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Nigeria’s Dairy Imports Stands at $1.5bn Says Nanono

Mohammad Nanono, the Minster of Agriculture and Rural Development, announced earlier this week that Nigeria imported over $1.5billion on dairy products. 

Nanono made the announcement this week during the annual ‘National Dairy Policy Stakeholders Engagement’ which took place in Abuja. He highlighted at the consumption of bulked milk is less than 20& of the local potential, and that Nigerian’s milk production accounts for only 13% of the West African production.

He indicated “The per capita consumption of milk is eight litres per year representing very low consumption levels when compared with the global averages of 44 litres of milk”.

As a result, the neglect in the livestock industry has had a large negative effect on the nations import bill.

He continued “Around $5billion worth of food is imported yearly into the country, out of which milk and dairy products account for around $1.5billion. Hence the annual dairy consumption is met by 60% imports and 40 per cent local production.”

Mr Nanono assured the Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment is committed to providing sustainable access into affordable qualities of food to all Nigerians with the intention of boosting local food production with the intention of being self sufficient.

Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Otunba Adebayo, announced that Nigeria’s annual production of milk stands at 672 million litres, against the annual demand which is reported to be around 1.6billion litres, which hugely suggests that the nations production can not effectively meet the level of demand.

He continued to say that Nigeria currently has cattle stock with over 20 million cows, however only around 2.3 million are utilised for large scale dairy production. This is substantially lower than intended amount which is insufficient to meet demand.

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Source: Vanguard Nigeria, April 2021

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Bed occupancy in Lagos COVID-19 centres decreased to 8%

Prof. Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, has announced the bed occupancy in the states public and private COVID-19 care centre has reduced from 60% to 8%.

Adayomi made the announcement Thursday evening via his verified Twitter account. He indicated that as of the beginning of February, the bed occupancy within both private and public COVID-19 centres has dramatically declined. His research indicated that 5 out of the eleven private and public care centres in the state were completely empty.

Finally indicating that 520 beds were available from the total across the 11 COVID-19 care centres. The positive news comes a number of days after the Government have announced the COVID-19 vaccine inoculations have begun.

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Source: The Guardian, March 2021

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Update: COVID-19 Vaccines arrive in Nigeria

Nigeria have received nearly four million doses of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, UNICEF, Gavi and WHO (World Health Organisation). 

It is believed that COVAX have delivered 3.94 million doses of the life changing vaccine, which arrived from Mumbai into Abuja around 11:30am yesterday morning.

Presidential aid, Bashir Ahmad, tweeted yesterday “Nigeria has just received the first batch of Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine”. The welcomed news comes as the nation plans to successfully vaccinate 40% of the Nigerian population this year.

UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, stated “The UN Country Team in Nigeria reiterates its commitment to support the vaccination campaign in Nigeria and help contain the spread of the virus.

“The arrival of these vaccines in Abuja today marks a milestone for the COVAX Facility in its unprecedented effort to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines globally by the end of 2021”.

In accordance with the National strategy, front healthcare workers will be inoculated first.

WHO representative in Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said “It is heart-warming to witness this epoch-making event and WHO wishes to congratulate the government of Nigeria for its participation in the global vaccine collaboration (COVAX) efforts and its commitment to protecting Nigerians against this pandemic.

“Vaccines are a critical new tool in the battle against COVID-19; therefore, this is a step in the right direction. These vaccines have undergone rigorous regulatory processes at global and country level and have been deemed safe and effective.”

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Source: The Punch, March 2021

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Nigeria to Receive 16m Vaccines says UK Government

The UK Government have announcement yesterday that the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) have agreed that Nigeria will be among the first group of countries to receive 16 million free doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Global Vaccines Facilities. 

The British High Commission Office released a statement to the the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) indicating that the free doses will be widely available in the first half of the year.

In the statement, GAVI released the first forecast of countries which are widely available to receive COVID-19 vaccines via the COVAX Advance Market Commitment. The COVAX statement highlighted that it is allocating 330 million vaccine doses to low and lower middle class income countries, including Nigeria.

