Banro Foundation Concludes Milestone Year in the Eastern Congo with Construction of Four Schools and New Health and Infrastructure Projects
TORONTO, ONTARIO—(Marketwire - Dec. 13, 2011) - Banro Corporation (“Banro” or the “Company”) (NYSE Amex:BAA)(TSX:BAA) is pleased to announce that the Banro Foundation, a registered charity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the “DRC”), has completed its most successful year to date with completion of projects totalling approximately US$1.16 million.
Established in 2005 and based in Bukavu, DRC, the Banro Foundation is funded by the Company with a mandate to improve the lives of thousands of people living in South Kivu and Maniema provinces through strategic investments in education, health and infrastructure development and to provide humanitarian assistance as needed. Approximately 50 projects have been completed during the past six years. Among the principles guiding the work of the Banro Foundation is a focus on needs identified by local community leaders, with priority given to projects that benefit communities as a whole. Promotion of opportunities for women is an important guiding principle of the Foundation.
Here are the highlights of 2011:
The Banro Foundation completed construction of four new schools during the year. These were the Kibiswa Primary School near Namoya, the Kamituga Primary School in the town of Kamituga, the Namashongo Primary School at Burhinyi near Twangiza, and the Bigaja Secondary School, also near Twangiza. In addition, the Foundation rehabilitated a primary school and a secondary school at Luciga near Twangiza. Work also began during 2011 on the Mapale Secondary School near Lugushwa.
These seven schools, plus three schools completed in 2009 - 2010 by the Banro Foundation, serve a total of 3,300 students. The Kibiswa school was handed over to the local community at a public ceremony in April 2011. The other new schools will be presented to communities at public ceremonies planned for early 2012.
In September, the Banro Foundation handed over to the community of Lugushwa the new Makalanga women’s centre, a resource centre which provides literacy training and livelihood skills such as sewing. This is quickly proving to be a much needed facility and the Foundation will be looking in future at prospects for duplicating the centre at other sites in South Kivu and Maniema provinces.
The Banro Foundation took a big step in a new direction in 2011 - attracting third party contributions by organizing a golf tournament near Toronto, Canada which raised $96,000 for construction of a new multi-purpose women’s health unit at the world-renowned Panzi General Referral Hospital in Bukavu. The Panzi Hospital treats an average of 3,500 women each year, free of charge. The a multipurpose women’s centre will support prenatal consultation, family planning and HIV sensitization, child health and other activities related to women’s health.
A financial gift was also made to the Mulambi Sisters’ Clinic, an excellent hospital run by the Servantes de la bienheureuse vierge Immaculee and serving the community north of Twangiza. The money will be used for a variety of capital upgrades to the facility.
In 2011, the Banro Foundation moved forward on two of its largest cost items to date, completing first stage rehabilitation of the hydro-electric plant serving the town of Kamituga and the first phase of construction on the new Nabuntalaga regional marketplace at Luhwindja near Twangiza. Completion of both projects is scheduled for 2012.
Other infrastructure projects completed during 2011 included the construction of a new community bridge at Sarambila near Namoya and two basketball courts in the city of Bukavu.
In July 2011, Banro Corporation and the Banro Foundation co-hosted a fact-finding visit by a group of young global leaders with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Banro has joined the CGI and is exploring opportunities to partner with other CGI members to enhance development efforts in the eastern DRC.
Banro was also a sponsor of the inaugural 2011 Schulich MBA International Case Competition in Mining Sustainability, held in November 2011 at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, Canada. Banro Foundation chairman Martin Jones served as one of the judges of the competition.
Approximately US$2 million in new Banro Foundation projects in the DRC are planned for 2012.
Information about the Banro Foundation, including projects undertaken prior to 2011, can be viewed at www.banro.com/s/CorporateResponsibility.asp or in French at www.banro.com/s/FR-Corporate-Responsibility.asp.
Banro Corporation is a Canada-based gold mining company focused on production from the Twangiza oxide mine and development of four additional major, wholly-owned gold projects, each with mining licenses, along the 210 kilometre-long Twangiza-Namoya gold belt in the South Kivu and Maniema provinces of the DRC. Led by a proven management team with extensive gold and African experience, Banro’s strategy is to unlock shareholder value by increasing and developing its significant gold assets in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.