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Ghana to begin production of Covid-19 vaccines as Nissan sets assembly plant for 5,000 vehicles yearly

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President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana in his State of the Nation Address in parliament on Wednesday said the country will start producing its own COVID-19 vaccines by January 2024.

A National Vaccine Institute would be established to lay out a strategy for the West African country to begin the first phase of commercial production for the jabs, he said without providing further details.

“A bill will shortly be brought to you, in this House, for your support and approval for the establishment of the National Vaccine Institute,” he said.

The development comes after the President announced on Tuesday the opening of sea and land borders on Tuesday, 2 years after he announced the closure of borders to the West African country in the wake of the global pandemic – Covid-19.

The World Health Organization says Ghana has so far vaccinated over 14 million people with a single dose and over five million fully vaccinated – 16.3% of the population.

As a testimonial to its automotive development policy to encourage investment, president Akufo Addo announced that a new assembly plant with the capacity to assemble 5,000 new vehicles per annum has been established by Nissan in the eastern port city of Tema, which is currently producing Nissan and Peugeot brands of vehicles for the Ghanaian and West African markets.

The multinational, JAPAN Motors Trading Company (JMTC) had confirmed the president’s announcement in an earlier update on its official website. “…has been approved to begin producing the all-new ‘Built of More’ Nissan Navara at its brand-new, state-of-the-art assembly plant in Tema, outside the capital Accra”.

The new plant is different from the Navara production facility which is in Accra, the capital of Ghana, that is 100% Ghanaian operated by the Japan Motors Trading Company (JMTC), which invested the US $3 million into its construction, following Ghana’s drafting of its automotive development policy to encourage investment in the sector.

According to the World Bank, Ghana’s rapid growth was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the March 2020 lockdown, and a sharp decline in commodity exports. The economy had grown at an average of 7 percent in 2017-19, before experiencing a sharp contraction in the second and third quarters of 2020.

The economic slowdown had a considerable impact on households. The poverty rate is estimated to have slightly increased from 25 percent in 2019 to 25.5 percent in 2020.

With the recent wave of declarations Ghana’s economy is projected to recover gradually over the medium term, thanks to commodity price growth and strong domestic demand.

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Tanzanian Central Bank reduces economic liquidity to curb rising inflation

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The Tanzanian Central Bank on Saturday said one of the measures it has taken to slow down rising inflation in September and October is to reduce the liquidity in the economy.

A statement published by the east African country’s apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), said inflation in the country has been on the rise since the beginning of the year, rising from 4.6% on August from a previous 4.5% in July.

MPC said while the country’s economy was facing a range of challenges, including weak global growth, high commodity prices, tight financial conditions and the recurrence of COVID-19 in some countries, it was necessary to reduce the liquidity to stabilise the economy.

“In the context of high inflation and commodity prices, which has contributed to rising inflationary pressures in the country, the MPC approved for the bank to continue with gradual reduction of liquidity in September and October 2022.

“The policy decision aims at reducing inflationary pressures, while safeguarding economic activities,” the statement said.

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Air traffic controllers in West, Central Africa suspend strike for negotiations after 48-hour disruption

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The industrial action by air traffic controllers in West and Central Africa has been suspended.

The unions announced the suspension after a 48-hour strike having disrupted flights across the region and left hundreds of passengers stranded at airports.

According to a statement by the Union of Air Traffic Controllers’ Unions (USYCAA), the decision to suspend its strike notice for 10 days immediately so as to allow for negotiations.

“Air traffic services will be provided in all air spaces and airports managed by ASECNA from today Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 1200 GMT,” the statement said.

One of the stranded passengers, Nsoh Brinston, lamented on how the strike would make him spend more than his budget on his intended travel to Kigali, Rwanda.

“I will have to spend more than I intended due to the cancelled flight. I will have to do another COVID test which costs 30,000 CFA francs ($45),” he said.’

Also, eight flights scheduled to leave the commercial hub of Abidjan on Saturday were cancelled in Ivory Coast.

Industries like aviationtelecom operators have all their operations disrupted across Africa lately largely as part of the fallout of the Russian/Ukraine war which has caused a hike in aviation fuel.

It is yet to be seen if the negotiations between air traffic controllers and government authorities will birth lasting solutions to the challenge which now cuts across the continent.

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