AFREXIMBANK and International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) Partner With ARSO to Facilitate Intra-African Trade in Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices, under the Umbrella of the AATB Program
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), have partnered with the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO), to launch a new Arab-Africa Trade Bridges Program (AATB) initiative called the Harmonisation of Standards for Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices in Africa, aimed at promoting the quality and safety of medicines and medical devices imported or produced on the continent.
Harmonized product standards are critical to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), ensuring that producers of goods on the continent comply with one shared set of minimum regulatory and customer quality requirements, in turn allowing them to supply the continental market and beyond with goods that meet those standards. The harmonisation of standards also serves to enhance the quality of African manufacturing and boost intra-African and Arab-African trade and investment – one of the AATB’s key objectives.
The initiative, which will be implemented in a phased manner over three years, begins immediately with the harmonisation of standards for pharmaceutical products and medical devices for use in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The second phase will analyse and assess existing international, regional, and national standards for their suitability in meeting the unique challenges faced by African healthcare industries before achieving the 3rd phase, which is the harmonization of the related African Standards and their adoption on the continent.
Commenting on the initiative, ITFC CEO, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol said, “From a trade development standpoint, harmonizing the standards of pharmaceutical products and medical devices in Africa is a crucial first step in facilitating local production and trade within sector. Such standards provide a necessary baseline from which to regulate the sector more effectively, raising the quality of locally produced life-saving drugs and related products, and ensuring timely access to appropriate and affordable medicines, vaccines, and other health services for those who need them most. It will also act as a catalyst for Africa to benefit from a burgeoning pharmaceutical sector, expanding trade opportunities locally and beyond borders thus creating long term sustainable socio-economic impact on the continent”.
The initiative will also serve to enhance trade and investment within Africa’s healthcare industry by boosting the manufacture of high-quality homegrown products and services – objectives laid out within the AfCFTA.
Welcoming the initiative, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, Afreximbank’s Managing Director of the Intra-African Trade Initiative said, “At a time when the demand for quality medicines and medical devices is increasing, Africa needs to reinforce regional value chains to scale-up the supply of quality medical products. This would also contribute to building the continent’s resilience against pandemics like COVID-19 in the future. Furthermore, leveraging on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, this joint initiative will also facilitate increased intra-African trade in pharmaceuticals and medical consumables.”
As part of a COVID-19 response, the harmonization of standards will facilitate the development of equivalent technical regulations among African countries. Therefore, distribution of medical supplies and equipment from one country to another can be fast-tracked.
A long-term outcome of the initiative will be the emergence of regional supply chains for pharmaceutical and medical devices, which will foster an ecosystem of innovation, local production and the development of medical products for diseases that are currently neglected.
Commenting on the initiative, ARSO’s Secretary General, Dr Hermogene Nsengimana, said “While on one hand COVID-19 has created social distancing as a new norm, on another hand it has brought Africa together by opening our eyes to the need for industrialisation. Standards circulated by ARSO and other standards organisations related to face masks, and hand sanitizers have been used widely by African SMEs to develop locally made personal protective equipment thereby shedding light on the role of standards in industrialization, safety, and trade. This Initiative with Afreximbank and ITFC, will not only help in increasing local production but will also create trust and enable cross border trade and investment for pharmaceutical products and medical devices.”
The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) will play a key role in the development of standardization policies, applying existing principles and procedures that are already set out in the African Standards Harmonisation Model (ASHAM). ARSO’s involvement will be supported by its Council, in addition to a Joint Advisory Group comprised of Regional Economic Communities, and a series of technical committees, which will carry out the harmonisation work with the resources provided under this grant from AFREXIMBANK and ITFC.
FG Installs And Commissions N8 Billion Cargo Scanners at Lagos Port
The federal government has finally put the N8 billion non-intrusive inspection (NII) equipment, also known as cargo scanners, at the Apapa Port complex after receiving widespread condemnation and criticism for continuing 100% cargo examination despite the purchase of cargo scanners.
The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) officers are suspected of sabotaging the scanners, which have been abandoned at the country’s seaports for more than a year. Yesterday, the scanners were officially launched by Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget, and national planning.
Speaking at the commissioning of the three new scanners, Ahmed thanked the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approving the purchase, installation, and training of 120 service officers as well as the approval of the scanners.
However, she asserted that the project would undoubtedly help the NCS carry out its mandates, in keeping with the Administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari‘s top priorities of eradicating poverty and fostering favorable macroeconomic conditions for long-term growth and development.
