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UK Gives 15m People COVID Vaccines

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UK Gives 15m People COVID Vaccines

The United Kingdom’s government says it has met a target of offering at least a first coronavirus vaccine shot to the most vulnerable people in England by mid-February, reaching some 15 million people in four priority groups.

The vaccine programme is seen as one of few successes in the government’s handling of a pandemic that has left the country of about 67 million people with a higher death toll and worse economic damage than many others.

After becoming the first in the world to approve a vaccine, the British government set an ambitious February 15 target date to reach 15 million care home residents and staff, front-line health and care workers, all those aged 70 or above and the clinically extremely vulnerable.

“Today we have reached a significant milestone,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a video message posted on social media on Sunday.

“No one is resting on their laurels … We’ve still got a long way to go and there will undoubtedly be bumps in the road, but after all we’ve achieved, I know we can go forward with great confidence.”

Johnson said all the four priority groups had been reached in England but he did not speak for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, and did not say the overall target had been met. In some areas, those in lower priority groups have received jabs.

He will set out further progress on Monday.

The country will now start administering vaccines from Monday to those aged between 65 and 69 and those clinically vulnerable to COVID-19, with almost 1.2 million already invited to book their jabs, the state-run National Health Service (NHS) said. Ministers have also pledged to vaccinate all above-50s by May and all adults by September.

‘Cautious easing’

Infection rates have dropped markedly across the country over recent weeks, as strict lockdown measures have curbed previously spiralling case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths.

The improving situation has prompted calls for stringent lockdown restrictions to be lifted in early March, despite concern about the spread of virus variants that may be more resistant to vaccines.

A new 10-day hotel quarantine regime for British residents returning from 33 virus variant hotspots begins on Monday, despite criticism that the move is too little, too late.

Johnson said on Saturday he is “optimistic” he will be able to set out plans for a “cautious” easing of the stay-at-home rules in England later this month.

He has promised to review all relevant data next week, before setting out the government’s “road map” for the months ahead on February 22. But he is facing pressure from some of the government’s own lawmakers.

Lockdown-sceptic Conservatives have called on Johnson to commit to a timetable for completely ending the controls by May.

In a letter to the British premier, the leaders of the COVID Recovery Group of Conservative MPs said the “tremendous pace” of the vaccination roll-out allowed for the move.

“The vaccine gives us immunity from Covid, but it must also give us permanent immunity from Covid-related lockdowns and restrictions,” they wrote.

“All restrictions remaining after March 8 should be proportionate to the ever-increasing number of people we have protected.”

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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Bandits Kill Six, Abduct 15 in Niger LGs

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Bandits Kill Six, Abduct 15 in Niger LGs

Again, bandits have killed six persons and kidnapped 15 others in renewed attacks on communities in two local government areas of Niger State.

One of those killed was at Pandogari town in Rafi Local Government Area, where five people were abducted, while the remaining five were murdered in Gurmana in Shiroro Local Government Area of the state. Ten persons were kidnapped in this incident.

Both incidents took place Thursday night, according to an eyewitness who spoke to newsmen.

Apart from those killed or kidnapped, a large number of villagers were injured in the stampede that followed the activities of the gunmen and are presently receiving treatment at medical centres in the two local government areas.

“This thing has become a daily occurrence,” a disappointed top government official told the press on condition of anonymity.

“The attacks are creating daily IDPs and social problems for the state,” the official added.

Five persons were killed, while eight others were kidnapped in separate bandits’ attacks on Anwar Mahogi and Rsfingora communities of Rafi Local Government Area of the state also on Thursday.

Several cattle were said to have been rustled in the raid.

One of those killed in Angwar Mahogi was Dauda Daniel, a graduate of the Federal College of Education, Kontagora, who was said to be planning for his wedding slated for March 6, this year.

While the attack lasted, eyewitnesses said that a helicopter hovered in the skies apparently giving cover to the bandits.

There have been no response to calls made to the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Wasiu Abiodun, for confirmation of the incidents.

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Lagos Gov to Shut Down Third Mainland Bridge this Friday

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Lagos Gov to Shut Down Third Mainland Bridge this Friday

The Lagos State Government will shut down the Third Mainland Bridge for 24 hours from midnight Friday, February 26th to midnight Saturday.

The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde who made this known in a statement issued on Wednesday, said the total closure of the bridge is to enable the contractors move the equipment used during the rehabilitation process off the bridge and allow both the Oworonshoki and Adeniji bound lanes open fully to traffic.

Oladeinde therefore, advised motorists approaching the bridge from Ogudu, Alapere and Gbagada to use Ikorodu Road, Jibowu and Yaba, as alternative routes, while Iyana Oworoshoki-bound traffic from Lagos-Island, Iddo, Oyingbo, Adekunle and Yaba are to use Herbert Macaulay Way, Jibowu and Ikorodu Road as alternative routes.

