Leaders unite to escalate the fight against Africa’s child killerDAKAR, SENEGAL, 10 March 2005 – Excitement—and commitments—mounted today in Dakar in the run-up to AFRICA LIVE: The Roll Back Malaria Concert, the star-studded, two-day music event taking place on March 12 and 13 in the Senegalese capital that will reach a billion people worldwide. As performers, corporate leaders and the health and development community came together for a pre-concert press conference, new commitments—including millions of long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets—were announced.
Youssou N'Dour, Roll Back Malaria Partnership Special Envoy and Grammy-winning organizer of AFRICA LIVE, was joined by fellow artists and AFRICA LIVE performers Corneille and Rokia Traoré in confirming the African artistic community’s commitment to combating malaria, which kills 3000 children a day. "There are many organizations that are actively working to fight malaria, but music can go further, " said N'Dour. "Music can accelerate the rhythm of the movement to fight malaria."
The concert's main sponsor, Japan's Sumitomo Chemical, announced a dramatic increase in production of its Olyset long-lasting insecticidal mosquito nets. Mr Shigehiro Oba, Sumitomo’s Senior Managing Director—Agricultural Chemicals Sector, committed to quadrupling production to 20 million nets by end-2005, making an additional 15 million nets available to protect people from malaria-bearing mosquitoes.
This production pledge was matched by A to Z Textiles Limited in Tanzania, Africa’s only producer of long-lasting insecticidal nets, which will also quadruple its net output—by July 2005. A to Z began manufacturing the nets in 2004 after a group of Roll Back Malaria partners enabled the transfer of the necessary technology from Sumitomo to A to Z.
“These announcements are good news for the fight against malaria,” said Roll Back Malaria Executive Secretary Prof. Awa Marie Coll-Seck. “Strong commitment from partners as diverse as music stars and net producers, combined with greater world awareness of malaria, will lead to increased action and success in the fight against this disease.” Coll-Seck added that Roll Back Malaria partners stand ready to ensure that the new nets reach those who need them most.
AFRICA LIVE: The Roll Back Malaria Concert will feature performances by Youssou N’Dour performing with both l’Orchestre du Caire + Khaled and Le Super Etoile, as well as Tinariwen, Orchestra Baobab, Awadi + Joey Starr, Corneille, Rokia Traoré, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangaré, Seun Kuti + Manu Dibango + Tony Allen, Baaba Maal, Tiken Jah Fakoly and Awilo Longomba. Expected to reach an estimated 40,000 spectators and an additional audience of one billion worldwide via television, DVD, radio and CD, the concert will both celebrate the creative energy of Africa and bring a message of empowerment and hope for tackling its major scourge: malaria. Malaria kills over a million people each year—most of them African children—and holds back individual and socioeconomic development across the continent. Yet this devastating disease can be prevented with mosquito nets costing US$ 7 or less and cured with drugs costing US$ 3 or less.
AFRICA LIVE: The Roll Back Malaria Concert was conceived by N’Dour and documentary film director Mick Csáky of UK independent television production company Antelope and made possible by sponsorship from the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, which brings together a wide range of partners from a range of constituencies—including countries, development organizations, the private sector, scientists and community groups—active in the fight against malaria.
Roll Back Malaria partners involved in the event include principal sponsors Sumitomo Chemical, the United Nations Foundation, and Exxon Mobil Corporation as well additional financial and in-kind sponsors including Novartis, the Government of Senegal, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Youssou N’Dour Foundation.
A two-hour documentary film about AFRICA LIVE: The Roll Back Malaria Concert is being made for worldwide television distribution from July 2005, along with a DVD version, four one-hour concert recordings, a radio series and a half-hour educational film about malaria.
For more information, please contact:
Roll Back Malaria Partnership Secretariat
(for general queries and issues relating to malaria)
Pru Smith Lauren Ptito Anderson
+221 507 8031 (Dakar) +41 22 791 2167 (Geneva)
Alioune Ndiaye (Francophone/Senegalese press)
+221 657 0987 (Dakar)
Antelope/Idéale Audience TV production
(for broadcast media and issues relating to broadcasting)
Katharina von Flotow
+221 611 31 14 (Dakar)
+41 79 706 86 48 (Geneva)