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Toyota Lights up Abuja Fair With All-new Camry

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  • Toyota Lights up Abuja Fair With All-new Camry

About two months after creating so much excitement in Lagos with the launch of the eighth generation Camry, Toyota Nigeria Limited last week took the new vehicle to the just concluded Abuja motor show and it expectedly was the cynosure of all eyes.

The Camry Forum was a special event where some select very important personalities were invited to interact with the Managing Director of the TNL, Kunle Ade-Ojo, on the elegant features of the new car.

Apart from the Camry, there were other Toyota models on display at the motor show. The Public Relations Manager of the TNL, Bukunola Ogunnusi, explained that this year’s exhibition provided another opportunity for the company to bring all the Toyota models under one roof for visitors and prospective buyers to have a feel of the auto firm’s superior quality products.

The Camry as a Toyota model has since its first launch to the global market in 1982 remained one of the bestselling family cars on account of its functionality and reliability.

The latest generation of Camry, according to auto analysts, has been made sportier, combining functionality with style, power and comfort.

Ade-Ojo, at the press launch of the vehicle in Lagos had described it as another masterpiece from the stable of Toyota Motor Corporation Japan to the Nigerian automobile market.

Speaking through the TNL’s General Manager, Corporate Services, Mr Bunmi Onafowokan, the TNL MD said the new car had come with upgraded, trendier exterior and spacious interior design, adding that it “will readily arouse in its lovers a driving pleasure unparalleled in its class. Indeed, it is a remarkable package of safety, comfort and performance in equal proportion.”

He also confirmed that the model had “undergone a total transformation and transition, from a proven sedan to one that pushes the boundaries of technology.”

According to him, the Camry as a model has enjoyed a high level of goodwill and acceptance not only for the superior quality engineering behind it but also for its stunning beauty.

The TNL’s Brand Manager, Mr Bayo Olawoyin, said the models being introduced to the Nigerian market, 2.5 litre and 3.5 litre petrol engines, would impress many with their cool features, which were a collection of luxury, high-tech and safety quality.

He said the vehicle had been specially built to offer improved ride control, quietness and an “interior that projects an immediate feeling of excellence on the one hand and a driving experience that everyone appreciates” on the other.

He listed some of the striking features as back monitor with pedestrian detector, intelligent clearance sonar rear cross traffic auto brake, adaptive front lighting system, rear electric sunshade, rear electric reclining seats, electronic parking brake.

The new Camry’s selling points, according to Olawoyin, are found in its leading fuel economy and driving performance; high quality ride; top-class safety performance; and segment leading advanced human machine interface.

Interior

He said the vehicle interior had been redesigned to be roomier especially for the rear occupants to enhance the luxury feel of the vehicle. The seats had also been redesigned to increase comfort for all occupants, he added.

He said, “Camry’s newly developed direct shift eight-speed automatic transmission improves acceleration from a stop, provides a smooth ride even at high speeds and helps enhance fuel efficiency.

“The three distinct available drive modes give you even more control. Sport mode indulges your spirited side with a sharper acceleration feel; Eco mode adjusts throttle input to maximise your efficiency. Normal mode blends fuel economy with performance. Thanks to this choice of drive modes, a perfectly tailored drive arrives with the push of a button.”

Its rear seat can be reclined at the touch of a button, reduced gap between windshield and roof to reduce wind noise; a hood silencer to keep engine noise out of the cabin, rear control panel allows power seat, power sun shade and AC adjustment from the rear cabin of the vehicle.

Engine

The new Camry is said to offer a compelling choice of petrol engines, the all-new 2.5L Dynamic Force four-cylinder and a new 3.5L V6, each delivering a sophisticated blend of performance and efficiency.

Toyota said, “Both engines utilise the D-4S direct-injection system, which selects the optimal injection method based on driving conditions to pack a powerful punch with enhanced fuel economy to boot.

“The new 2.5L engine has improved performance by approximately six per cent over that of the out-gone model.”

Talking about performance, Olawoyin explained that the new Camry’s high efficiency, high-powered next generation Dynamic Force Engine, powerful acceleration and new direct shift 8AT had contributed to the car’s low fuel consumption.

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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AFP Supports Access to Renewable Energy with €70m

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300MW Solar energy

AFP Supports Access to Renewable Energy with €70m

The Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) is supporting access to renewable energy for Nigerian manufacturers with €70 million under the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance (SUNREF) Nigeria Programme for renewable energy.

The fund would be administered through the Access Bank Plc and the United Bank for Africa Plc.

