BioNTech SE announced on Tuesday plans to construct a manufacturing plant for mRNA-based vaccines in Africa in mid-2022.
This is the next step in BioNTech’s efforts to implement sustainable end-to-end vaccine supply solutions on the continent.
The decision is the result of a meeting between Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Dr Daniel M. Ngamije, Senegal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Aïssata Tall Sall, Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-Founder of BioNTech and Sierk Poetting, COO of BioNTech as well as Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, Director-General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre and Dr Amadou Alpha Sall, Directeur-General of Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Kigali, Rwanda.
The meeting occurred upon the invitation of the kENUP Foundation and took place as a side-event of the Second Ministerial Meeting of the African Union and the European Union and resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
This comes after the parties signed a Joint Communiqué at a previous meeting in Berlin on August 27, 2021.
— Rwanda Development Board (@RDBrwanda) October 26, 2021
“I would like to thank all participants of today’s meeting for the support and trust to establish the first mRNA manufacturing facility within the African Union. Together, we will work on developing a regional manufacturing network to support the access to vaccines manufactured in Africa, for Africa,” said Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech.
“Our goal is to develop vaccines in the African Union and to establish sustainable vaccine production capabilities to jointly improve medical care in Africa. We have made great progress in the past few weeks, which will help us on our way to turn these plans into reality,” he said.
Sierk Poetting, COO of BioNTech added: “We aim to accelerate the building of a GMP-certified manufacturing facility and plan to begin the construction on site in mid-2022.”
The MoU underlines that time is a critical success factor in the development of sustainable vaccine production for the African Union.
“We have finalized the planning and initial assets for the new facility have already been ordered,” Poetting added.
The parties have agreed to jointly to start works immediately.
BioNTech has finalized the construction plans and ordered the assets, which will be delivered by mid-2022.
The new manufacturing facility could become the first node in a decentralized and robust African end-to-end manufacturing network enabling an annual manufacturing capacity of several hundreds of million mRNA vaccine doses.
BioNTech plans to develop and implement a scalable construction network based on the expertise and learnings from the ramp-up of the Company’s production facility in Marburg.
To enable an expedient set-up of production capacities according to GMP standards, BioNTech will start with the construction and validation of a first production line enabling the manufacturing of drug product for about 50 million of e.g. COVID-19 vaccine doses per year, once fully operational.
The capacity will be increased sequentially by adding further manufacturing lines and sites to the manufacturing network on the continent, supporting the production of several hundreds of millions of mRNA vaccine doses.
BioNTech will initially staff, own and operate the facility to support the safe and rapid initiation of the production of mRNA-based vaccine doses.
BioNTech plans to transfer manufacturing capacities and the know-how to local partners.
BioNTech, Rwanda Development Board and Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Senegal agreed to swiftly build-up the required human resources capacity and systems so that the partners can take over ownership and operational duties.
In parallel, the Republic of Rwanda and the Institut Pasteur de Dakar have committed themselves to scale-up fill and finish capacities to complete the local end-to-end manufacturing process.
In addition, BioNTech is in discussions about an expansion of the current partnership with Cape Town-based vaccine manufacturer Biovac, which is part of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing network.
Kiwi Pay Group Launches Largest Online Marketplace In Sub Saharan Africa
With millions of product SKUs from various categories and a strategic partnership with Bolloré Logistics, one of the biggest transport and logistics business in Africa, with more than 5,000 employees on the continent, Kiwi Pay Group is ready to launch the biggest online marketplace in Sub Saharan Africa.
Now Singapore-based fintech firm Kiwi Pay Group has been building its newest mobile application in stealth mode for the last few months, and is about to launch it in Cameroon first with a strategic partnership with the french group Bolloré Logistics, allowing them to offer millions of products from European retailers to the African market, with affordable price, local payment methods including credit cards and mobile money, and 4 to 5 days shipping by air to various delivery collection points in the country.
Customers in Cameroon will be allowed to purchase products like books, DVDs, computers, cosmetics, games, appliances and millions of other SKUs through this strategic partnership and thanks to their mobile application in the weeks to come.
Kiwi Pay Group, Bolloré Logistics and the Customs Bureau of Cameroon signed a strategic agreement on Wednesday 4th November 2021 in Douala to officialise their agreement. Before then, Kiwi Pay Group has been signing strategic agreements with different economic zones on the African continent like CEMAC, GIM-UEMOA and others, allowing them to offer transactions in the local currency, FCFA.
“This strategic partnership with Bolloré Logistics and the Customs in Cameroon is allowing us to benefit from the strong growth of the ecommerce in the country, while leveraging from decades of experience from our partners to ensure a trustworthy experience for the customers and compliance with the local tax system” declares FONGOD NUVAGA Edwin, Director General of Customs in Cameroon.
Serge AGNERO, regional manager for Bolloré Transport and Logistics states, “We are thrilled to initiate this strategic partnership in Cameroon and the region with an experienced player such as Kiwi Pay Group, to allow millions of local customers to benefit from attractive prices from retailers in Europe, and be able to order quickly and securely the products they are looking for, delivered at their place within a few days with our smooth service.”
Earlier this year, Kiwi Pay Group also launched its token KGO, that will be used as a way to reward users of the app, on all sides, vendors, drivers and customers, to allow them to hold it and use it later on for benefits on their e-commerce platform.
The company plans to push the token rewarding process as soon as they launch their e-commerce platform in Cameroon and other markets in the upcoming few months.
