60 Indian Pharmaceutical companies visited Khartoum for Business meetings with more than 200 Sudanese professionals from the Pharmaceutical Sector at Hotel Regency in Khartoum on 22nd February 2016. The Indian delegation of 72 people were brought by Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council of India (PHARMEXCIL). PHARMEXCIL is set up by Ministry of Commerce & Industries, Govt. of India. This event was supported by the Embassy of India, Khartoum.
The B2B meetings were held between Indian manufacturers of raw material, packaging material, finished formulations for human, veterinary medicines, herbal medicines, nutraceuticals and Sudanese manufacturers and importers of Pharmaceuticals.
India is the Pharmacy of the World. Every third tablet consumed in the world is ‘Made in India’ because India is the third largest producer of pharmaceuticals in terms of volumes. 70% of patients in developing countries receive Indian medicines. 40% of the generic drugs consumed in the USA is ‘Made in India’. There are 1400 WHO GMP approved manufacturing units in India and 1105 units are approved by Europe (CEP); 950 by Australia (TGA) and 584 sites are approved by USFDA. Outside US, the highest number of pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities approved by US is in India. In fact, US FDA has set up an office in New Delhi with many of their staff located in Mumbai. The total exports of pharmaceuticals from India in 2015 was US$ 16.8 billion.
The pharmaceutical market size in Sudan is about US$ 650 million with about 20 local manufacturing units producing 25% of the total demand and the balance 75% is being imported. 16% of the total pharmaceuticals imported are from India. The trend of importing from India is increasing because of quality products at affordable prices. The biggest challenge experienced by both India and Sudan in this trade is transfer of money. Due to US sanctions Indian banks are not accepting payment from Sudan. The higher authorities in India have been briefed about this and they are working towards resolving this issue.
There was an overwhelming response from Sudanese pharmaceutical companies at the business meetings who were genuinely interested to procure from India. Many contracts were signed. Many of them expressed their interest to partner with Indian companies either by establishing manufacturing base or by technical collaboration in Sudan.
Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) Day was celebrated on 17th February 2016 at India House, the Indian Ambassador’s residence in Khartoum.
ITEC was instituted by the Government of India on 15 September 1964 as a bilateral programme of assistance. India has made substantial progress and gained useful experience in industrial and technological development after it regained its freedom in 1947. The ITEC programme of the Ministry of External Affairs was an earnest attempt by India to share the fruits of its socio-economic development and technological achievement with other developing countries. As a result of various activities under ITEC programme, there is now awareness among other countries about the competence of India as provider of technical know-how and expertise as well as training opportunities, consultancy services and feasibility studies.
There are 160 partner countries under the ITEC programme and more than 7500 scholars participate in this programme every year from different countries.
There are 150 scholars under ITEC from Sudan every year who are benefitted from various professional courses such as Agriculture, Renewable energy, IT, modern machinery, remote sensing etc.
ITEC Day celebrations in Khartoum on 17th February’16 comprised of a short film about ITEC ‘Lessons in Friendship’ and two power point presentations, one of these presented by an ITEC participant about his experience ‘My experience with ITEC’ followed by a presentation ‘Pan Africa E- Network Project’ made by the Representative of Telecommunications Consultants of India Limited (TCIL). Besides, there were two other ITEC candidates who shared their experiences.
About 175 guests graced the occasion. Besides 160 ITEC participants, among the prominent attendees were chief guest H.E. Dr. Somia Idris Osman, Minister of State for health, Mr. Selva Ramachandra, Country Director, UNDP, Dr. Anil Mithani Prominent Indian community member and Mustafa Elradi Ahmed H., Secretary General of Supreme council of Vocational Training, Consultant from National Center for training and President Sudan-India Friendship Association (SIFA) . Representatives of local media were also present in the event.
During her remarks, Dr. Somia Idris Osman, chief guest, highlighted the India-Sudan historical relations and growing cooperation in various fields and particularly mentioned about India’s assistance in recently nationalized Kosti Power plant. Dr. Somia said that the ITEC training and other scholarships, Vocational Training Centre in River Nile state and the Centre for English Language Training at Khartoum, offered by India will immensely help in development of Human resources in Sudan. Ambassador of India, H.E. Mr. Amrit Lugun had requested all the ITEC candidates to send their feedback and experiences during their training in India so that the existing ITEC programme can be improved further.