The Commissioner assured that traffic management personnel would be deployed along the affected routes to minimize and address any traffic impediments during the closure.

Commending Lagosians for their cooperation during the prolonged repair works of the Bridge, the Commissioner assured that the bridge is now safe for use by all and sundry.

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FSD Africa Partnership Aims to Safeguard and Leverage Investment for Small and Medium-sized African Businesses

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 The four co-operation agreements signed between FSD Africa and the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA) and East Africa Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (EAVCA) and Southern Africa Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) and the Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Nigeria (PEVCA) will help to ensure local expertise and tailored delivery for regional and country mandates.

FSD Africa today announces the signing of co-operation agreements with AVCA, EAVCA, SAVCA and PEVCA to coincide with the launch of the Africa Private Equity and Private Debt Programme. The programme is a new initiative to support the development of private capital markets in Africa as a complement to public capital markets. It will work to improve the long-term financing options available for businesses across key sectors in Africa’s economy, including healthcare, climate and agriculture.

Access to long-term finance has continued to be a challenge for small and medium-sized businesses across the continent. The economic impact of COVID-19 has only exacerbated the strain on Africa’s formal public markets aiming to provide long-term finance options to businesses desperately in need of capital. This alongside increased risk averseness by lending institutions has left few options for SMEs to access long term financing, in many cases resulting in business closures and job losses.

Through the Africa Private Equity and Private Debt Programme FSD Africa aims to leverage various tools including grants, technical assistance, advocacy and investment capital to support the growth of private capital markets. The partnership aims to support growth in a way that is uniquely African in character, tailored to the local context and delivering long term financing options for SMEs.

FSD Africa, AVCA, EAVCA, SAVCA and PEVCA will work with policymakers, regulators, industry associations, institutional investors and other market operators to encourage and advocate for changes that promote increased flow of institutional capital into private capital markets. Through the programme FSD Africa and its partners will seek to create a knowledge sharing environment by working with regulators to put in place regulatory provisions and/or incentives, build capacity and understanding of relevant market stakeholders.

Mark Napier, CEO at FSD Africa, said:

“Supporting the development of private equity and private debt markets in Africa will provide a boost to small and medium-sized businesses and local economies. We believe this will be greatly welcomed in the short term, ensuring that more jobs are saved, but it will also provide long-term benefits and improve access to capital.  Globally, there has been a secular shift towards private capital markets and it is appropriate that, as part of our response to COVID-19, we pay enough attention to the development of private markets, allowing for more local capital to be channelled into essential sectors including health, agriculture and climate.”

Evans Osano, Director, Capital Markets at FSD Africa, said:

“By encouraging long-term investment capital to Africa’s private sector, real impact can be delivered, including creating and sustaining jobs, and increasing access to services like healthcare. We urge local investors, regulators, and other relevant individuals to come forward to be a part of this programme and look forward to working with them on this exciting next step.

Ify Ossi, Executive Secretary, PEVCA, said:

With the unprecedented economic shocks brought on by the pandemic, the case for mobilizing private capital in our clime has become more evident. In the face of the huge funding gap and growth lag facing sectors across Nigeria, long-term access to local financing coupled with structural adaptations, were necessary, are key to our economic growth and sustainability. Interventions that address industry gaps and challenges must be both private sector and policy driven guided by suitable strategic partnerships and alliances, among other factors. We are excited about PEVCA’s partnership with FSD Africa, particularly its pan African approach towards capital market development, and look forward to jointly facilitating solutions for our industry.

Tanya van Lill, CEO, SAVCA, said:

“SAVCA is looking forward to partner with FSD Africa on this initiative to support the development of private capital markets in Africa. This Programme has the potential to unlock much needed catalytic capital for businesses and industries that have the potential to not only create and preserve jobs, but also contribute to much needed economic growth given the impact of COVID-19.“

Eva Warigia, Executive Director, EAVCA, said:

“For the EAVCA, FSD Africa is a natural partner given their in-depth knowledge of local markets. We see this as a strategic partnership that will advance EAVCA’s commitment to increase local participation in financing private business- both mature and early stage- in East Africa by providing alternative sources of capital”.

Abi Mustapha-Maduakor, CEO, AVCA, said”

“In addition to facilitating greater inflow of private investment to the continent, advocacy is at the centre of our work at AVCA. This collaboration with FSD Africa is timely, and I look forward to working with our colleagues at EAVCA, SAVCA and PEVCA to support investors, businesses and governments in their efforts to strengthen Africa’s economy over the coming years.”

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