HealthPlus Limited, the largest and fastest-growing pharmacy chain across West Africa is set to revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry with the launch of Nigeria’s first ever e-Pharmacy. Nigerians can also now access a doctor or pharmacist instantly at a click.
Through the digitization of the Pharmacy and retail services, HealthPlus will now be transformed into a fully automated one-stop shop for Pharmacy Services Telemedicine Services Laboratory Services and, Beauty Consultation Services.
From the fully automated and interactive website, Nigerians can now access all the pharmacy services and consult a doctor right from the comfort of their homes or a click from their mobile phones.
According to Chidi Okoro, Chief Transformation Officer of HealthPlus Nigeria Limited, “we noticed a significant surge in online Pharmacy orders, and many customers organically resort to purchasing medicines online and getting them delivered at home. It is now considered not just the more convenient option, but the safer option as well.”
HealthPlus’ first-ever ePharmacy is in response to this shift and give Nigerians quicker access to the country’s best pharmaceutical care,
HealthPlus’ ePharmacy aims to deliver a user-friendly, all-inclusive online experience, that provides access to professional health care services using any device. HealthPlus ePharmacy is truly a ‘one-stop shop’ experience for health care services including telemedicine and laboratory services in partnership with healthcare providers such as MeCure.
In explaining the specialist nature of the ePharmacy platform, Chief Transformation Officer, Chidi Okoro also remarked that “our intention is to become the leading point of care for medicine use review, prescriptions management and pharmacist consultation services, by providing seamless end to end user experience. We will also be constantly updating our content with helpful information, articles, blogs, newsletters and company announcements.”
Amongst the new features, such as the “Speak To A Pharmacist” chat button on the site, the ePharmacy platform is interactive and gives better access to foster improved communication with our patients and customers. ‘
Afsane Jetha, CEO of Alta Semper Capital LLP, HealthPlus’s private equity investment partner, believes that this is another great stride in improving healthcare delivery in Nigeria by providing access to high-quality yet affordable medical and beauty supplies through a new and innovative platform. “We remain strongly committed to supporting the company strategically and financially in the years to come,” he assured.
Africa Must Close its Science and Technology Gap to Take Full Advantage of the AfCFTA – Ameenah Gurib-Fakim
H.E. Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, the former President of Mauritius and Laureate of the 2007 L’Oréal-UNESCO Prize for Women in Science, delivered a trenchant address at the African Export-Import Bank’s (Afreximbank) fifth annual Babacar Ndiaye Lecture on “the importance of science, technology and innovation in the transformation of African economies”. She called on African leaders to close the region’s science and technology gap to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Professor Gurib-Fakim, delivered the keynote speech at the Bank’s annual flagship event and laid bare a raft of statistics that showed that Africa is falling well behind the rest of the world in science, technology, and innovation (STI). Only 0.1% of all patent applications are registered in Africa, compared to 65% in Asia and 25% in North America. Africa is also responsible for only 2% of the world’s research output and 1% of research spending. Furthermore, the laggards in Africa have 11 researchers per million people whilst the best performing countries in the world, such as South Korea and Denmark had between 7,000-8,000 scientists and researchers per million people.
“How can a continent with the largest share of arable land, a continent with the youngest population, a continent that has fueled all of the world’s industrial revolution, a continent that has helped drive the mobile phone industry, a continent that is at the cusp of supporting the world’s energy transition to greener technology with a large store of rare earth deposits accept such dismal statistics?” she asked.
She blamed “chronic neglect”, the statistics demonstrating that the chronic deficit of researchers and scientists has undoubtedly contributed to the poverty trap that the continent finds itself in. “The deficit of investment in science and technology and absence of economic and scientific infrastructure has undermined the process of economic transformation both at the structural level and at the sectoral level. The consequences of that deficit have been significant and include continued reliance on the colonial model of resource extraction largely responsible for the debilitating poverty trap and aid dependence trap.”
The former President remarked that Africa’s failure to advance in science and technology has been compounded by the fragmentation of its markets. She praised the establishment of AfCFTA for overcoming this hurdle and creating the largest single market in the world by membership. However, the economic transformation anticipated by the free-trade market hinges on Africa “closing its scientific and technological gap with the rest of the world” and “sustainably producing the right set of skills to expand both extra and intra African trade.”
This will require collaboration and partnerships to create the right conditions to develop centres of excellence on the continent. Academia, governments and the private sector, she argued, would have to collaborate much more closely to ensure the funding is provided and that the conditions for science to thrive are put in place. In this regard, she praised the leadership role played by Afreximbank in the medical field where the Bank is supporting the growth of pharmaceutical industries and establishment of medical center of excellence.
