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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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Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi, TotalEnergies, discuss over gas project

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Discussion on the humanitarian situation in the Cabo Delgado area in Mozambique is ongoing between The head of TotalEnergies and Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi.

TotalEnergies’ chairman and chief executive Patrick Pouyanne had visited the Cabo Delgado area to review the security and humanitarian situation, and Pouyanne had met the Mozambique President during his trip.

The multinational revealed that it has engaged Jean-Christophe Rufin, whom it said was an expert in humanitarian action and human rights, with an independent mission to assess the humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado province.

Pouyanné said, “since 2021, the situation in Cabo Delgado province has improved significantly, thanks in particular to the support provided by the African countries that committed themselves to restore peace and security.”

“The mission entrusted to Jean-Christophe Rufin should enable Mozambique LNG’s partners to assess whether the current situation allows for a resumption of activities while respecting human rights,” he added.

A force majeure’ was declared in 2021 on TotalEnergies’ Mozambique LNG project, valued at $20 billion, due to regional unrest after an insurgent group linked to Islamic State attacked the northern town of Palma.

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Sierra Leone, Liberia, 2 others, receive $311 million from World Bank for renewables

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Four West and Central African countries are set to receive aid worth $311 million from the World Bank after signing an agreement that would improve renewable energy projects.

The countries, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, and Chad will receive funds will finance around 106 megawatts (MW) of solar power generation capacity with battery energy and storage systems, and a 41 MW expansion of hydroelectric capacity.

Commenting on the development, Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio, who presided over the signing ceremony on Wednesday, said the deal was the beginning of a revolution in energy supply and access in the respective countries.

“We are paying far more for energy now than we were 18 months ago. Very high and rising energy prices continue to have an adverse impact on other sectors of our economies,” Maada Bio said.

The World Bank’s Director for Regional Integration, Boutheina Guermazi said the project was the first time four countries had been brought together for a regional energy approach.

“It is a continental approach to make sure that we reach universal access to clean affordable energy by 2030,” Guermazi said, adding that the project would be completed in four years.

The West and Central sub-regions of Africa have one of the lowest electrification rates coupled with some of the highest electricity costs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Under a new World Bank Regional Emergency Solar Power Intervention Project, the West Africa Power Pool, a regional approach to improve electricity in the sub-region, will also receive some funds approved in December.

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