Pfizer, BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine shows 90% efficacy

WORLD – American multinational pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer Inc has said its experimental vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 based on initial data from a large study, a major victory in the fight against a pandemic that has killed over 1 million people, roiled the world’s economy and upended daily life. Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE are the first drug makers to show successful data from a large-scale clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine. The companies said they have so far found no serious safety concerns…

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Kenya, UK conclude tariff-free market access agreement

KENYA – Kenya’s Ministry of Trade and Industrialization has announced the conclusion of the Kenya – UK tariff-free market access agreement, now set for signing and ratification by the end of the year. Trade Cabinet Secretary Beth Maina said the partnership will see a great economic boost for the two countries, and Kenya is set to reap big in its key exports such as flowers and fresh produce. Kenya’s biggest imports from the UK include vehicles, pharmaceuticals and paper. “The agreement will provide continuity for businesses, investors and supply chains…

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Shell to cut 9,000 jobs by 2022

UNITED KINGDOM – Royal Dutch Shell PLC, a global group of energy and petrochemical company has announced a major restructuring to combat plunging oil prices driven by the coronavirus pandemic warning that it will also spark more asset write-downs in the third quarter. Royal Dutch Shell said in a statement that it would axe between 7,000 and 9,000 positions by the end of 2022, of which 1,500 staff have already agreed to take voluntary redundancy this year. The job cuts would amount to roughly 10 percent of Shell’s total global…

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Crown Agents Bank partners with VodaCash for digital payments in DRC

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO – Crown Agents Bank Ltd has signed a collaboration agreement with VodaCash SA in the innovating project of enabling international mobile payments in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through M-Pesa brand The partnership is set to allow VodaCash, through Crown Agents Bank to assist international development organizations to further the transitioning of their payments to recipients and vendors from cash to digital, enhancing financial access, while at the same time reducing costs and delays. Crown Agents Bank will integrate its payment gateway with VodaCash platform and services…

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Paysend expands digital money transfer operations in Africa

AFRICA – United Kingdom based money transfer provider Paysend is continuing to expand its digital coverage across Africa. This is in the wake of a 2019 report by the World Bank setting out plans to digitalise the entirety of Africa by 2030. Paysend will allow its two million users to send money to countries such as Benin,Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Uganda and Zambia, thus bringing the total amount of countries to 18, covering 30% of the total market. The African continent has been a strong example of nurturing strong digital payment infrastructure in…

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Prop-tech startup Roundr secures funding from UK-based investment firm i7V

SOUTH AFRICA – Roundr, a prop-tech startup, has raised further funding from the UK-based investment firm i7V to see it through its current beta phase and help it move to market by the end of the year. Having self-funded itself initially as it built a basic minimum viable product (MVP) and obtained some traction, Roundr was picked up by the Scotland-based i7V, which has now made its fourth investment in the startup. This latest undisclosed capital injection means the firm has now invested a total of ZAR4.5 million (US$270,000) in…

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Safaricom buys US$3m stake in UK gas company Circle Gas Ltd as it diversifies revenue

KENYA – Safaricom, a mobile network operator, has bought a stake in UK firm, Circle Gas Limited at KSh384.6 million (US$3.59m), marking its entry into cooking energy business as it continues to diversify revenue streams away from voice business. The telco discloses in the latest annual report that it completed the transaction last December, giving it 18.96 per cent of the issued shares of the England-based firm. Circle Gas has a local subsidiary, M-Gas, with which Safaricom started working with last January. The telco did not, however, disclose the deal…

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CDC Group invests US$100m in the fourth private equity fund by Helios Investors

AFRICA – CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, has committed US$100m to Helios Investors IV, the fourth private equity fund raised by Helios Investment Partners. This countercyclical commitment from CDC, the first since its last investment in a Helios fund in 2009, signals confidence in the firm and has the potential to catalyse further capital into the fund. “We are pleased to once again partner with Helios by backing the firm’s fourth fund. Our investment will allow growing African companies to access much-needed finance to support their development and…

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Unilever contributes US$649m towards helping people affected by the Coronavirus

UK – Consumer goods manufacturer, Unilever has announced that it will contribute a total of €600 million (US$649m) through cash flow relief as well as donations to help in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. The package includes a €100 million (US$108m) contribution through  donations of soap, sanitiser, bleach and food  to the company’s multiple stakeholders including consumers, communities, customers, suppliers and its workforce. Unilever disclosed that it is making a product donation of soaps and sanitiser of at least €50 million (US$54m)  to the COVID Action Platform of the World…

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UK risks losing up to 14% of its exports to the EU in a “no-deal” Brexit, UN Study reveals

UNITED KINGDOM – Non-tariff measures (NTMs) could cause major fractures in post-exit trade relations between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU), knocking up to US$32 billion, or 14 per cent, off of UK exports to the EU, according to a new UNCTAD study. NTMs are policy measures other than ordinary customs tariffs that can potentially have an economic effect on international trade in goods, changing quantities traded, or prices, or both. They are the key factors mediating market access in the world economy. Potential losses under a…

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