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News Roundup: Nigeria battles slow vaccination, Shell gets first female MD, Africa’s first electric cars, 400m vaccine doses to the African Union Member States…

Nigeria battles slow vaccination as variants increase infections
As Nigeria’s fate for vaccination hangs on the goodwill of countries with abundant vaccines, one main factor stands between the country and a fierce rage of the pandemic: the seeming absence of a yet virulent change in the COVID-19 virus. It would appear that despite also detecting some of the new COVID-19 variants that have caused an unprecedented surge in infections and deaths in some other countries, Nigeria has not been explicitly overwhelmed. The virus is mutating and plays a contributory role as breach of public and social preventive measures fuel rise in infection. Vaccination remains at a level that can hardly put up a strong immune defence if the worst variant arrives. Virus mutations occur about once every two weeks and when it does, the set of genetic instructions that contain all the information that the virus needs to function changes. These changes get replicated but errors can creep in during this process. Nigeria has recorded a total of 174,315 Covid-19 cases from 2,542,261 samples tested, with 7,151 active cases, and 2,149 deaths.

Shell Nigeria appoints Elohor Aiboni as its first female MD
World energy giant, Shell, has named Elohor Aiboni as the managing director of its Nigeria deep-water business, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo). Elohor is the first female to lead a Shell exploration company in the over 60 years of Shell’s operations in Nigeria. She succeeds Bayo Ojulari who retired on 31st July 2021 after five years as SNEPCo’s MD and over 30 years of service in the Shell group. Until this appointment, Elohor was the Bonga Asset Manager responsible for overseeing end-to-end production delivery for Nigeria’s pioneer deep-water Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, Bonga, an offshore asset that has produced over 900 million barrels of oil since it began operations in 2005. Her 19-year career in Shell has seen her move from a field engineer to several roles in production operations; project and asset management; operations readiness and assurance. Elohor joins over 300 women in senior leadership positions in the Shell Group representing more than 31 percent of executive positions in the leading global energy company.

Ese Brume, Blessing Oborodudu won historic first medal for Tokyo 2020 Olympic games
African athletes won their first gold medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games including Ese Brume and Blessing Oborodudu.2019 African Games champion Ese Brume gave Team Nigeria their first medal at the ongoing Tokyo Olympic Games with a bronze medal in the women’s long jump event. Brume recorded 6.97 metres jump in the final of the event at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium to win her first Olympic medal and Nigeria’s first at this Games. Blessing Oborodudu also made history as the first Nigerian wrestler to win an Olympic medal courtesy of the silver medal she won in the women’s 68kg freestyle.

Read also: Tokyo Olympics: AFN congratulates Ese Brume on podium finish

Africa announces the rollout of 400m vaccine doses to the African Union Member States and the Caribbean
African Union (AU) on Thursday announced the start of monthly shipments of vaccines acquired by the AU / African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) to the AU Member States today. The announcement was made by President Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa and African Union (AU) COVID-19 Champion. On 5 August, the first monthly shipments arrived in several Member States, and shipments will continue for a total of 6.4m doses shipped in August. Monthly shipments will continue and be continually ramped up, with a target of delivering almost 50m vaccines before the end of December. By January, the number of vaccines being released will be in excess of 25m per month. In collaboration with the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), UNICEF is providing logistical and delivery services to the Member States. This vaccine acquisition is a unique milestone for the African continent. It is the first time Africa has undertaken a procurement of this magnitude involving all member States.

FG approves acquisition of 20% minority stakes in Dangote petroleum
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the acquisition of 20 percent minority stake by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the Dangote Petroleum and Petro-Chemical Refinery. Timipre Sylva, minister of state for Petroleum Resources, briefed state house correspondents after the virtual FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa. He said that council also approved contracts for the rehabilitation of Warri and Kaduna refineries. “The FEC, today, approved the award of contract for the rehabilitation of Warri and Kaduna Refineries at the combined total sum of 1.5 billion dollars– 897. 67 million dollars for Warri Refinery and 586. 9 million dollars for Kaduna Refinery. “The Executive Council also approved the acquisition of 20 percent minority stakes by the NNPC in the Dangote Petroleum and Petro-Chemical Refineries in the sum of 2.76 billion dollars,” he said.

Jet Motors to build Africa’s first electric cars
Jet Motor, a Nigerian automobile manufacturer that designs and builds vehicles is testing new waters with the assembling of Africa’s first electric vans. Founded in 2018, JET Motor Company has been quietly innovating in the African automotive space. In 2019, the company launched the JET Mover, a line of luxury and customisable minibuses, in Nigeria. According to Jet Motor’s Chief Executive Officer Chidi Ajaere, the company is also in talks with private investors, Nigeria’s National Automotive Design and Development Agency and Canada’s Africa Development Capital that previously funded the research for the automobile, to invest in charging points in the country’s highways. Jet plans to ramp up production to 50 vehicles a day over the next three to five years if the charging points are installed in strategic locations in the country, according to Ajaere. The company plans to meet rising demand from transportation and logistics firms turning to electric cars in Africa’s largest crude producing nation to cushion gasoline costs and other maintenance charges.

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