There are few countries where you need an entry visa as well as an exit visa. Sudan is one. One can get an exit visa or an ‘exit and re-entry’ visa only after obtaining an Income Tax clearance certificate. I have been paying Income Tax at the Taxation Chamber of the Republic of Sudan since 2003. Whenever I have flown out of Khartoum International Airport, I have had an interesting meeting with my Income Tax evaluator at the Taxation Chamber. In the early years there were hard negotiations to arrive at a notional amount of income tax. Later it became more systematic and had less hard feelings while paying my tax. This time when I met the Taxman he knew I would be travelling to India and thus gifted me few pieces of local ‘Gundela’ dates. He insisted that I should buy these organic dry dates of Sudan from Omdurman market and take them for my family in Bangalore. “Gundela it must be” said the Taxman.
This was the second year that Asia, the world’s largest and most populous continent had a festival in Khartoum. The festival showcased cultural performances, handicrafts, food stalls and had ‘lucky draws’. It was co-hosted by the Embassies of the Asian countries in Khartoum namely China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan and Russia. The food and handicraft bazaar along with the cultural shows was held on Friday, 28th November’15 from 5pm till 10pm at Lebdah Hall, Corinthia Hotel. More than 2000 visitors turned up from both Sudanese and Asian families. The festival was inaugurated by the Federal Minister of Culture Mr. Al-Tayeb Hassan Badawi who spoke of the friendly relations between Sudan and Asian countries. The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Abd Elghani Elnaim Awad Elkarim said that the location of the festival was near the confluence of Blue and White Nile, symbolic of the Asian countries getting together at this festival and that too on a Friday being a holiday was very convenient for visitors. Ambassador Abd Elghani also mentioned about the significance of Bandung conference in Indonesia before the Independence of Sudan in 1955 where Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru wrote Sudan on his white handkerchief and offered it as a flag for the nation. Ambassador Abd Ghani also spoke about Sudan’s solidarity with Asian countries since the President of Sudan recently visited China and India. The dances, martial arts and musical performances of the Asian countries kept the audience entertained. Ambassador of Korea H.E. Park Won Sup is the present Dean of the Asian Diplomatic Corp in Sudan. Korea presented martial art Taekwondo performed skilfully by a Sudanese team.
Ambassador Susan Blankhart of the Netherlands is very active and visible in social media where we get to know that she has been invited for a typical Sudanese gada (lunch) or she has visited a potato farm in Omdurman. But this time social media announced about the challenge she took to swim across the Blue Nile. On Saturday 21st November at around 4 pm she along with six Dutch women and seven Sudanese girls swam across Blue Nile. The message she gave was that women should not be afraid to swim in the Nile in fear of getting drowned. This event named Crossing the Nile was supported by organizations like Nile Swimmers, Sea Scouts and the Dutch Don’t Drown Foundation.
Chewing gum is good for the gums. Another word for chewing is ‘masticate’ and chewing ‘mastic’ gum is the best. The Ancient Greeks chewed mastic gum made from the resin of the mastic tree. Because mastic contains compounds that are known to inhibit the growth of oral bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium primarily responsible for gastritis and peptic ulcers (it’s also strongly implicated in stomach cancer). Although H. pylori does its dirty work primarily in the stomach and duodenum, it also frequently colonizes the mouth, hence it can re-infect a stomach from which it had been eradicated. That’s a good reason for attacking H. pylori in the mouth as well as in the gastrointestinal tract—and mastic gum can do that.
Some studies have suggested, by the way, that H. pylori may also be implicated in the development of coronary heart disease, possibly by modifying serum lipid concentrations. The medicinal use of mastic is diverse. The resin has been used in cancer, infection, surgical wound adhesion, and ulcers. Studies also document its use as an antioxidant and an insecticide, and for treatment of high cholesterol, Crohn disease, diabetes and hypertension. However, clinical trials to support these uses are limited.
Now to my surprise I was given ‘Mastic Gum’ in place of coins by the cashier in a super market. I was eager to chew mastic but struggled to open the pack. I want the company Batook to know that it is very difficult to open the pack. There is a possibility of the contents to eject out while opening the pack. The video in this blog will demonstrate the plight of a person who wanted to masticate mastic for its medicinal benefits.