US embassy cable - 02ABUJA3297

NIGERIA: ENGAGING THE AMERICAN PRIVATE SECTOR ON HIV/AIDS

Identifier: 02ABUJA3297
Wikileaks: View 02ABUJA3297 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2002-12-12 13:06:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: TBIO SOCI ECON NI
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 003297 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
DEPT FOR AF, AF/W, AF/EPS, AF/RSA, AND OES/EID 
NANCY CARTER-FOSTER 
DEPT PASS TO USAID FOR AFR/AA, AFR/BAA, AFR/WA, 
MICHAEL KARBELING, GH/HIV-AIDS, ALAN GETSON 
LAGOS FOR ECON AND FCS 
 
 
E.O. 12958;  N/A 
TAGS: TBIO, SOCI, ECON, NI 
SUBJECT:  NIGERIA:  ENGAGING THE AMERICAN PRIVATE 
SECTOR ON HIV/AIDS 
 
 
REF:  ABUJA 2651 
 
 
1.  SUMMARY:  On October 21, Ambassador Jeter, 
assisted by USAID Mission Director Liberi, 
National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA) 
Chairperson Osotimehin, Lagos Consul General, 
Mission Officers, and Percy Wilson, an AFR/SD 
HIV/AIDS Consultant, hosted a highly successful 
luncheon for 20 prominent, largely American, 
business leaders in Lagos to discuss the role of 
the private sector in combating HIV/AIDS in 
Nigeria.  The event resulted in the formation of a 
critical new public/private alliance for the 
Nigerian HIV/AIDS effort.  The business leaders 
agreed to form a committee in support of NACA that 
will meet quarterly to explore ways to use the 
private sector's core competences to strengthen 
the Nigerian program and to review progress.  The 
NACA Chairperson also suggested the formation of a 
working group that will convene during the 
intervals between committee meetings to facilitate 
communication and strengthen collaboration between 
his office and the committee.  In addition, 
Osotimehin indicated that he will invite several 
business leaders to serve on NACA's governing 
board.  The group concluded the luncheon by 
generating a list of opportunities for 
public/private sector collaboration.  Subsequent 
response to this initiative has been uniformly 
positive and has included both public and private 
sector proposals to promote the new partnership. 
The Ambassador has agreed to host an HIV/AIDS 
public partnership luncheon on a quarterly basis. 
END SUMMARY. 
 
 
2.  AMBASSADOR'S REMARKS:  Ambassador Jeter 
thanked the business representatives for honoring 
his invitation, and then focused his remarks on 
the status of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.  He highlighted 
the urgency of the situation by quoting the recent 
National Intelligence Council report that Nigeria, 
along with India, China, Russia and Ethiopia, is 
predicted to become a crisis point for HIV/AIDS in 
the next ten years unless urgent and effective 
measures are taken.  Emphasizing the impact that 
an uncontrolled pandemic could have on business 
plans, operations, and profits, the Ambassador 
appealed to the business leaders to lend their 
support to the efforts of the public sector and 
NACA to address this emerging catastrophe in 
Nigeria.  Jeter noted that Nigeria already has the 
most HIV-infected adults and AIDS orphans in West 
Africa, and stressed the U.S. commitment to 
support the Government of Nigeria in its efforts 
to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS.  This was 
expressed through the USG's dramatic increase in 
funding since 1999, and an inter-agency, multi- 
tiered effort through USAID, DoD, CDC, USDoL and 
NGO's, foundations, and universities to address 
the problem.  The Ambassador conclude by 
emphasizing that it was in the business 
community's own interest to joint the HIV/AIDS 
fight in Nigeria, which would greatly benefit from 
the organizational, managerial, and communications 
skills of the business community. 
 
 
3.   USAID MISSION DIRECTOR'S REMARKS:  USAID 
Mission Director Dawn Liberi said that although 
there is some disagreement about the extent of the 
pandemic and the exact number of HIV infected 
persons, there is no disagreement that the AIDS 
pandemic in Nigeria has attained proportions that 
demand urgent and effective intervention.  She 
described USAID's program in support of the 
Government of Nigeria's HIV/AIDS efforts, and 
noted that the USG is the single largest donor to 
the Nigerian HIV/AIDS efforts.  Ms. Liberi said 
that the USG's contribution has increased from 
$2.8 million in 1999 to $14.5 million in 2002 and 
that contribution will increase even further to 
$20.5 million in 2003.  After citing several 
existing USAID programs, Ms. Liberi underlined 
that USAID is seeking new opportunities to expand 
collaboration with the business sector, stating 
that USAID recognizes the vibrancy and vitality of 
the private sector and the potential role it can 
play in this effort.  She also ended her remarks 
by inviting the business community to join NACA 
and USAID in the Nigerian war against HIV/AIDS. 
4.  NACA CHAIRMAN'S REMARKS:  Professor Osotimehin 
briefed the group on the work currently being 
carried out by NACA, in particular the 
Presidential Action Committee's awareness 
campaign.  He said that HIV/AIDS is a priority for 
President Obasanjo and that the President is 
giving his full support to NACA's work.  He 
assured the business community that NACA operates 
with total transparency.  Professor Osotimehin 
stressed NACA's understanding of the critical 
importance of building its capacity to be able to 
provide leadership to the nation in the fight 
against AIDS.  In this regard, the NACA 
Chairperson reported that NACA recently signed a 
MOU with Coca-Cola Company.  He said that Coca- 
Cola will use its advertising and distribution 
infrastructure to support NACA's national program. 
Osotimehin stated that getting the message out to 
the public is very important to create an enabling 
environment to contain and reduce the country's 
prevalence rate.  Professor Osotimehin closed by 
inviting other companies to forge a partnership 
with NACA. 
 
