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Bill Gates Donates $1m for Food, Farming Aids to Borno

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Bill Gates

Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima on Sunday inaugurated the distribution of food items and farm outreach committee targeting 40,000 victims of the Boko Haram insurgency through the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which donated one million dollars to the Borno State Government as a post conflict intervention meant to support victims who are returning to their communities.

Shettima inaugurated the support commitee to begin with the distribution of 25 kilogram bag of rice and 10 kilogram bag of beans to each of 1,100 households at Mainok village in Kaga local government area, 45 kilometres away from Maiduguri.

The governor said officials of the state government working with the Gates Foundation used the $1m to procure the food items and commenced funding of 100 hectares of farm where beans is being cultivated.

He explained that 200 farm-families would be allocated tilled and fertile land measuring half hectare each along with improved seeds, fertilizer, chemicals and technical supervision so that they can start growing food crops. The Governor also announced the release of two trucks of maize grid to add to the food procured with the Gates’ donation.

“We are grateful to God for creating people like Mr Bill Gates and his dear wife, Melinda. These leading lights of philanthropy across the world have shown love to the good people of Borno State at a time we are on the ground and looking for any hand to hold in trying to lift ourselves up.

“Now, with the emerging peace in Borno State, it is only necessary that as Post Insurgency response, focus should be combined in supporting all categories of the victims from those at Internally Displaced Persons, those in communities within Maiduguri, those in our satellite camps outside Maiduguri, those in communities across different local government areas who are returning to their homes and those being resettled.

“It is in this regard, that we are gathered today to Flag off the distribution of a key intervention of one million dollars food and farming aide donated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Let me say it for the record, that unlike majority of interventions which happily came to us in kind, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated cash of one million dollars to the Borno State Government. “It is the State Government that is carrying out procurement in the implementation of this particular intervention. The intervention is targeting returning and re-settling communities by giving them food aid and also helping them to return to their familiar ways of producing food for themselves and for commercial purposes.

“The intervention from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is being used for food supplies and to fund farming activities for households. As a preliminary stage, beans is being cultivated in one hundred hectares of land. Half hectare is being allocated to a farm-family with a target of reaching 200 households. Each household may have from 2 to 10 family members.

“Already, farms have been established in Konduga and Damboa. Each household is to be allocated not only tilled and fertile land but also improved variety of seeds, fertilizer, chemicals and most importantly, technical field supervision by extension workers.

“On the food aspect, one thousand, one hundred households, not individuals, will be given a 25 kilogram bag of rice and a 10-kilogram bag for each household here in Mainok, Kaga local government area. The intervention aims at reaching 40,000 victims of the insurgency through households on both food aid and farming activity.

“We are particularly interested in ensuring that citizens begin to produce food crops in safe locations because direct food aid in post conflict situations is never sustainable over a long period of time” Shettima said.

Officials of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ‎(UNOCHA) witnessed the distribution with goodwill presented by them.

The Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement in Borno State, Dr Babagana Umara Zulum explained that two trucks of food items as well as two farms in Damboa and Konduga funded through the Gates donation were ‎ready for immediate access on Sunday while more communities were to benefit in a continuous exercise.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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The Time is Now for Global ESG Regulation: deVere CEO

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Nigel Green - Investors King

A global regulatory framework for environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing is now urgently required, affirms the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The ‘call to action’ from Nigel Green, the chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as major financial institutions are handling a massive uptick of inflows into the sector but at the same time facing accusations of inconsistency in their approach to sustainable impactful investments.

Mr Green says: “Environmental, social and governance investing is this decade’s ultimate investment megatrend – and it has been accelerated since the pandemic began.

“There’s been a dramatic increase of inflows into the sector from both retail and institutional investors as it has become clearer than ever that human health is reliant upon healthy ecosystems; that we need to ensure the sustainability of supply chains; and that those companies with robust corporate governance and good business practice fare better in difficult times and are ultimately best-positioned for the future.”

He continues: “The trend is unlikely to slow down in a post-pandemic world. Millennials, who are statistically more likely to seek responsible investment options, are set to become the major beneficiaries of the largest inter-generational transfer of wealth – an estimated $30trillion over the next few years.

“In addition, recent research reveals that the majority of environmental, social and governance investments have outperformed their non-sustainable counterparts over the last year and have had lower volatility.

“This will only serve to attract more investors.”

Given the continuing and increasing demand, Mr Green says that the regulatory landscape must reflect the situation.

“Regulators need to catch-up.  Initiatives that began in the EU are now spreading worldwide, but much more needs to be done, at a faster pace and with a joined-up approach. There remains a startling lack of consistency in definitions and data.

“Considering the momentum of the sector, the time is now for the establishment of a global regulatory framework for ESG investing.”

This, he says, will provide greater protections for those investors who are looking for profits with purpose. It will also help to reduce ‘greenwashing’, which is where an investment or company gives an inaccurate impression over its green, socially responsible or corporate credentials.

The deVere CEO concludes: “A robust standardised regulatory framework would make the sector even more attractive, which will then help investors reach their financial goals whilst proactively protecting people and the planet.”

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BMW and Ford Invest in Solid Power to Secure All Solid-State Batteries for Future Electric Vehicles

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 Solid Power, an industry-leading producer of all solid-state batteries for electric vehicles, yesterday announced a $130 million Series B investment round led by the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and Volta Energy Technologies.

Ford and the BMW Group have also expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all solid-state batteries for future electric vehicles.

