help implement the quadripartite partnership’s joint One Health Action Plan, by enabling countries, with the support of FAO, to maintain essential animal health and One Health capacities that have been developed over from 30 countries in Africa, South Asia and the Pacific, and the Near East and North Africa. It will also contribute to strengthening the capacities of selected new countries, helping national and regional stakeholders to improve prevention, detection and response to health threats at human, animal and environmental interfaces.

“We are very grateful to USAID for their generous and timely contribution and for their continued support and commitment,” said Mr. QU Dongyu, Director-General of FAO. “The displacement of humans, the climate crisis, the complexity of value chains and trade in livestock, wildlife and their products all contribute to the increased spread of disease. We need to scale up our activities and collaborative efforts to stop this spread, and the new funding will allow FAO to strengthen local capacity in animal health, provide technical assistance in risk analysis and disease surveillance, as well as strengthen outbreak control, preparedness and response through the ‘One Health’ approach”.

The renewed partnership will continue the work that FAO has carried out through its Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Disease Control in Asia and Africa since 2005. The Center has worked in more than 30 countries and its reach extends is expanding geographically thanks to the new contribution according to strategic and epidemiological foundations. Support to countries will also help them leverage other investments in the area of health security and transformation of agri-food systems, including grants and loans from international financial institutions.

Control zoonotic diseases

The vast majority of emerging and endemic infectious zoonotic diseases are transboundary in nature. The FAO Global Program for Health Security foresees the integration of regional and epizonal perspectives, which will ensure the coherence of the approaches applied, in the prevention and control of diseases, as well as a more efficient use of the resources available in resource-constrained environments and leveraging institutional and Member resources.

Activities will focus on critical control points throughout the supply chain and the promotion of biosecurity, hygiene precautions and good and sustainable production practices at animal-animal and animal-human interfaces with with a view to reducing animal health threats and safeguarding public health, livelihoods and agri-food systems.

In order to achieve a more robust approach to disease control, bilateral and multilateral technical exchanges and cross-border collaboration between beneficiary countries should continue to be supported and expanded, with particular attention to risk assessments, in the risk, diagnosis and characterization of pathogens in relation to biosafety and biosafety, as well as prevention and risk reduction, including vaccination, infection prevention and the rational use of antimicrobials.

The partnership between USAID and FAO on animal health

Over the past 16 years, the Government of the United States of America, through USAID, has contributed $470 million to the FAO Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Disease Control to support the prevention and detection of and response to animal and public health emergencies.

Through this partnership, FAO has been able to manage and coordinate the largest animal health capacity development program in the world and establish multidisciplinary teams of highly qualified experts to help the most vulnerable and poorest Members improve their capabilities to support disease control programs and contribute to the eradication of poverty, the improvement of food safety and food security, and the protection of global health.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

No end in sight: International community continues to fail Eritreans says UN Expert

NEW YORK Eritrea poses a real challenge to the UN system and the international community a UN expert said today, warning that the country’s human rights situation was deteriorating drastically.

“Eritrea was elected to serve in the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2022-2024. However, its continuous failure to fully cooperate with his mandate and implement the recommendations of human rights bodies calls the credibility and integrity of the entire UN human rights system into question,” said Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, in a report to the General Assembly.

“The intensification of the armed conflict in Tigray, the de facto blockade by Eritrean forces, secret places of torture called “villas” and the forced indefinite national conscription, all contribute to violations of human rights in Eritrea,” the Special Rapporteur said.

The expert made note of the fact that Eritrea had used its Human Rights Council membership to oppose international scrutiny over violations in the Tigray Region and voted against the establishment of an international commission of experts to investigate allegations of human rights and humanitarian law violations in Ethiopia.

Eritrea has been fighting alongside Ethiopia’s central government troops since the civil war broke out in Tigray in late 2020.

Babiker’s report to the General Assembly also noted that Eritrean journalists, political opponents and disappeared persons had been detained in the country for more than 20 years. “They are the longest detained persons in the world, languishing in jails and incommunicado detentions,” the Special Rapporteur said. December 2022 will mark 10 years since the arrest of Ciham Ali Abdu, an American-Eritrean child who had been held incommunicado since the age of 15. According to the UN expert, there had been a recent and worrying uptick in arbitrary arrests and detentions against clergymen in the country.

