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.
MTN Nigeria, Gameloft Partner to Increase Access to Variety of Exciting Games
MTN Nigeria announced it has partnered with Gameloft, a leader in the development and publishing of games, to increase access to a variety of fun and exciting games online.
The telecommunications giant in collaboration with its new partner, Gameloft announced the launch of MTN Gameworld, a new gaming platform for its subscribers.
According to MTN, the new platform will allow the Nigerian growing gaming community access to a lot of unique games online through an extensive premium catalogue from Gameloft and other renowned publishers.
Commenting on the partnership, Srinivas Rao, the Chief Digital Officer, MTN Nigeria, said, “We are constantly seeking to deliver innovative products that support the aspirations of our customers, whilst delivering superior user experience. This partnership allows us to provide our customers with access to a variety of exhilarating games from Gameloft and other leading publishers at an affordable rate.”
MTN Gameworld will allow subscribed customers access to a variety of games, which they can play at subsidised data rates through the MTN Gameworld app. Android, iOS and Windows phone users can subscribe via SMS, app, web, USSD menu (*447#), 131 USSD menu and any other MTN customer channel.
President Buhari Commissions 5,000bpd Modular Refinery Built in Imo State
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday commissioned the 5,000 barrels per day modular refinery built by Waltersmith Group in Imo State.
President Buhari, who commissioned the new modular refinery virtually, said the refinery will enable Nigeria to export petroleum products to neighbouring countries and other markets.
The 5,000 barrels per day Waltersmith Modular Refinery is the first phase of 50,000 barrels per day combined capacity plant planned for Imo State, according to the Group.
Buhari commended Waltersmith Group, an indigenous oil firm, and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board for the collaboration that led to the actualisation of the modular refinery.
President Buhari, therefore, directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Department of Petroleum Resources and all other relevant government agencies to provide Waltersmith all the necessary support in terms of access to crude oil and condensate feedstock.
Buhari said, “We rolled out our refining roadmap in 2018, to address challenges in the downstream sector. After many years of government giving out modular refining licences without any coming on-stream, we are today seeing a commissioning within two years.
“The plan to commence the expansion of this refinery to 50,000bpd capacity, to refine crude oil and condensate, is a demonstration of the economic reform Nigeria is undergoing.
“The realisation of the refinery roadmap will ultimately lead us to becoming a net exporter of petroleum products, not only to our neighbouring countries but to other wide markets,” he said.
Elon Musk Net Worth Jumps by $100 Billion this Year to Topple Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Others
Elon Musk, the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Tesla, is now the world’s second-richest person following another surge in the price of Tesla share.
Musk total net worth jumped by $7.6 billion to $110 billion between November 16 and 17 to dethrone Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, from the third position.
Since then, Tesla stock has been on a bullish run and in the last 24 hours added $7.24 billion to Elon Musk’s total net worth, according to Bloomberg Billionaire Index. Bringing the billionaire’s total net worth to $128 billion.
Elon Musk’s net worth rose from just $28 billion in January 2020 to $128 billion on November 24, 2020, representing an increase of $100 billion, the highest by any billionaire.
Musk has finally toppled Bill Gates as the second richest person and for the first time, Bill Gates is the third richest man in the world. This is the first time in almost 40 years that Gates will be in the third position.
Billionaires listed on Bloomberg Index have collectively gained $1.3 trillion this year.
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