However, only renewable energy projects like solar, wind, small hydro, biomas including waste-to-energy power plants would be eligible for funding under the SUNREF initiative.

The AFP described energy efficiency projects (EEP) as capital expenditure projects that would allow energy consumers to use less energy for achieving the same level of energy service.

The AFP made this known during the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency investors’ virtual conference that was held on Wednesday, in partnership with the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), which is a technical assistance programme co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Government and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Power and All-On of the Shell Foundation.

The conference was aimed at enabling the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN) to understand the SUNREF’s technical requirements, equipment and installation quality standards, self-regulatory initiatives and certification for industry practitioners.

The President of the Nigerian Manufacturers Association (MAN), Mr. Mansur Ahmed, who participated in the conference, described the financial and technical assistance offered by the SUNREF as significant opportunity that came at a time, “we needed it most more than ever” to address one of the most militating factors against industrial development of Nigeria.

Mansur said: “Clearly, this is the time for every effort to shore up the manufacturing sector is very welcomed. Therefore, I am delighted that this green energy project is focusing on renewable energy in improving energy efficiency.

“It is our hope that our members will take the full advantage of this facility and be able to diversify their energy sources, improve energy consumption and be able to expand their productive capacity, which is indeed very important in the current state of our economy. I, therefore, urge our members to take full advantage of this.”

The Country Director of the AFP, Ms. Virginie Diaz, said in her opening remark during the conference that the SUNREF would basically provide financial and technical assistance “aimed at supporting business strategies in the green energy sector in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which Nigeria has been supportive of.”

Also, the Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and the ECOWAS, Ms. Cecile Tassin-Pelzer, said the conference would enable investors and service providers to showcase their products and be able to develop relationships with clients and prospective investors in Nigeria.

She added: “I will like to highlight that this collaboration is an innovative financing and project that will help to address Nigeria’s energy gaps by mobilising foreign investments to finance green power projects.”

The SUNREF Nigeria Team Lead, Mr. Javier Betancourt, described SUNREF as integrated environmental finance that is dedicated to developing renewable energy in Nigeria.

Betancourt said in his presentation during the conference that the AFD has put in place targeted support to develop innovative green financing through dedicated credit lines through local financial institutions in the country.

He said: “The SUNREF is part of the broader initiative to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy as well as the sustainable use of natural resources.”

According to the Chief Executive Officer of All On, Dr. Wiebe Boer, the mission of the SUNREF is to bring the members of the MAN into the green energy fold.

Boer observed that any opportunity to address the significant gap that exists in access to energy in Nigeria would have considerable economic and social impacts.

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Fintech CEO: Morocco’s Move to Revisit CBDC Has Global Implications

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Scottsdale, Ari. – February 25, 2021 – Earlier this week, it was reported by both the Morocco World News and NASDAQ that Bank-Al-Maghrib, Morocco’s Central Bank, is forming an exploratory committee to deliberate whether the institution should launch a central bank digital currency. Significantly, only four years ago, the country banned cryptocurrencies.

“It isn’t so significant that yet another country is exploring the benefits of a CBDC, but, rather, the significance is in which country is doing the exploration,” explained Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges. “Even the slightest consideration from Bank-Al-Maghrib marks a historic day for digital assets.”

The newly formed committee is said to be tasked with identifying the pros and cons, while remaining cautious due to the “speculative nature” of cryptocurrencies. This is in line with the country’s original critique that a lack of regulation created risk for consumers and investors.

“It’s worth noting that, despite the ban, Moroccans account for the fourth highest volume of trading in Bitcoin within the African continent, behind Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa,” said Gardner. “A lot has changed in four years. A lot of bureaucrats were leery about the lack of regulatory oversight back then. Even now, many are still cautious. But, the power of cryptocurrencies is real, and they’re here to stay. Especially in Africa, digital currencies could radically change the lives of the unbanked. The fact that Bank-Al-Maghrib is even contemplating the benefits of digital assets — that’s something the whole world will be watching.”

Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Over the past twenty years, the company has built a client list which includes NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.

“In addition to the raw power of digital currencies, the technology that powers blockchain-based solutions is something that region can’t afford to miss out on,” opined Gardner. “For example, blockchain-based authentication, especially when blended with artificial intelligence technologies, could be a gamechanger in authenticating malaria treatments. Using blockchain verification solutions, African governments could nearly eliminate counterfeit pharmaceuticals, which is a topic our company intends to continue to explore over the coming months and years.”

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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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