“The Government of Eritrea should release children, political prisoners, hundreds of disappeared persons and those imprisoned for their religious beliefs and allow all Eritreans to exercise their right to freedom of religion,” the UN expert said.

The Special Rapporteur said he had received information that people from the Afar region of Eritrea were being denied access to asylum procedures especially at the Asayita refugee camp in Ethiopia.

“Immediate action is imperative to protect refugees and other vulnerable populations. Humanitarian actors face difficulties operating in Tigray due to the complex security situation and lack of access, impacting humanitarian delivery to refugees,” he said.

Source: UN Human Rights Council

Cameroon Says Hundreds of Its Citizens Deported from Equatorial Guinea

Cameroon says Equatorial Guinea has deported several hundred Cameroonians, some of whom say they were fleeing terrorist and rebel attacks at home. The government of Equatorial Guinea says the deportees were economic migrants and is planning to deport 7,000 Cameroonians in all by the end of the year.

Scores of Cameroonians applauded Monday while welcoming back at least 200 of their citizens who were deported. But the well-wishers are not happy with Equatorial Guinea’s actions. Civilians shouted that by deporting Cameroonians, the oil-rich country is being indifferent to people who have rendered services as mechanics, electricians, bricklayers, miners and other types of workers.

Nguenang Rigobert, one of the deported Cameroonians, says he lost his teaching job in Equatorial Guinea. Nguenang says he, like many Cameroonians in Equatorial Guinea, are victims of what he calls the Cameroon government’s lack of interest in the plight of its citizens outside the country. He says Cameroon should have negotiated for Equatorial Guinea to give Cameroonians more time to acquire resident and work permits.

Nguenang said several dozen of the deported Cameroonians fled their country in part because of its ongoing separatist crisis. Others left because of Boko Haram terrorism in the north.

Some deportees said they were tortured and their property looted in Equatorial Guinea. Others said they spent several nights in detention centers and were freed after agreeing to return to Cameroon unconditionally.
Nouhou Bello, the most senior Cameroon government official in Ocean, the administrative unit where Campo is located, says President Paul Biya asked him to receive the deported civilians and make sure they travel to their towns and villages in peace.

Bello says Cameroonians who have arrived in Campo since Friday have confirmed to government officials that they were in the neighboring state illegally. He says some of the deportees told officials their visas had expired while others acknowledged lacking travel documents when they went to Equatorial Guinea.

Bello called on Cameroonians staying in Equatorial Guinea illegally to return home or risk being locked up.

Earlier in October, the government of Equatorial Guinea said it would embark on a mass deportation of people living illegally in its territory.

Officials said insecurity has mounted due to an influx of about 30,000 economic migrants within the past three years. Equatorial Guinea accused job-seeking youths, especially from Cameroon and Nigeria, of harassment, theft and armed banditry.

Essomba Innocent is an economic analyst at the National University of Equatorial Guinea. He says in January 2020, the country signaled that it did not want illegal economic migrants in its territory and laid the foundation stone for construction of a border wall with Cameroon.

Essomba says in June 2020, Equatorial Guinea agreed to pause the construction of the controversial wall after Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Central African Republic agreed to voluntarily repatriate their citizens living in Equatorial Guinea illegally. He says people who are being deported should not ask the government of Equatorial Guinea for compensation for goods they acquired when their stay was illegal.
Equatorial Guinea is a tiny central African nation of around 1.5 million people. The International Monetary Fund reports that the nation took in approximately $45 billion in oil revenues between 2000 and 2013, catapulting it from one of the world’s poorest countries to the one with the highest per capita income on the African continent.

Source: Voice of America

Conagen’s fermentation platform expands on promising novel forms of vitamin K2

Bedford, Mass., Oct. 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Biotech innovator, Conagen announced the development of its fermentation-derived vitamin K2 – a high-purity all-trans menaquinone-7 (MK-7).  This is the first molecule from a proprietary platform for producing novel, pure, long-chain menaquinone forms of the vitamin. The platform enables low-cost manufacturing and yields high-quality products, making it attractive to health brands.

“Conagen’s MK-7 technology produces a clean profile of the vitamin without other similar molecules, such as ubiquinone,” said Casey Lippmeier, Ph.D., senior vice president of innovation at Conagen. “Our process allows us to make pure forms of any long-chain menaquinone, be it 6, 7, 8, 9, and these can be consumed in various combinations with other vitamins or with each other to make the most effective supplement possible. As the clinical evidence evolves, so can the supplement.”

