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NCC: Telecoms Sector Added N1.4tn to GDP in Q3

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  • Telecoms Sector Added N1.4tn to GDP in Q3

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said the telecommunications sector, contributed N1.398 trillion, or 1.11 per cent in the real terms to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the third quarter of 2016.

In a statement signed by NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo, which was made available to the media in Abuja, he said the sector’s contribution to the GDP was released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Ojobo said the third quarter figure was slightly lower than the N1.5 trillion recorded in second quarter of 2016, adding that the figures however reflected the sign of the times.

The statement read: “The GDP for telecommunication as at Q3 of 2016 under information and communication contracted 0.95 per cent in Q3 2016 from 1.49 per cent in Q2 2016 and 4.69 per cent in Q3 2015.

“The information and communication sector contributed 9.9 per cent to total nominal GDP in third quarter of 2016, which is the same rate as recorded in the same quarter of 2015, but lower than the 12.6 per cent it contributed in the preceding quarter.

“The sector grew by 1.11 per cent in real terms, year-on-year in the Q3 of 2016 from the recorded rate in the period of 2015, which was 4.16 per cent point lower and also lower by 0.25 per cent points when compared with the rate recorded in the second quarter of 2016.”

According to the statement, further breakdown of the GDP constant basic prices for information and communication under the telecommunications and information service as at Q1 of 2015 is N1.3 trillion and Q2 of 2015 is N1.5 trillion and Q3 of 2015 is N1.3 trillion and Q4 of 2015 is N1.6 trillion which translated to N5.9 trillion for 2015.

The statement added: “Mobile telephone subscription increased from 149million in quarter 2 of 2016 to 153million as at September, 2016 (Q3) and teledensity now is 109 per cent.”

The five big players in the sector according to the statement included, Airtel Nigeria Limited, Etisalat Nigeria, Globacom Nigeria Limited, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and NATCOM Consortium trading as ntel.

“Fixed/fixed wireless operators include IPNX, 21st Century Nigeria Limited, Glo Wired and MTN Wired in that order who have contributed to the growth of the sector meaningfully. There is a new entrant, Smile Communications providing voice over internet protocol services among others.” it said.

NCC, said Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) control about 99 per cent market share while 0.2 per cent is reserved for other operators. Internet subscriptions rose from 31.1million in 2012 to 93.6million as at September, 2016 representing about 200 per cent growth rate.

The statement revealed: “In terms of market shares by GSM operators or (MNOs), MTN controls about 40 per cent of the market with 60.5million active subscribers base.

“Globacom has 36.9million subscribers while Airtel and Etisalat have 32.7million and 22.5million subscribers respectively.

“With anticipated new investments in the areas of broadband Infrastructure in the next few months, the sector which already has about $68 billion total investments so far is likely to add more to the national GDP.”

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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Biotech Firm Launches Lassa Vaccine Trial in West Africa

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Lassa Fever

Biotech Firm Launches Lassa Vaccine Trial in West Africa

A biotechnology company, INOVIO, says the first participant in Lassa vaccine trial has been dosed in a Phase 1B clinical trial for INO-4500, its DNA vaccine candidate for Lassa fever.

The clinical trial is being done in Ghana, the firm says, adding that INOVIO is focused on bringing to market precisely-designed DNA medicines to treat and protect people from infectious diseases and cancer.

The Phase 1B clinical trial (LSV-002), ongoing at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra, Ghana, is the first vaccine clinical trial for Lassa Fever to be conducted in West Africa, where the infection is endemic.

The lead clinical Principal Investigator for LSV-002 is Professor Dr. Kwadwo A. Koram, an expert and specialist in tropical medicines and epidemiologist with more than 20 years of research experience, including malaria vaccines.

INO-4500 was also the first vaccine candidate for Lassa fever to enter human trials, PUNCH Healthwise reports.

Already, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has tweeted his commendation.

Said Ihekweazu, “Fantastic news. The urgency of now. A vaccine for Lassa fever. We have worked very hard with WHO, CEPI vaccines, ACEGID, BNITM_de and many others to put this on the global health agenda. We will keep pushing.”

According to a press release by the biotechnology company, INOVIO is advancing INO-4500 with full funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global partnership that leverages funding from public, private, philanthropic and civil society organisations to support research projects to develop vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.

INOVIO previously received a $56m grant from CEPI in 2018, under which the company is developing vaccine candidates for Lassa Fever and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

“INOVIO and CEPI are committed to making a vaccine available as soon as possible for emergency use as a stockpile product post-Phase 2 testing,” the press release stated.

The statement notes that INOVIO’s Phase 1B clinical trial, LSV-002, will enroll approximately 220 adult participants who are 18 – 50 years old, with the primary endpoints of evaluating safety and immunogenicity in an African population.

The dosing regimen involves two vaccinations at zero and 28 days with either 1.0 mg or 2.0 mg dosing levels. In addition to providing valuable insights on the INO-4500 safety and immunogenicity profile, this trial will inform dose selection for subsequent Phase 2 studies in West Africa.

Lassa fever is an animal-borne, acute hemorrhagic viral illness primarily observed in parts of West Africa.

Infection is spread through contact with infected rodents, as well as person-to-person transmission via bodily fluids (primarily in health care settings).

The disease can cause a range of outcomes, including fever, vomiting, and swelling of the face, pain in the chest, back and abdomen, bleeding of various parts of the body including the eyes and nose and death.

Lassa virus infection in West Africa is estimated to affect 100,000 to 300,000 people annually, and is responsible for 10 – 16 percent of hospital admissions in the region. The virus is responsible for approximately 5,000 deaths annually.

Because of difficulties in diagnosing Lassa fever, the lack of standardised surveillance assays, and the remote nature of many of the areas in West Africa where outbreaks typically occur, the numbers of reported cases and deaths are very likely significantly lower than the actual numbers of cases and deaths.

Though the majority (about 80 percent) of Lassa virus-infected persons are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, the infection can be quite serious to fatal in others. The case-fatality among patients hospitalized for Lassa fever is about 15 – 20 percent and, in some epidemics, case-fatality has reached 50 percent in hospitalized patients.

Up until now, there are no licensed vaccines or treatments specifically for Lassa fever.

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Google Says It Will Start Accepting Political Ads in US

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A logo is pictured at Google's European Engineering Center in Zurich

Google Says It Will Start Accepting Political Ads in US

Google has said it will resume accepting all political advertisements in the United States from Feb. 24.

The search giant disclosed in an email to advertisers on Monday.

Google paused all political advertisements in January when Trump’s mobs invaded U.S. Capitol.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX Raised $850 Million at $74 Billion Valuation

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Elon Musk's SpaceX Raised $850 million at $74 billion valuation

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Raised $850 Million at $74 Billion Valuation

Elon Musk‘s SpaceX completed a $850 million equity funding round last week, according to people familiar with the funding.

According to the sources, SpaceX raised the $850 million at $419.99 per share or just 1 cent below the $420 price that Musk made infamous in 2018 when he announced he had enough funding to take Tesla private at that price.

The new funding round also represents an increase of around 60 percent in the firm’s valuation from its previous round in August, when SpaceX raised almost $2 billion at a $46 billion valuation.

SpaceX raised only a portion of the funding available in the marketplace, with one of the sources familiar with the funding saying, SpaceX received “insane demand” of around $6 billion in bids in three days.

 

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