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Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan Pledge $3 Billion to Fighting Disease

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Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, last year said they would give 99 percent of their Facebook shares to charitable causes. Now they are putting a large chunk of that money to work.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the limited liability company into which Mr. Zuckerberg and Dr. Chan put their Facebook shares, on Wednesday said it would invest at least $3 billion over the next decade toward preventing, curing or managing all diseases by the end of the century.

While the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has already made investments in charter schools and education start-ups, the money toward curing diseases represents the group’s first major initiative in science. The announcement was also a coming out of sorts for Dr. Chan, who has a big interest in health and was trained in pediatrics.

In a speech to introduce the health initiative at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Dr. Chan said the work to cure disease was in keeping with her organization’s mission to advance human potential and promote equality. She gave an emotional preamble, describing how a high-quality education helped her succeed as the daughter of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants.

“We want to dramatically improve every life in Max’s generation and make sure we don’t miss a single soul,” Dr. Chan said, referring to her and Mr. Zuckerberg’s infant daughter, Maxima. “We’ll be investing in basic science research with the goal of curing disease.”

The event was attended by Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco; Janet Napolitano, the president of the University of California and former secretary of homeland security; and investors including Yuri Milner, who backed Facebook before it went public. About 63,000 people watched the event on Facebook Live and there were about 450 attending.

Several of Mr. Zuckerberg’s Facebook co-founders or early executives have also pledged money to charity or specifically toward health initiatives. Dustin Moskovitz, a Facebook co-founder, is part of the Giving Pledge, through which the world’s wealthiest individuals and families have dedicated a majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Sean Parker, who was president of Facebook when the company was still a start-up, earlier this year said he would give $250 million to six cancer centers nationwide.

Other tech billionaires have also given to public health, including Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder. His Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave $10.2 billion through 2014 to global health initiatives like fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Mr. Zuckerberg and Dr. Chan, who are also part of the Giving Pledge and have looked up to Mr. Gates, announced the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative at the end of last year. At the time, their Facebook holdings were valued at around $45 billion.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s structure as a limited liability company gives it freedom to also spend on for-profit companies and political donations. Some traditional philanthropies, which have spending restrictions and targets they must meet, disapprove of the L.L.C. structure.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s science work will be led by Cori Bargmann, a neuroscientist at Rockefeller University in New York. The first project will be the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, an independent research center in San Francisco that will bring together engineers, computer scientists, biologists, chemists and others. Formed in partnership with Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco, it will receive initial funding of $600 million over 10 years.

At the event Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg said that if his organization’s plan to cure or manage all disease worked, it should increase human life expectancy to 100 years.

“That doesn’t mean no one will ever get sick,” he said. “But they should be able to treat it and manage it.”

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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Energy

Africa Renewable Energy Fund II Secures €125 Million First Close With SEFA and CTF Investments

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The Africa Renewable Energy Fund II has achieved its first close at €125 million, following a joint investment of €17.5 million from The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa and the Climate Technology Fund through the African Development Bank.

AREF II, a successor to the original Fund, is a 10-year closed-ended renewable energy Private Equity Fund with a $300 million target capitalization. The Africa Renewable Energy Fund II, managed by Berkeley Energy, invests in early-stage renewable energy projects, thereby not only de-risking the most uncertain phase of power projects, but also promoting increased green baseload in Africa’s generation mix.

The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa and the Climate Technology Fund will each contribute roughly €8.7 million to mobilize private-sector investment into Africa’s renewable energy sector. The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa will also contribute financing to the AREF II Project Support Facility, which funds technical assistance and early-stage project support to improve bankability.

Other investors include the U.K’s CDC Group, Italy’s CDP, the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) and SwedFund.

“We are proud to be associated with Berkeley Energy and other like-minded investors, and look forward to AREF’s continued success and leadership in promoting sustainable power development on the continent,” said Dr. Kevin Kariuki, the African Development Bank’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.

In 2012, the African Development Bank selected Berkeley Energy, a seasoned fund manager of clean energy projects in global emerging markets to set up AREF. AREF II has a sharper strategic focus than its predecessor on “green baseload” projects that will deliver firm and dispatchable power to African power systems through hydro, solar, wind and battery storage technologies.

Luka Buljan, Berkeley Energy’s Managing Director, said: “We are very excited to have reached this milestone with strong support from our backers. The catalytic tranche from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa and the Climate Technology Fund will assist in mobilising private institutional investors up to full fund size of €300 million. We now look forward to concluding the fundraising and delivering projects that will provide clean, reliable and affordable energy across African markets.”

