This week in London, Sumitomo Chemical announced plans to expand the local production of Olyset nets to West Africa, through a new production facility in Nigeria. When constructed, the new factory will generate 5,000 local jobs, and by increasing the availability of bed nets in the region, will potentially save 400,000 lives over the next 5 years from malaria.

Hiromasa Yonekura, President of Sumitomo Chemical, made the announcement on May 6th at the Business Call to Action , an initiative hosted by the UK Government and the United Nations Development Programme in support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the MDG Call to Action, an initiative launched in 2007 by the UK Prime Minister to accelerate progress in reaching the MDGs by 2015.  The Business Call to Action brought together leaders from some of the world’s largest companies, developing country governments and others to present examples of exceptional economic development and investment initiatives in developing countries, and how they are contributing to the achievement of the MDGs.

Sumitomo Chemical’s announcement follows the first World Malaria Day on 25th April 2008, which was commemorated by malaria initiatives and activities around the globe.

On World Malaria Day, the Roll Back Malaria/Zambezi Expedition arrived in Livingstone Zambia — the half-way mark of a two-month, 2,500 kilometer-long river journey through six countries in Southern Africa.   Sumitomo Chemical is proud to be among the sponsors who joined together to “Fight Malaria on the River of Life.”  By exposing the difficulties of delivering mosquito nets and medications to remote areas, the Zambezi Expedition is demonstrating that only coordinated cross-border action can turn the Zambezi River — the lifeline of southern Africa — into a “River of Life” for those threatened by malaria.

That same day, Sumitomo Chemical joined the Japanese Embassy and the Japan Foundation to sponsor a cross-cultural  exchange concert in Senegal. Doudou N’Diaye Rose, the most famous Senegalese drummer and one of the most renowned African musicians of the 20th century, led a spectacular sabar combining African and Japanese drummers on World Malaria Day.

And in the United States, RBM Goodwill Ambassador Youssou N’Dour took part in a Malaria Awareness Day tour that included an hour-long lunchtime concert in the lobby of the World Bank in Washington, a meeting with President George W. Bush at the White House, and attendance at the launch of the US Congressional Malaria Caucus — and memorably lifting his voice in support of the call to action convened by Ray Chambers at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

As a partner in the fight against malaria, Sumitomo Chemical applauds the growing momentum in the fight against malaria, and heeds the call to help achieve the bold targets called for by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon  — to provide malaria interventions to all people at risk, especially women and children in Africa, by 2010.

For more information:

Business Call to Action web site:
Zambezi Expedition web site:
Roll Back Malaria web site: 


  1. Zambezi expedition crew in Livingstone, Zambia. Photo: Georgina Goodwin
  2. Princess Astrid of Belgium, Special Guest for World Malaria Day, handing out Olyset Nets in Livingstone, Zambia. Photo: Georgina Goodwin
  3. Sumitomo Chemical staff at Victoria Falls on World Malaria Day in Livingstone, Zambia. Photo: Georgina Goodwin
  4. RBM Goodwill Ambassador Yvonne Chaka Chaka speaks with a young malaria patient and her Aunt at the Livingstone hospital in Zambia. Photo: Georgina Goodwin
  5. Princess Astrid of Belgium and Grace Shafik, Mayor of Livingstone visit patients in the Livingstone hospital. Photo: Georgina Goodwin
  6. World Malaria Day concert in Dakar, Senegal featuring Doudou N’Diaye Rose performing with Japanese and Senegalese drummers. Photo: John Demps
  7. Youssou N’Dour peforming for the World Bank in Washington, DC as part of his United States Malaria Awareness Day tour. Photo: Dasan Bobo/World Bank