Professor Gurib-Fakim reminded the audience that the increasing role of technology that was permeating all sectors and industries and driving growth was irreversible. She praised Africa’s successes in certain areas like mobile money, giving the example of M-Pesa which has been adopted in the rest of Africa after being created in Kenya. She equally praised Afreximbank’s Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) which is set to facilitate payments for cross-border trade in African currencies and assuage the liquidity constraints.
One of the major challenges, she said, is the continued brain drain of Africa’s brightest and best scientific minds. The former President encouraged the private and public sector to invest much more in education and research and development. “Every young African has the potential to be a great scientist, to innovate and become globally competitive,” she said.
Professor Benedict Oramah, the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, introduced the lecture by observing that although Africa gained independence six decades ago it has nonetheless failed to achieve economic emancipation. Professor Oramah said that the failure of Africa to secure Covid-19-related equipment such as face masks and ventilators shows that the continent must start manufacturing its own technological goods.
The President of the Bank further pointed out that “while the AfCFTA was a necessary condition for the transformation of African economies, it was not a sufficient one, especially in a world where trade has been largely driven by manufactured goods with increasing technological content.” Among the set of constraints undermining the capacity of the AfCFTA to deliver on its full potential none was as critical as closing the region’s scientific and technological gap. He said: “The most competitive countries in the world are also the ones leading in ICT, innovation, scientific research and development. Africa cannot be kept at the back of the queue.” He also stressed the need to foster the collaboration between research and industry to further enhance the growth and development impact of scientific discovery across the region.
The President of the Bank remarked that Africa once boasted some of the most wealthy and industrious city-states and kingdoms – something that has been forgotten by the rest of the world. He quoted the Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral who in the 1500s landed on the coast of Tanzania and found a land full of rich merchants. He also referenced Lourenco Pinto, a Portuguese merchant, who noted that the capital city of the Kingdom of Benin, in modern day Nigeria, was larger than Lisbon and both industrious and wealthy.
Professor Sarah Anyang Agbor, Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology at the African Union Commission (AUC), spoke about continental plans to boost science and technology in Africa. The AUC has set in place its Science, Technology, and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA-2024) that aims to promote the building and upgrading of research institutions, amongst other things. The plan fits within the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063, she said.
Dr Hippolyte Fofack, Afreximbank’s Chief Economist, wrapped up the event by echoing Professor Oramah’s statements that “Africa was the epicentre of and the birthplace of astronomy and mathematics”. He referenced the Dogon community in Mali who for centuries has been fully aware of an invisible star, Sirius B, long before it was discovered by Western astronomers in 1970. “Africa’s current scientific and technological gap with the rest of the world was a historical anomaly”, he added.
However, Dr Hippolyte Fofack welcomed ongoing efforts (though still marginal) by both public and private institutions to mainstream science and technology across the region. He added that Afreximbank has long championed technology and innovation as important drivers of Africa’s economic growth and structural transformation, convinced that setting Africa back on the path of scientific renaissance was a sine qua none condition for economic renaissance and structural transformation.
Lebo Mashile, a South African poet and writer, opened the lecture with a grand and evocative poem that touched on various themes of African history and the continent’s interaction with the rest of the world. Answering the fundamental question who are we? She said “being African is applied science of humanity.” There was also an uplifting musical performance by Cameroonian artiste, Joyce Babatunde.
The Babacar Ndiaye Lecture series, launched by Afreximbank five years ago, honours the founding role Dr Babacar Ndiaye played in the establishment of Afreximbank. As President of the African Development Bank from May 1985 to August 1995, he is credited with championing the establishment of several major continental institutions to drive the process of economic growth and structural transformation of African economies.
Trump To Launch New Social Media Platform Called TRUTH Social in 2022
Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced his plans to launch his own social media platform, TRUTH Social. According to a press release he said Truth was created to “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech” companies such as Twitter and Facebook that have barred him from their platforms.
“I created TRUTH Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech,” Trump said in the statement.
The app, which is available for pre-order in Apple’s App Store, will open to invitees in November and to the public in the first quarter of 2022, the release said.
TRUTH Social will be launched by Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), a recently created company that’s aiming to go public via a merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company.
Trump’s announcement comes after months of speculation about his plans to create his own media operation after nearly every major social media platform – including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – banned or suspended him for violating their policies.
“We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced. This is unacceptable.
