Factory Praised for Boosting Local Economy and Protecting Lives

Arusha, Tanzania — On Monday 18 February, US President George W. Bush visited the new Olyset Net Factory in Arusha as part of his five-country tour of Africa. President Bush praised the Tanzanian government, A to Z Textile Mills, and Sumitomo Chemical as major players in the fight against malaria.

“The suffering caused by malaria is needless and every death caused by malaria is unacceptable,”stated President Bush. “So, as this campaign protects women and children from malaria, it also boosts local economies. It helps develop a culture of bednet use that will be sustained long after relief programs have ended.”

During his visit to the country, President Bush announced the launch of an initiative that will bring 5.2 million free bednets to the nation. “This ambitious nationwide program will provide enough nets to protect every child between the ages of one and five in Tanzania,” stated the President during his tour of the Meru District Hospital where he and First Lady Laura Bush handed out Olyset Nets to patients. This will help to provide continued momentum for the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), a five-year initiative launched in 2005 aimed at reducing deaths due to malaria by 50 percent in 15 African countries by 2010.

During their visit to the Olyset Net factory, the President and Mrs. Bush were given a tour of the facilities by A to Z Textile Mills and Sumitomo Chemical management. They learned first-hand about the state-of-the-art technology and manufacture of Olyset Nets, met with enthusiastic factory workers, and posed for photographs.

The Bush’s visit took place ten days after the official opening of the Olyset Net factory on 8 February, which was presided over by Tanzanian Vice President Dr. Ali Mohammed Shein. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony Mr. Hiromasa Yonekura, President of Sumitomo Chemical, and Mr. Anuj Shah, CEO of A to Z Textile Mills, welcomed distinguished guests and partners from around the world to the new facility, which brings production capacity of the long-lasting insecticidal net in
Arusha to 10 million nets per year. Highlights of the programme included remarks from Roll Back Malaria Goodwill Ambassador Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Roll Back Malaria Deputy Director Julian Fleet, and USAID Tanzania Mission Director Pamela White.

Initiated with a royalty-free technology transfer in 2003 — undertaken with the support of the Acumen Fund, Exxon-Mobil, Population Services International, the RBM Partnership, and Unicef — today the partnership has expanded into a 50/50 joint venture between Sumitomo Chemical and A to Z Textile Mills. As a result, over 3,200 jobs have been created in Arusha, supporting at least 20,000 people.

A to Z Textile Mills and Sumitomo Chemical were greatly honoured by the visits, and would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to all who helped us celebrate the production of long-lasting nets in Africa, by Africans and for Africans.

For more information:

Press release, 8 February 2008:
Vice President of Tanzania Dedicates Olyset Net Factory in Arusha
View photos from the factory opening
View photographs from President Bush’s African tour (White House web site)
Visit our web site: www.SumiVector.com

Images: Enrico Ciceri, A to Z Textile Mills, Ltd.