“As one of the 92 ODA-eligible countries participating in the COVAX AMC initiative, Nigeria will benefit from this arrangement and access free vaccines to cover at least 20 per cent of its population, and the UK is playing a supportive role in ensuring an effective and equitable introduction of COVID-19 vaccines, “it said

The UK are are regarded to be the leading nation tackling the COVID-19 pandemic internationally and so far have pledged over 1.3 billion pounds in UK aid to end the corona virus pandemic as swiftly as possible.

The UK are respected to be one of the largest donors to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, which over past two decades have contributed towards updating cold chain infrastructure and improving immunisation procedures in low income countries around the world.

Catriona Laing, The British High Commissioner, stated “This news on the COVAX global COVID-19 vaccine rollout brings us one step closer to delivering vaccines to millions of Nigerians”.

She continued “I am please to announce Nigeria will get millions of these free available doses by the end of 2021”.

This positive announcement comes after the BUA Group announced they will be providing 1 million free COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria in the upcoming weeks.

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Source: This Day, February 2021

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BUA Group Purchases 1 million Doses for Nigeria

The BUA Group, one of Africa’s largest conglomerates, has purchased 1m doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for Nigeria.

The doses are expected to arrive next week and contribute towards vaccinating Africa’s largest populous nation. The BUA shipment of vaccines will be Nigeria’s first lot since vaccines have become available. A statement released by BUA founder, Mr Abdul Samad Rabiu, thanked the coordination of the Nigerian Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and the president of the Afrexim Bank Dr Benedict Oramah for initialy making the purchase of the 1million vaccines.

“BUA decided to secure these 1million vaccines by paying the full amount for the vaccines today because these vaccines became available only last week through AFREXIM. We expect the vaccines to be delivered within the next 14 days and hope priority will be given to our frontline workers who have committed their lives to managing the pandemic,” Rabiu said.

Rabiu later added “In addition to the 1m doses purchased, BUA Group are committed to purchasing an additional 5 million doses for Nigeria as soon as they become available’.

The first group to be inoculated includes Health care workers and front line staff members. This approach has been taken by many nations around the world in an attempt to protect those most at risk of the virus.

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Source: This Day, February 2021

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South Africa receives first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines

South Africa yesterday received their first shipment of 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India. 

The life changing vaccine arrived in Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport yesterday evening and were greeted by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. The original shipment will be followed by an additional 500,000 doses expected to arrive next month.

The AstraZeneca vaccine will prioritised to inoculate South Africa’s front line Health workers, which will open the vaccine roll out campaign. Although the vaccines have been transported, they will not be administered to healthcare workers until mid-February, after the vaccines have been approved and tested by the South African drug regulator authorities, The South African Health Products Authority.

Director of the Africa Health Research Institute, Professor Williem Hanekom stated “The arrival of the first vaccines is excellent news and a step in the right direction for South Africa.” South Africa has been dominated recently with the transmission of new variant, which scientist believe originated in the country, however Hanekom said that initial trails of the AstraZeneca vaccine indicates that all various inoculations will still offer good protection against the virus.

“So it doesn’t matter the level of efficacy, the vaccines all seem to work pretty well against severe disease and death, even against this new variant, it appears. And that is very good news,” Hanekom said.

The South African government plans to inoculate around 40 million people, which represents 67% of the countries population, by the end of the year.

South Africa’s inoculation efforts received a significant boost recently as the government was able to acquire 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The doses are expected to arrive in second quarter of the year, the South African government stated recently to the associated press.

In the up coming months, South Africa is expecting to receive 12 million vaccine doses from the international COVAX facility, an additional 9 million from the Johnson and Johnson vaccine (once approved), and a estimated 20 million doses from the African Unions vaccine acquisition task team. Although these vaccines are expected to arrive in the next 12 months, an additional 20 million vaccines will need to be sourced in the near future to meet the governments inoculation targets.

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Source: ABC News, February 2021

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Salami Reveals Nigeria spent N1.85 trillion on Food Importation after Land Boarder Closure

The Chairman of the Presidential economic advisory council, Mr Doyin Salami, revealed that the Nigerian government spent around N1.85 trillion on food imports in 2020 after the nations land boarders were closed.