 
5.  AFR/SD CONSULTANT'S REMARKS:  Percy Wilson, a 
retired Coca-Cola director with many years of 
experience in Nigeria, and contracted by AFR/SD to 
spearhead the public/private HIV/AIDS effort, 
underscored the importance of partnership.  He 
shared his belief that the private sector's core 
competences in communication, marketing, 
operations and distribution can be of significant 
value to the public sector in program development 
and implementation.  Wilson stressed that to 
achieve positive results it is critical that the 
Nigerian AIDS campaign be built on a foundation of 
total value chain management.  Private 
sector/public sector human and fiscal resource 
leveraging must be the centerpiece of the 
management plan.  He further emphasized that 
combating HIV/AIDS is a community problem and 
therefore a total community effort is required to 
combat the disease.  Mr. Wilson described two 
models for private sector/public sector 
partnerships:  1) The Merck Foundation/Merck & 
Co., Inc., the Government of Botswana, and the 
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and 2) the recent 
partnership between the Coca-Cola Company, the 
Government of Nigeria (NACA) and UNICEF.  He 
appealed to the group to join forces to develop a 
well thought out strategic plan. 
 
 
6.  CONTRIBUTIONS BY THE BUSINESS LEADERS:  The 
Coca-Cola Company and Chevron underscored the need 
to work in partnership with the public sector 
because it is the correct thing to do as well as 
being in the best interest of business.  Other 
members of the business community echoed this 
sentiment.  CONOCO expressed the importance of 
being socially correct and making sure the 
business community respects local culture and 
customs.  Professor Osotimehin assured the group 
that NACA recognizes this as important and that 
the organization is in dialogue with national and 
local community and faith leaders in that regard. 
In summary, the business community expressed 
willingness to use their core compenences to 
combat HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. 
 
 
7.  MEETING RESOLUTIONS:  Ambassador Jeter's 
subsequent offer to facilitate a quarterly meeting 
resulted in a resolution by the business 
representatives to form an important new public 
sector/private sector alliance.  Professor 
Osotimehin expressed interest in establishing a 
working group for the committee that will meet in 
the interval between quarterly meetings to promote 
the committee's agenda and strengthen 
collaboration between NACA and the business 
community.  He also indicated that he would invite 
several members of the business community to serve 
on NACA's governing committee. 
 
 
8.  PUBLIC/PRIVATE SECTOR ALLIANCE OPPORTUNITIES: 
Members of the group identified the following 
opportunities for the new partnership: 
 
 
  i.  Information gathering (e.g., NACA will 
      provide the committee with the soon-to-be 
      released NACA institutional strengthening 
      assessment) and data sharing (e.g., one oil 
      company will seek ways to share with NACA 
      its data on the percentage of its employees 
      and their dependents who are HIV positive). 
 
 
 ii.  Use of the new wireless Internet technology 
      that will soon be introduced in Nigeria to 
      transmit awareness and prevention messages 
      to rural areas and to assist in data 
      collection for the new management 
      information system. 
 
 
iii.  Mapping private sector locations and 
      programs to encourage further collaboration 
      with public sector programs. 
 
 
 iv.  Applying private sector core competences to 
      launch a national awareness campaign. 
 
 
  v.  Using private sector merchandise packaging 
      to transmit AIDS' prevention and awareness 
      messages. 
 
 
9.  SUBSEQUENT RESPONSES:  Subsequent responses to 
this initiative have been rapid and uniformly 
positive.  Dates have been set for the next two 
follow-on luncheons, for instance, and Professor 
Osotimehin has hired an assistant who will assume 
responsibility for liaison with the business 
committee and for prompt responses to all 
committee requests.  One company represented at 
the luncheon has already contacted a USAID 
implementing partner for assistance with 
developing appropriate HIV/AIDS prevention 
messages for its packaging.  Other participants 
have subsequently stated their appreciation for 
the opportunities discussed at the luncheon and 
have reaffirmed their commitment to involve their 
companies in the national AIDS effort. 
 
 
10. COMMENT:  As previously reported (reftel), the 
Mission has been at the forefront in providing 
support to the dynamic new NACA leadership.  The 
luncheon hosted by Ambassador Jeter marked a 
critical new departure in this support and was 
responsive to the NACA Chairman's request 
emanating from Percy Wilson's previous consultancy 
for USG assistance in engaging the private sector. 
With the exception of the recent Coca-Cola 
initiative, the business sector has been 
conspicuously absent in the Nigerian HIV/AIDS 
effort.  This is no longer the case. 
 
 
11. COMMENT (cont):  The new public/private sector 
partnership  that resulted from the Ambassador's 
luncheon is critical to NACA's effort to create a 
multi-sectoral response.  Furthermore, the 
creation of the public/private alliance will 
facilitate implementation of USAID's proposed new 
five-year strategy.  Many of the employees of 
companies attending the luncheon (e.g., oil-rig 
and oil-service workers, transport workers, 
construction workers) serve as critical "bridging" 
agents for the spread of HIV to the general 
population.  The targeting of high-risk and 
"bridging" groups will be a critical element of 
the new USAID five-year strategy and the creation 
of this partnership will greatly facilitate access 
to these groups. 
 
 
JETER 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04