South Africa’s pharma regulator approves Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine

SOUTH AFRICA – The South African Health Products Authority (SAHPRA) has granted a conditional approval for the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, a significant step in Africa’s quest to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic across the Continent. The approval comes just days after the announcement by the American pharmaceutical giant that it is set to provide up to 400 million doses of its highly effective vaccine to African countries that have continued to voice their concerns over ‘vaccine nationalism’ – or the near monopoly by more resourceful countries such…

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Dimension Data acquires Acacia Cloud Solutions

SOUTH AFRICA – Information technology company Dimension Data (DiData) has acquired Acacia Cloud Solutions, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner and cloud implementation firm. In a statement, DiData says the acquisition cements its investment in cloud services and solutions that meet the digital transformation and hybrid cloud requirements of organisations in the Middle East and Africa. In addition, the company says the acquisition will expand its AWS capabilities and provide its clients with cloud managed services solutions that deliver relevant optimisation tools and speed to market. Commenting on the acquisition,…

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German company ecoligo commissions Kenya’s first floating solar system

KENYA – Berlin-based solar company ecoligo, which implements solar projects in emerging markets, has commissioned Kenya’s first ever floating solar plant. The 69 kWp system provides clean and affordable energy to the sustainable flower farm, Rift Valley Roses. The solar plant floats on one of the farm’s water reservoirs, saving space and providing many other benefits in addition to renewable energy. Rift Valley Roses has been pursuing the goal of sustainable, environmentally friendly production for years and in addition to rainwater catchment basins to reduce water consumption and biogas plants,…

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Medical textiles company Lamatem secures US$7m loan from EBRD and EU

MOROCCO – Lamatem, a Moroccan producer of high-‎end ‎medical garments, has secured €6 million loan (US$7.05m) from The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) to help the company increase its exports to European markets. The investment will help Lamatem to increase its supply of medical protective equipment and to offer a more diverse range of products, through the use of a state-of-the-art sterilisation machine, to local and European medical suppliers. Lamatem will also diversify its energy supply and boost the use of renewables, with…

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BUA Cement posts 19.4% growth in profit for financial year 2020

BUA to establish mega cement manufacturing complex in Nigeria

NIGERIA – BUA Cement Plc, a leading cement manufacturer in Africa, has declared in its audited financial statement, a 19.4% year-on-year growth in profit to N72.34 billion (US$176.51m) for the financial year of 2020, compared to last year’s figure of N60.34 billion (US$147.23m). The double-digit growth in profit was a testament to the cement maker’s focus on efficiency, excellent cost optimization strategies, newer technologically advanced plants, and lastly the strong growth in revenue which was driven by the rising demand for cement. BUA Cement’s revenue expanded by 19.33% in 2020,…

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Agricultural Finance Corporation taps NOCK’s George Kubai to be its new Managing Director

KENYA – Development finance institution Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), has appointed George Kubai as its new managing director effective April 2021. Prior to his appointment, Mr Kubai was the General Manager, Downstream Operations at the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK). The new boss takes over from the lender’s Corporation Secretary Mrs Rose Ochanda who has been the acting Managing Director since the retirement of the long-serving CEO Lucas Meso who stepped down in October 2020 after almost 10 years at the helm. Announcing the appointment, AFC Board Chairman Franklin…

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Hospitality company Jumeirah Group appoints Ermanno Zanini as Regional VP and GM of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

UAE – Jumeirah Group, a global luxury hospitality company, has announced the appointment of Ermanno Zanini as the Regional Vice President and General Manager of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, its flagship hotel in the United Arab Emirates.  In his new role, Ermanno will oversee all aspects of the global icon’s operations, building on his rich background to further cement the exceptional service that Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is renowned for.  He will lead and support the team in its unwavering dedication to create unforgettable guest experiences, while maintaining oversight for Italy…

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Eskom adds 800MW to the grid as Kusile Power Station comes online

SOUTH AFRICA – Electricity public utility Eskom has added up to 800MW of supply to the national grid after unit 3 at the Kusile power station was brought online. The activation of unit 3 means Kusile, whose construction is years behind schedule due to labour disputes and design problems, is now producing up to 2.4GW of electricity from three of its six units. “Bringing the 800MW unit to commercial status means construction activity has come to an end on half the eMalahleni, Mpumalanga project,” Eskom said in a statement. “The…

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NEXIM launches US$26m seed fund to support women and youth exporters

NIGERIA – The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) has launched N10 billion (US$26.23m) seed fund to support women and youth exporters under a new programme coined Women and Youth Export Facility (WAYEF).  Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Abubakar Bello, who spoke at the launch in Abuja, described empowering women as smart business, owing to the multiplying effects of women’s businesses on their families and the larger society. Bello explained that the bank has provided enormous support for many export-oriented industries that are high employers of women and youth such as…

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Mastercard Inc to invest US$100m in Airtel Africa’s mobile money unit

AFRICA – American financial service corporation Mastercard Inc will invest US$100 million in Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations valuing the business at US$2.64 billion, the London-listed company said in a press release to Reuters. Mastercard will hold a minority stake in Airtel Mobile Commerce, in line with Airtel Africa’s plan to monetise the mobile money business by selling up to a 25 per cent stake in the unit, the company said. In March 2021, TPG-owned The Rise Fund announced that they will invest US$200 million in Airtel Mobile Commerce (AMC)…

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