Nigeria closed its land boarders in August 2019 to decrease the level of illegal foods, agricultural prod ucts and contraband being smuggled into Nigeria from neighbouring countries.

Mr Salami released these findings at the annual National Economic Outlook event organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria on Tuesday (19th January). Due to current Covid-19 restrictions, the event was held virtually.

“Despite boarder closures, our national import of food amounted to N1.85 trillion between January and September 2020, resulting in a 62% increase when compared to the same period in 2019” Mr Salami indicated during a interview with The National.

In recent weeks, President Buhari approved the immediate reopening of four land boarders after being closed for more than 17 months. However, the opening of the boarders do not cancel the restrictions on imports of products such as rice.

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Source: Premium Times Ng, January 2021

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NCDC Publishes New Support on the Use of Approved Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits

The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control has recently (NCSC) published new guidelines for State Governments, public and private institutions, on the use of the recently approved Antigen based Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) for coronavirus cases. 

In September 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the emergency use of Authorisation on two Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) used for Covid-19 cases. Following on from this announcement, the NCDC and various other stakeholders carried out a number of tests and enquires with the intention of validating the RDT’s. After some months, the screening process indicated that the RDTs meet the minimal standards for sensitivity and specifically the Covid 19 diagnostic tests. The NCDC stated that as more rapid tests become approved by the WHO, the increased likelihood they will be considered to be used in Nigeria. However, rigorous testing, screening and examination needs to be approved before approved for public or private use.

The RDTs are provide a significant advantage in comparison to other testing methods, the most effective being the shorter turnaround times and the reduced cost. The effective use of RDTs will enable the State Governments of Nigeria to increase mass testing and providing care for people with Covid 19. The NCDC recommends the RDT’s are used primarily in congregate settings such as schools, hospitals and the use of testing healthcare workers in prisons, etc.

Ag-RDTs developed Abbott and SD Biosensor have a increasing number of advantages including being highly portable and easy to administer to recipients. However, the test needs to be administered by a healthcare professional in a infection prevention and disease controlled environment to give the most reliable and accurate response.

FAB West Africa will be organised to ensure a safe environment to do business in accordance with the All Secure Standard guidelines created for the global framework of the reopening of exhibitions.

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Source: The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, January 2021

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Nigeria to prepare for the delivery of the Pfizer vaccine says WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced yesterday that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for immunising the Nigerian population. 

During the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 press briefing in Abuja highlighted that the Pfizer vaccine, which needs to be stored at -70 degrees, is the first to be approved for Nigeria by the independent world health organisation and will be available for emergency purposes.

The first delivery batch of the Pfizer vaccine will be delivered by the end of January and will be sufficient enough to inoculate 20% of the Nigerian population (approx 42 million vaccines). Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) was quoted saying that the batch would come as part of Nigeria’s plan to vaccinate 40% of the population by the end of 2021, and an additional 30% in 2022.

In addition to the Pfizer vaccine, the Nigerian Federal Government have also been in talks with China to communicate their interest in gaining access to their Covid-19 vaccine. This will give the nation a number of possibilities to vaccinate the population in a shorter time frame.

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Source: This Day, January 2021

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The African Continental Free Trade Area Launched

After months of delay due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the African Continental Free Trade Area was officially launched on the 1st January 2021. 

African countries have officially begun trading under the new continental free trade agreement.

The AFCFTA primary aims to being together over 1.3billion people in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc, which will be the largest free trade area since the World Trade Organisation was established. Predicted estimates forecast the free trade agreement could lift tens of millions of people out of poverty by the year 2035. The trade agreement is primary in place to boost trade among fellow African nations, as the continent has previously received low internal trade.

Backers claim that trade among fellow African nations will increase substantially and thus allowing the continent to establish its own value chains of distribution. Every African country is participating in the agreement, except from Eritrea, with a total of 54 nations involved.

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo- Addo indicated “There is a new Africa emerging with a sense of urgency and purpose and an aspiration to become self-reliant. COVID-19 has demonstrated that Africa is overly reliant on the export of primary commodities, overly reliant on global supply chains, when the global supply chains are disrupted, we know that Africa suffers.”

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Source: Aljazeera, January 2021

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