“AREF is intertwined with the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa’s history and success, and we have worked closely over the last decade to create precedents in difficult markets and challenging technologies. We look forward to continued collaboration to accelerate the energy transition in Africa,” said Joao Duarte Cunha, Manager for Renewable Energy Initiatives at the African Development Bank and Coordinator of the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa.

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Crude Oil

FG Earned $34.22B From Crude Oil and Gas in 2019 – NEITI

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The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) on Thursday released its 2019 oil and gas industry audit report, which shows that Nigeria earned N34.22 billion from the oil and gas industry in 2019.

The audit, conducted by Adeshile Adedeji & Co. (Chartered Accountants), an indigenous accounting and auditing firm, reconciled payments from 98 entities. They include 88 oil and gas companies, nine government agencies and the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG).

The 2019 figure is an increase of 4.88 percent over the $32.63billion revenue realised from the sector in 2018. A breakdown of the earnings showed that payments by companies accounted for $18.90billion, while flows from federation sales of crude oil and gas accounted for $15.32billion.

The report further showed that 10 years (2010-2019) aggregate financial flows from the oil and gas sector to government amounted to $418.544billion, with the highest revenue flow of $68.442 recorded in 2011, while the lowest revenue flow of $17.055 was recorded in 2016.

According to NEITI, the total crude oil production in 2019 was 735.244mmbbls, representing an increase of 4.87 percent over the 701.101mmbbls recorded in 2018. Production sharing contracts (PSCs) contributed the highest volumes of 312.042mmbbls followed by Joint Venture (JV) and Sole Risk (SR) which recorded 310,284mmbbls and 89.824mmbbls respectively. Others are Marginal Fields (MFs) and Service Contracts (SCs) which accounted for 21,762mmbbls and 1,330mmbbls respectively.

The report also showed that total crude oil lifted in 2019 was 735.661mmbbls, indicating a 4.93 percent increase to the 701.090 mmbbls recorded in 2018, with companies lifting 469.010mmbbls, while 266.650mmbbls was lifted by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on behalf of the federation.

Analysis of crude oil lifted by NNPC showed that 159.411mmbbls was for export, while 107.239mmbbls was for domestic refining. 97 percent of the volumes for domestic refining (104.475mmbbls) was utilised for the Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) programme while the remaining 3 percent (2.764mmbbls) was delivered to the refineries.

NEITI reported that the value of the 2019 domestic crude oil earnings was N2.722 trillion. Of this figure, N518.074billion was deducted for Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) under-recovery by the NNPC.

This figure was N213.074billon above the approved sum of N305billion for under-recovery in 2019. Similarly, the sum of N126.664billion was incurred by the Corporation as costs for pipeline repairs and maintenances which showed a difference of N96.378billion from the approved sum of N30.287billion for that purpose.

The report also pointed out that N31.844billion was also deducted for crude and product losses due to theft.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Drop on Stronger U.S Dollar

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Crude oil - Investors King

The strong U.S Dollar pressured global crude oil prices on Thursday despite the big drop in U.S crude oil inventories.

The Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped by 74 cents or 1 percent to settle at $73.65 a barrel at 4.03 am Nigerian time on Thursday.

The U.S West Texas Intermediate crude oil depreciated by 69 cents or 1 percent to $71.46 a barrel after reaching its highest since October 2018 on Wednesday.

Energy markets became so fixated over a robust summer travel season and Iran nuclear deal talks that they somewhat got blindsided by the Fed’s hawkish surprise,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

The Fed was expected to be on hold and punt this meeting, but they sent a clear message they are ready to start talking about tapering and that means the dollar is ripe for a rebound which should be a headwind for all commodities.

The U.S. dollar boasted its strongest single day gain in 15 months after the Federal Reserve signaled it might raise interest rates at a much faster pace than assumed.

A firmer greenback makes oil priced in dollars more expensive in other currencies, potentially weighing on demand.

Still, oil price losses were limited as data from the Energy Information Administration showed that U.S. crude oil stockpiles dropped sharply last week as refineries boosted operations to their highest since January 2020, signaling continued improvement in demand.

Also boosting prices, refinery throughput in China, the world’s second largest oil consumer, rose 4.4% in May from the same month a year ago to a record high.

This pullback in oil prices should be temporary as the fundamentals on both the supply and demand side should easily be able to compensate for a rebounding dollar,” Moya said.

 

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