South Africa to host COVID-19 vaccine technology transfer hub for the continent

AFRICA – The World Health Organization (WHO) has picked South Africa to host the continent’s first messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology transfer hub for COVID-19 vaccines. The move comes after the WHO issued an expression of interest in April, to establish COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology transfer hubs to scale up production and access to COVID vaccines in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The WHO describes the transfer hubs as training facilities, where the technology is established at industrial scale and clinical development performed. Interested manufacturers from LMICs can receive training and any necessary licences to the…

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Google unveils US$6m funding program to support African start-ups

AFRICA – Tech giant Google has unveiled three programmes worth US$6 million which are expected to support women and young entrepreneurs and innovators in at least 13 African countries. Under the first programme, Google will grant US$3 million to the Tony Elumelu Foundation to support women-owned start-ups in the continent to upscale their ideas. The tech giant says the fund will help in providing entrepreneurship training, mentorship and coaching to at least 5,000 women as well as seed capital in the form of one-time cash grants to 500 African women…

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Microsoft partners Standard Bank for its digital transformation and continental growth

AFRICA – Standard Bank and Microsoft have announced a strategic partnership to accelerate the digital transformation of Africa’s largest financial institution and further drive the continent’s growth. According to a statement by Microsoft, creating a digital platform, application modernisation and cloud migration of the continent’s largest financial institution will enable innovation, resilience and cost-efficiencies allowing Standard Bank to respond to customer needs. The Bank’s growing investment in the Microsoft Cloud will enable the innovation, efficiencies, and resilience required to respond to market dynamics and customer needs. “Investing in the cloud…

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Cofounder of CBBE launches new crypto venture capital fund for African crypto startups

NIGERIA – The co-founder of Crypto for Black Economic Empowerment (CBBE), a coalition of 100 Black inventors and founders, Erikan Obotetukudo, has announced the launch of Audacity Fund, a new crypto venture capital fund. The Audacity Fund is a non-profit organization that to intends to invest in African crypto startups, with a special focus on decentralized finance (DeFi), a name for blockchain-based initiatives that eliminate financial middlemen such as banks, allowing people to lend, borrow, and trade directly with one another. “As exciting and interesting as blockchain and crypto is…

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Engie, Energy Web partner to launch solar mini gid and kits financing platform

AFRICA – Electricity access solutions provider Engie Energy Access, a subsidiary of French giant Engie, has partnered with Energy Web to launch “DeFi”, a decentralised financing platform that will facilitate the deployment of solar mini-grids and solar kits in sub-Saharan Africa via electronic money. Finance access to electricity in rural areas is a major concern for providers of decentralised electricity access solutions and Engie Energy Access is trying to find an answer to this nagging question by setting up the “DeFi” decentralised financing crowdfunding platform. The crowdfunding platform uses blockchain…

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Helios Towers raises US$160m to buy more towers in Africa and other regions

AFRICA – Telecommunications company Helios Towers says it has raised US$160 million in equity and bonds in order to invest in more tower infrastructure in Africa and elsewhere. The company raised US$110 million in 48 million new shares on the London Stock Exchange and US$50 million as convertible bonds, it announced. “This capital raising further strengthens our balance sheet and supports our growth strategy,” said the company, which has a market capitalisation of US$2.3 billion. Helios Towers has been listed on the London exchange since October 2019. The company owns…

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Afreximbank invests US$200m in Banque du Caire for its expansion across Africa

EGYPT – The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and Banque du Caire have signed an agreement that will formalise Afreximbank’s US$200 million Intra-African Investment Finance Facility. The facility is designed to finance Banque du Caire’s expansion across Africa, and investments in new branches and subsidiaries, while promoting Egyptian trade with the rest of the continent. Under its three-year expansion strategy, Banque du Caire aims to penetrate several countries across Africa. This ambitious plan builds on the Bank’s existing operational reach, including its 100% stake in Cairo Bank Uganda (CBU), a commercial…

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AfDB appoints Jacques DJOFACK as Director of Financial Management

AFRICA – The African Development Bank Group has announced the appointment of Mr. Jacques DJOFACK as Director, Financial Management, effective 1st June 2021. Jacques, a French national, brings to this role almost 20 years of international experience and expertise in Financial Risk Management from both Development Banks and Commercial Banks in Africa and Europe. Prior to his appointment, Jacques served as Division Manager in the Financial Management Department of the Bank, a position he has held since April 2018. Jacques joined the Bank in 2011 as Chief Financial Risk Officer…

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AfDB appoints Beth Dunford as Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development

AFRICA – The African Development Bank (AfDB), has announced the appointment of Dr. Beth Dunford as Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, effective 1st July 2021. Dr. Dunford, an American national, brings extensive experience to this role having held senior-level leadership positions in the US government where she managed large and complex programs, working with the private sector, civil society, and multilateral and bilateral institutions, as well as with African governments, to deliver agricultural, social and human development impact at scale. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Dunford worked as…

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AfDB and several consortium partner to invest US$80bn in private sector of Africa

Ethiopia secures US$165M in grant funds from AfDB to bolster COVID-19 emergency response efforts

AFRICA – The private sector arm of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has committed to investing US$80 billion together with the G7 DFIs, the IFC, EBRD and the European Investment Bank, in the private sector over the next five years to support sustainable economic recovery and growth in Africa. This investment will create jobs, boost economic growth, help tackle climate change and fight poverty.  “The UK is proud to back this commitment by world leaders at the G7 Summit to invest more than US$80 billion in Africa’s private sector over…

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