She asserts that the scanner has the ability to find illegal imports concealed in cargoes and that it allows for the scanning of more cargoes while achieving the desired efficiency and effectiveness in the cargo examination procedures.
“The commissioning of these three non-intrusive scanners is in line with efforts to expedite Customs operations and achieve its mandate of ease of doing business, trade facilitation and preventing port congestion.”
“These three scanners will help increase revenue for government and improve national security. It will also help enhance the remote audit trail of goods within the port system,” she said.
She implored the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), port terminal operators and all stakeholders in the port to cooperate with NCS to take full advantage of the scanners, saying the equipment have the capacity to process up to 500 containers in a day.
Earlier, the Comptroller General Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), explained that the scanners commissioned were an intervention pending the start of the Customs modernisation project, which will deploy 135 scanners.
Ali stated that by 2023, scanners would be installed throughout Nigeria as part of the current administration’s reform strategy.
Nigeria, China to Collaborate on Movie Production
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Cui Jinachun, has called for a collaboration between the Nigerian movie industry and China film industry.
The Chinese Ambassador who made the statement at the opening of the Fourth Asian Film Festival and movie screening in Abuja noted that such would promote harmony, peace and unity between both countries.
According to the ambassador, Nigeria is important to Africa and the Nollywood movie industry had taken the lead with a huge potential of driving a movie partnership between Africa and Asia.
Investors King understands that this is not the first time both countries will call for such collaboration.
Envoys from both countries have hinted at a possible collaboration in that regard.
In July 2022, the Nigerian Consul General in China, H. E. Chimezie Okeoma Ogu sought a partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the government of the People’s Republic of China in the areas of film production.
Chimezie positioned that such collaboration will not only enhance the relationship, it will also give room to knowledge transfer and provision of hi-tech resolution equipment in the African entertainment industry.
The Consular added that Nigeria stands to benefit a lot from the partnership noting that the movie industry in Nigeria is rated as the third-largest globally, accounting for five percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, (GDP).
Similarly, speaking during the opening of the Fourth Asian Film Festival and movie screening yesterday, the Chinese Ambassador also reiterated the benefits of the partnership.
“You know in Asia we have 47 countries, in the African continent we have 54 countries, so we can work together to produce films for the harmony of the people, society and the nations,” he said.
Speaking further, he added that Nigeria can take the lead owing to the large nature of the Nollywood industry.
“Nigeria particularly leads in producing in the film industry, so I think this kind of factor will give a big push and big momentum to develop Nollywood” he concluded.
SPAR Nigeria Begins Black Friday Sales
SPAR to begin Black Friday sales on Friday, November 25, 2022
SPAR Market, Nigeria’s leading supermarket and department store, has announced that its annual Black Friday Sales will begin on Friday, November 25, 2022.
The company said in a statement that it expects this to be one of its biggest Black Friday events ever, thanks to the appointment of Nollywood actress Toyin Abraham as its Black Friday ambassador.
“This year, SPAR offers massive offers up to 70% off in electronics, home appliances, mobile phones, computers, wines and spirits, groceries, clothing, watches, furniture, and more,” it said.
“Spar market has also organised several engaging games for their customers to win amazing prizes at all their stores nationwide.”
The SPAR license for Nigeria was granted to the Artee Group, a leading retail operator in Lagos, in 2009. SPAR’s presence in Nigeria has grown steadily over the years. The partner assessed the market potential and developed the brand through a combination of new build and conversion stores, establishing brand recognition among shoppers and local entrepreneurs capable of supplying local products to this organized retail network.
SPAR is the world’s largest voluntary food retail chain. The company began with a single Dutch store in 1932 and has since expanded to over 13,600 locations in 48 countries across four continents. SPAR’s growth has been supported by a set of values that have guided the organization since its inception 90 years ago. At the heart of these core values is the commitment of SPAR independent entrepreneurs to collaborate in all areas of wholesale and retail to ensure we serve our local communities with passion while being authentic in everything we do.
The story of SPAR in its early years is the story of its founder, Adriaan van Well, an innovative Dutch wholesaler with a clear vision for SPAR’s future. He was inspired by a simple yet powerful philosophy based on the concept of voluntary retailing: independent wholesalers and retailers can achieve more by working together than by working alone. SPAR’s philosophy today is based on the vision of benefiting from collaboration by pooling resources and scale.
Investors King will keep you updated on future Black Friday sales.
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