“I am excited to send out my first TRUTH on TRUTH Social very soon. TMTG was founded with a mission to give a voice to all. I’m excited to soon begin sharing my thoughts on TRUTH Social and to fight back against Big Tech,” Trump said in a written statement included in the release.
The social network, set for a beta launch next month and full rollout in the first quarter of 2022, is the first of three stages in the company’s plans, followed by a subscription video-on-demand service called TMTG+ that will feature entertainment, news and podcasts, according to the news release.
In a slide deck on its website, the company envisions eventually competing against Amazon.com’s AWS cloud service and Google Cloud.
The former president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., told Fox News in an interview, “for so long, Big Tech has suppressed conservative voices, tonight my father signed a definitive merger agreement to form what will ultimately be the Trump Media and Technology Group and TRUTH Social – a platform for everyone to express their feelings.”
Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms banned Trump from their services after hundreds of his supporters rioted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
That protest came after a speech by Trump in which he falsely claimed that his November election loss was due to widespread fraud, an assertion rejected by multiple courts and state election officials.
The deal will list Trump Media & Technology Group on Nasdaq through a merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp, a blank-check acquisition firm led by former investment banker Patrick Orlando.
Trump Media & Technology Group will receive $293 million in cash that Digital World Acquisition Corp had in trust, assuming no shareholder of the acquisition firm chooses to redeem their shares, according to the statement.
The Africa Blockchain Center (The ABC) Raises a 7x Figure Seed Investment from Next Chymia Consulting HK Limited
The Africa Blockchain Center (The ABC), a Kenyan startup focused on building technology capacity and offering blockchain solutions to key sectors announced today that it has raised a $ 7x figure investment from Next Chymia Consulting HK Limited, an Asian based company that provides blockchain solutions, consultancy services and training to global entities.
Founded in September 2021, The Africa Blockchain Center’s mandate is to propel Africa into the adoption of 4IR (fourth industrial revolution) technologies by building capacity in blockchain programming and catalyzing industry readiness; offering solutions to enterprises seeking to explore the technology, and incubating blockchain startups.
This investment will help The ABC set up structures across 6 markets in Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa and build a community of blockchain stakeholders for knowledge sharing and best practice guidelines.
The Founder of The Africa Blockchain Center Irene Kiwia said “we understand the potential that blockchain has in solving some of the challenges that are facing Africa and we believe that we can use our disruptive nature as a continent to create value for ourselves through the adoption of the technology. However, there is a massive capacity gap that we must fill to accelerate this. We aim to train 10,000 blockchain programmers, 5000 business leaders and executives on blockchain readiness, incubate 50 blockchain startups and launch robust solutions for the market in the next 2 years.”
The ABC aims to demystify blockchain technology and create platforms where the industry can learn, run research programs (R&D), launch blockchain solutions and access blockchain as a service for various applications across industries and sectors.
“The African continent has a massive untapped appetite to understand, learn and experiment with decentralized technologies. This, coupled with the opportunities that the market presents in applying blockchain technology in key sectors like finance, agriculture, health and general governance makes the center a timely intervention.” Further stated Kiwia.
The ABC is an Adanian Labs startup, the Pan African smart technologies venture studio with a mission to build, nurture and scale 300 impact driven tech startups across Africa.
The CEO of Adanian Labs John Kamara said “We are extremely proud to see such progress with our startups. We pride ourselves in providing the right environment, tools and resources to support startups and help them build scalable solutions. The ABC is very timely as Africa is exploring the potential for smart technologies in support of its 4IR efforts. Adanian Labs will continue to work with the Africa Blockchain Center and support its roll out across the continent.”
The female economy is at the center of The ABC’s mission. The ABC will have a special gender lens to ensure that women are an integral part of this transformation.
The CEO of Next Chymia Consulting HK Limited Kenji Sasaki said “We are delighted to support and partner with The ABC, their model is groundbreaking on how they want to scale blockchain technology in Africa, and we have confidence in the team. We are aligned in vision as well as our commitment to building blockchain capacity and providing blockchain solutions to key industries. We want to champion good governance for blockchain and we see the appetite and gap in Africa where this cutting-edge technology can solve some of the inequality issues that will catapult the economic growth of the continent.”
Driven by the desire to train African Blockchain engineers to solve African problems, the center aspire to create a space for collaboration where multi-industry stakeholders from development partners, civil societies, entrepreneurs, academia, government, private sectors, and all industry sector players can harness the common good of decentralized technologies in enhancing health, agriculture, education, good governance, financial independence and general economic growth.
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