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


GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 1000753987

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




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

Ethiopia Humanitarian Response Overview (September 2022)


The Deteriorating humanitarian situation in recent times has led to increased humanitarian needs across Ethiopia, with over 20 million people – internally displaced persons (IDPs), crisis-affected communities, and returning migrants among them – needing humanitarian assistance and protection in 2022. Conflict in the northern parts of the country, violence in many other parts, and natural hazards such as one of the worst droughts in recent decades, frequent floods, and landslides are the main drivers of displacement and needs.

High level of displacement and damage to infrastructure and basic services have exposed the population to major protection risks. The death of millions of livestock due to drought has further destroyed livelihoods. Limited food availability is leading to increased migration, as desperate people are migrating in search of water, pasture, and assistance. People on the move have additional barriers to accessing healthcare and are more at risk to ill health.
Limited access to healthcare and other basic needs and services fuels tensions between the displaced and host communities.

1.9 million people are displaced in drought-affected Regions of Ethiopia with one out of three of them displaced due to drought. Drought-affected Regions comprise threequarters of the total land area of Ethiopia, with Somali,
Oromia, and Afar Regions the most severely impacted.

One of every three migrants along the eastern route are from drought-affected Regions of Ethiopia, and one of every three returning migrants are going back to drought affected Regions.

IOM is responding to the needs of crisis-affected communities across Ethiopia, and sectors of intervention include:

  • 450,400 – individuals supported
  • 58,200 – drought-affected individuals supported



Source: International Organization for Migration

Pastoral farmers receive 2.87 million Ethiopian Birr to prepare for drought

The International Committee of the Red Cross has introduced a livestock insurance program in support of long-term resiliency efforts that help communities recover from the devastating impact of drought and be better prepared to cope with it in future.

On a hot day in a small pastoral town in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, Bedel Abdullahi walks around his hut. He inspects the surrounding area, which until recently looked like nothing but desert and is now greening up with fresh herbaceous vegetation following sparse rains. For the 65-year-old cattle herder, pasture represents life for the livestock – and his family. Three years ago, his cows, camels, goats and sheep survived on it, but they were nearly wiped out by drought within months.

I owned 60 cows, 16 camels and a herd of 60 goats and sheep says Abdullahi.

These livestock are a source of income and food through sales, meat and milk. The current drought in eastern Oromia and the Somali region means a loss of livelihood and poverty for Abdullahi’s household.

“I lost almost everything. I only have 12 cows and nine camels left,” says Abdullahi, who remains stunned at how 48 of his cows and seven camels died in months.

Sadly, the drought persisted, and he was forced to sell some of his remaining goats and sheep that survived it to buy food and provide the basic needs of his two wives, 25 children and 29 grandchildren. His family has largely depended on humanitarian assistance from government and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

I do everything I can to provide for my family. But the prolonged dryness has taken all from me, says Abdullahi, who lives in Roggee in the Meyumuluke district of East Hararghe.

Abdullahi’s family received animal feed from the ICRC twice to sustain the remaining livestock. This has helped them through these tough times.

“Some of the sheep and goats could survive the drought. That is my main source of income now. I sell some to buy food for family,” explains Abdullahi.

Communities east of the Oromia region and in Somali region are facing desperate choices to survive as conflicts and ethnic violence, Al-Shabaab incursions, drought and economic hardship leave them extremely vulnerable.

Abdullahi fled his home in Somali region five years ago when gunmen attacked his village, and his family was a target of an ethnic clash. He found safety for his large family in Roggee, Oromia, and settled not long before climate change dried up everything and killed his livestock.

The ICRC is piloting a livestock insurance program in Meyumuluke since 2020, to help communities affected by the devastating drought build resilience and withstand its shocks. The initiative, known as Index-based Livestock Insurance (IBLI), is designed to protect pastoralists against drought-related livestock losses in semi-arid pastoral lowlands in the Oromia and Somali regions.

“The goal is to keep their animals alive during the drought season. Drought is the main cause of livestock deaths in these communities and pastoralists are unable to manage and cope with it,” says Charu Chandra, Deputy Economic Security Coordinator for resilience programs at the ICRC Delegation in Ethiopia. “Our insurance program offers a resilience opportunity for them to protect their animals against drought.”

Apart from the prolonged drought, insecurity has also limited traditional practices of extensive grazing and seasonal migration routes often used by herders to search for pasture. The insurance policy measures available pasture or forage recorded per area via regular satellite images, and tracks any anomalies based on historic data on availability of pasture in the area. Persons registered on the insurance policy then receive payouts when forecasts show severe seasonal forage scarcity – and the money is used to buy feed, water, veterinary medicines and other inputs or services needed to sustain their insured animals over a season in a year of severe drought.

The ICRC has partnered with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Oromia Insurance Company (OIC) to implement the pilot phase of this program – with ILRI responsible for technical backstopping while OIC promotes and sells the insurance product.

“The ICRC provides financial and logistic support to the partners in addition to the subsidy given to the livestock keepers to purchase the insurance product,” says Charu.

On 13 October 2022, some 771 pastoralists received 2.87 million Ethiopian Birr ($54,000) through the ICRC livestock insurance program in Meyumuluke. The amount covers insurance for 2,971 animals insured under the policy six months ago. The payouts are calculated automatically, and individuals do not have to file claims when the rains fail.

I have insured six of my remaining cows because my livestock died due to lack of pasture and water, says Abdullahi.

“I would like to insure all my cows and camels that are still alive, but I do not have enough cash.”

Since 2018, the ICRC has been implementing livestock outreach programs in pastoral communities affected by conflict and drought in the Oromia and Somali regions. These programs drive sustainable livestock farming by helping to protect and restore animal health.


Source: International Committee of the Red Cross

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

NEW YORK (27 October 2022) – 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.


In September 2020, the Human Rights Council appointed Dr. Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker of Sudan as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea. Dr. Babiker is an Associate Professor of International Law at the University of Khartoum and founding Director of its Human Rights Centre. He is also a practicing lawyer, has conducted international investigations in the Horn of Africa on human rights and international humanitarian law and has published extensively.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.


Source: UN Human Rights Council