Vitamin K2 helps to regulate calcium mobility in bones and restricts calcium buildup in blood vessels, leading to stroke and heart disease. MK-7 is the more bioavailable form of K2 on the market; the other major form is MK-4, which both have taken a strong position in the markets for bone and cardiovascular health.

The biological activity of MK-7 is strictly linked to its all-trans configuration, which is naturally found in fermented superfoods such as natto. Cis-analogues are considered biologically inactive. Synthetic versions of MK-7 contain some amount of the cis-isomer form. Low-quality sources containing cis forms affect the efficacy of the vitamin.

Other long-chain forms of vitamin K2, such as MK-8 and MK-9, exist naturally in cheeses. Research on the health benefits of these other K2 forms has only begun to emerge.

Personalized nutrition is popular with consumers looking for technological breakthroughs in functional foods and nutrition. Conagen’s cost-effective fermentation-derived MK-7 provides new opportunities for brands to develop products to meet the demand of the growing aging population.

“We’re demonstrating our capabilities with innovative technologies that expand market choices in nutrition,” said Lippmeier. “Our fermentation and bioconversion platforms have also produced the clean nutrient ergothioneine and the antioxidant taxifolin, further demonstrating the versatility of our platform technologies.”

Conagen’s research into the MK-7 production process was done in part as a 3-year collaboration with the lab of Prof. Anthony Sinskey at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Health brands interested in non-GMO, vegan vitamin K2 MK-4 and MK-7 and special ingredients, such as ErgoActive® L-Ergothioneine® and Taxifolin BC DHQ® for nutrition and food and beverage preservation, respectively, can contact Blue California, a pipeline partner of Conagen. To inquire more about Conagen’s products or partnerships, please visit www.conagen.com.

About Conagen

Conagen is a product-focused, synthetic biology R&D company with large-scale manufacturing service capabilities. Our scientists and engineers use the latest synthetic biology tools to develop high-quality, sustainable, nature-based products by precision fermentation and enzymatic bioconversion. We focus on the bioproduction of high-value ingredients for food, nutrition, flavors and fragrances, pharmaceutical, and renewable materials industries.


Ana Arakelian, Head of Public Relations and Communications

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8685378

G20 Health Ministers Meeting Delivers Six Key Actions for the Upcoming Leaders’ Summit

BALI, Oct. 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin closed G20 Second Health Ministerial Meeting in Bali, 28 October 2022. This meeting is the culmination of G20 discussions about strengthening the global health architecture and strengthening pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

G20 Health Ministers Meeting Produced Key Actions to Strengthen Global Health Architecture

While current geopolitical tension had been widely reflected over the three days’ meetings, G20 member states maintain a strong commitment, together addressing global health challenges and finding a common solution. Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said, “Despite our differences, the G20 member states have come together to speak the same language—the language of humanity, the language of health that knows no border.”

The meeting produced a technical document to be submitted for consideration during the G20 Leaders’ Summit in mid-November. Six key actions will be carried forward as follow:

  1. The Health Track has led to the design and launch of the Pandemic Fund. G20 members will continue and deepen the work envisioned for the Joint Finance and Health Task Force (JFHTF) and call on all G20 countries to build on the major concrete achievement of the Pandemic Fund – previously known as the Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response
  2. Following the completion of the ACT-A evaluation, G20 countries should continue to lead the shaping of successor entities and functions to ensure the readiness of mechanisms to respond to future pandemics
  3. Under the Indonesian G20 Presidency, G20 member states have brought progress on genomic surveillance, which should pave the way for continued attention and progress as a crucial part of pandemic prevention, preparedness and response
  4. Further global collaboration to build on the successes of existing travel certificate systems while moving towards interoperability of these systems;
  5. Conduct a gap analysis and mapping of existing and emerging research and manufacturing networks, which should be taken forward by the next Indian presidency of the G20
  6. Concrete actions emerge from the side events of the G20 Health agenda, with a call to action to increase funding to combat Tuberculosis; a commitment to implement the One Health initiative; and a call to action to enhance improvements in the capacity to prevent, detect and respond to AMR.

Indonesia will pass the G20 Presidency baton to India, where members will collectively further discuss and pursue efforts to address and strengthen global health architecture.

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