How AGRA’s Financial Support Made His Quality Seed Company A success
Back in 2018, Protais Musanganya, the CEO and owner of Top Quality Seed Company came into contact with Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) after the agro-based company visited farmers and their activities in the area Musanganya operated in.
He says when AGRA and Rwanda Agricultural Board visited him they were attracted by his activities of multiplying seeds and due so he was placed in good position to benefit their financial support because he couldn’t get enough capital to fund his agricultural bossiness on the large scale.
However, his projects became a reality when AGRA selected him among the beneficiary of financial boost and as an added opportunity to be trained by RAB.
“AGRA selected me to benefit from its support. Initially, the company helped me to rent more land, pay staff salaries for a whole year and buy inputs. By their support, I also managed to produce 60 sacks of quality seeds from 5 sacks in the past.”
Musanganya started his venture in agriculture back in 2017 using only 3 ha of rented land but now his company multiply seeds on 80 ha land.
He has exploited AGRA’s financial support and bought 35 ha land in Ndego, 20 ha in Ngoma, and the remaining land is in Rwamagana.
He expects to harvest 180 and 200 tons of land this season and When he sold multiplied seeds, he managed to get money and re-invested by buying 50 ha of land from his former landlord. “Then I had to clear 30 ha land. I exploited the land and managed to produce 120 tons of top quality seeds.”
Musanganya produces top quality seeds of maize, soybean and beans.
The government of Rwanda also provided subsidized fertilizers and irrigation equipment through the subsidy program to him and he was linked to buyers.
Musanganya say that AGRA’s funding helped him to boost his activities and sustained his expenditure on the salaries of the employees.
“My company employs between 150 and 200 casual laborers who work on the farms on a daily basis. We pay them their salaries on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The biggest part of the staff salary I pay is from AGRA.”
“My business of seed multiplication is important to local communities as it creates jobs. I also equipped 200 local farmers with skills in seed multiplication and they are now my out growers.” he adds.
He says AGRA’s financial support worth 100 Million Rwandan Francs said surmounted far the value of the money he benefited.
“This support largely exceeds that amount of money I got. As I said, I started this business renting 3 ha land. Now I own more than 50 ha of land that I purchased with money from AGRA support.”
Despite the Government subsidizes with provision of certified seeds, Musanganya believes hybrid maize farmers need to have skills in the domain and exploit the seeds at their potential.
As a result, he has signed agreements with the out growers whereby he provide them with technical assistance and buys their seeds.
“Thus, our company conduct promotion and extension activities (variety demonstration, distribution of seed packs, etc) to create awareness of new seed varieties and improve crop management.” he says.
Though he has benefited AGRA’s partnership but he wishes the company continue supporting them.
“Our partnership with AGRA is still ongoing as they organize quarterly trainings for our staff, pay agronomists and assist us in the audit of our activities but AGRA should keep helping us to grow into big companies that will carry on activities even when AGRA support is no longer there.” he wishes.
Plans of establishing a seed processing plant
He believes that with the help of the AGRA, they will be able to establish a seed processing plant that will prepare their produce, dry, treat and label our seeds.
“We have made initial steps whereby we bought a plot of land and started negotiating with a company that will construct the plant. We are now at the step of acquiring a bank loan that we will invest as our company’s share in the plant.” he says.
“It will be a joint venture business involving three companies. We hope that by next year our plant will be producing seeds that will be based Kayonza. I am also in talks with irrigation technicians to see how we can expand the irrigated surface using solar powered irrigation systems. They conducted a feasibility study and are now at the costing step. That is the direction that we are giving to our business with the support of AGRA.” he adds.
“As the manager of Top Quality Seed Production, considering where we came from and where we are today, I believe that our investment will have increased three fold by next year. I wish the support from AGRA is maintained because I have made tremendous progress. Of course I am making profits but I am also happy that farmers have access to locally produced seeds.”
German, Rwanda Sign € 8.666m to Support Exporters
Rwandan exporters that had suspended their activities due to the grinding effects of covid-19 pandemic, now have reason to smile following a new financing opportunity that will revive their activities.
According to details German and Rwanda have today signed a financing deal worth €8.666million for the expansion of the long-term refinancing line for on-lending to export-oriented Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The signing involved the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) represented by Chief Financial Officer Vincent Ngirikiringo and Minister Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana of the Ministry of Economic Planning and Finance, Honorable Ambassador Dr. Thomas Kurz of the Federal Republic of Germany alongside Rwanda’s Minister of State, Richard Tusabe.
“The purpose of this financing is to support Rwandan Exporters who have postponed their planned exports investments due to the economic impact of COVID-19 by providing them with affordable long-term loans under the Export Growth Fund (EGF),” the presser reads in part.
This financing will empower exporting Small and Medium Enterprises to exploit the recent re-opening of foreign markets. Indeed, EGF replenishment will provide for BRD to provide affordable additional capital to a unique opportunity to enable local partner Financial Institutions (PFIs) to serve exporting SMEs’ thereby creating employment opportunities to more skilled workers.
Since the inception of the Export Growth Fund in 2016, BRD has operationalized the EGF by providing affordable loans directly to SMEs and through participating Commercial Banks.
With the support of the German Government through KFW, 34 projects have benefited from the fund through 5 partner Public Financial Institutions (PFIs), with total loans approved amounting to approximately EUR 12 million.
These approved loans are distributed in different sectors including textile, essential oils, horticulture, coffee, pharmaceuticals, tea, food products, and minerals.
Compared to 2020, loans extended to exporting SMEs as percentage of the total commercial loan portfolio increased by 8%; average revenue of these SMEs grew by 20% along with an average export revenue growth of 40%.
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