The investment positions Solid Power to produce full-scale automotive batteries, increase associated material output and expand in-house production capabilities for future vehicle integration. The BMW Group and Ford aim to utilize Solid Power’s low-cost, high-energy all solid-state battery technology in forthcoming electric vehicles.

“BMW and Ford now share leading positions in the race for all solid-state battery-powered electric vehicles,” said Doug Campbell, CEO and co-founder of Solid Power. “Solid Power now plans to begin producing automotive-scale batteries on the company’s pilot production line in early 2022 as a result of our partners’ continued commitment to Solid Power’s commercialization efforts.”

Solid Power has demonstrated its ability to produce and scale next-generation all solid-state batteries that are designed to power longer range, lower cost and safer electric vehicles using existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing infrastructure.

Solid Power’s leadership in all solid-state battery development and manufacturing has been confirmed with the delivery of hundreds of production line-produced battery cells that were validated by Ford and the BMW Group late last year, formalizing Solid Power’s commercialization plans with its two long-standing automotive partners.

“Solid-state battery technology is important to the future of electric vehicles, and that’s why we’re investing directly,” said Ted Miller, Ford’s manager of Electrification Subsystems and Power Supply Research. “By simplifying the design of solid-state versus lithium-ion batteries, we’ll be able to increase vehicle range, improve interior space and cargo volume, deliver lower costs and better value for customers and more efficiently integrate this kind of solid-state battery cell technology into existing lithium-ion cell production processes.”

“Being a leader in advanced battery technology is of the utmost importance for BMW. The development of all solid-state batteries is one of the most promising and important steps towards more efficient, sustainable, and safer electric vehicles. We now have taken our next step on this path with Solid Power,” said Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management BMW AG, Development. “Together we have developed a 20 Ah all solid-state cell that is absolutely outstanding in this field. Over the past 10 years, BMW has continuously increased the battery cell competence– important partners like Solid Power share our vision of zero-emission mobility.”

Solid Power is currently producing 20-ampere hour (Ah) multi-layer all solid-state batteries on the company’s continuous roll-to-roll production line, which exclusively utilizes industry standard lithium-ion production processes and equipment.

Both Ford and the BMW Group will receive full-scale 100 Ah cells for automotive qualification testing and vehicle integration beginning in 2022. Solid Power’s all solid-state platform technology allows for the production of unique cell designs expected to meet performance requirements for each automotive partner. Solid Power’s truly all-solid cell designs achieve higher energy densities, are safer and are expected to cost less than today’s best-performing lithium-ion battery cells.

“Volta invested early in Solid Power when our team of energy and commercialization experts found they had not only promising technology, but also a fundamental focus on manufacturability. After all, a breakthrough battery will not find a place in the market if it can’t be produced at scale with acceptable costs,” said Dr. Jeff Chamberlain, CEO of Volta Energy Technologies, a venture capital firm spun out of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory focused on investing in breakthrough energy storage and battery innovations.

“The fact that Solid Power is already producing multi-layer all solid-state batteries using industry-standard automated commercial manufacturing equipment is why Volta is excited to ramp up its earlier investment. The company’s partnership with BMW and Ford will further accelerate the full commercialization of Solid Power’s batteries and position both car companies to be among the first to have EVs on the road powered by safer, affordable, high-energy solid-state batteries.” He added.

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Custodian Investment To Raise $15M Additional Capital

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custodian and UACN Deal

Shareholders of Custodian Investment Plc yesterday gave their approval to the board of directors of the company to raise the naira equivalent of up to $15 million as additional capital through a convertible loan instrument.

The shareholders, who gave the approval at the 26th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the group held in Lagos, also authorised the directors to convert the loan into shares in the company at a conversion price higher than N6.00 per share or the 12-month historical daily share price of the company derived from the Daily Official List of the Nigeria Exchange Limited (NGX)for the period ended March 23, 2021.

They hailed the board and management for reporting improved financial performance and returns on investment despite the adverse effect of the Covid-19 pandemic which disrupted global and local economies in 2020.

Sunny Nwosu, the founding Coordinator of Independent Shareholders of Nigeria (ISAN), commended the company’s performance and returns on investment. He, however, advised that the company should consider a bonus issue to shareholders because of the robust statutory reserves and regulatory requirements.

Also speaking, the President of Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity Association, Mr. Matthew Akinlade, said the performance was a very good one based on the financial indices.

Another shareholder, Mr. Adebayo Adeleke, commended the company for weathering the storm of 2020 and its challenging operating environment. He praised the company for the foresight of having a holding company which now enables it to make investment decisions easily.

The shareholders approved the final dividend of 55 kobo per share, bringing the total dividend to 65 kobo, having paid an interim dividend of 10 kobo last year.

Addressing the shareholders at the meeting, the Chairman of the board of directors, Dr. (Mrs.) Omobola Johnson, said, “I am delighted to report that our company recorded significant successes during the 2020 financial year despite the challenging operating environment, a fallout of the global Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting weak oil earnings, Naira devaluation and high inflation.”

She noted that the successes recorded by the company in 2020 was an affirmation of the robustness of the group’s business model, which allowed it to quickly adapt to the fast-changing environment, the astute leadership of the company supported by energetic employees using technology to efficiently provide prompt services to clients.

According to her, despite the challenges faced during the year under review, the group more than doubled its profits by posting a profit after tax of N12.69 billion as against N6.01 achieved in 2019.

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