Villgro Kenya, a healthcare-focused incubator and investor, has joined the growing list of investors who are seeking to fund startups with innovative ideas that can help in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
The funder is urging startups to develop innovations that can be scaled across Africa in the wake of the contagious disease.
To this end,Villgro Kenya has created an initiative to collate innovative products that will actualise the set goal. Startups have until the 15th of April to send an email with a pitch for the initiative.
Villgro Kenya said that a disruptive idea is urgently needed, especially now that healthcare professionals are projecting that the current lockdowns across Africa might be extended.
“Public health experts predict that social distancing with periods of total lockdown may continue for the next 18 months before a vaccine is ready. Furthermore, the outbreak could come in waves rather than in one single event,” Villgro said.
In Nigeria, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, has hinted that the 14-day lockdown could be extended. The country is still trying to trace over 6000 contact persons of confirmed cases. So far, Nigeria has recorded over 2oo confirmed cases of Covid-19. New cases have continued to be discovered almost on a daily basis in the country..
What Villgro Kenya wants from startups: The funder is requestimg for applications from startups that can develop any solution that will complement the efforts of medical personnel who are combating the Coronavirus pandemic in Africa.
Information made available by Villgro Kenya said that startups who are interested will have to focus on registry-based follow-up of critically ill patients and emergency response. Other forms of innovations favoured by Villgro Kenya include medical devices and commodities such as quality affordable ventilators, sanitisers, and oxygen concentrators.
Also on the preferred list of Innovation are respirator masks and drug delivery systems, risk communication, social dynamics and public health response, and supporting healthcare system response.
A triangular approach to tackle COVID-19: The firm said countries would have to depend on homegrown solutions.
“Countries should, therefore, prepare for a far-reaching health, economic and social crisis. Developing countries will need to develop homegrown solutions given that the traditional crisis response actors are focused on the domestic front.”
The funder, which was created by India-based Villgro Innovations Foundation, eyes a collaborative effort between various governments, the academia, and the private sector that support local innovations that assist in testing, treatment, and monitoring of Coronavirus patients.
Tech investors joining fight: Villgro Kenya is the the latest investor pledging to support startups with solutions to mitigate the Coronavirus outbreak. Nairametrics had previously reported that Antler, Cairo Angels and Microtraction have offered various financial support for startups innovating in line with COVID-19 demands.
Aside from these tech-funders, other players in the private sector have also been raising funds to support the fight against COVID-19. Banks, telecoms, cable tv operators and other companies are leading the fight through funds and creation of testing and isolation centres.
Air Peace to evacuate stranded Indians from Lagos to Kerala
A list of the passengers to be attended to has already been given and the flight shall depart Lagos on May 30, 2020, to Cochin Airport, Kerala.
The management of Air Peace Nigeria has been contacted by the Indian High Commission in Nigeria to undertake the evacuation of stranded Indian nationals to Kerala, India. This was disclosed by the airline via its Twitter handle.
The airline explained that a list of passengers that would be attended to have been released and it has started reaching out to the Indians on Saturday.
It stated, “A list of the passengers to be attended to has already been given to us and we have commenced reaching out to them. The flight shall depart Lagos on May 30, 2020, to Cochin Airport, Kerala.”
The flight is not free anyway. According to the airline, payments are expected immediately and they are Economy is $1.300 and Business class is tag $1,700. “You are equally allowed to pay in Naira at N460/$,” it added.
PUBLIC NOTICE (23-05-2020) pic.twitter.com/bn0xNxnRmO
— Air Peace (@flyairpeace) May 23, 2020
However, some Indians in Nigeria has reacted with mixed feelings to the development on Twitter. While some were ready to join the flight back home, others called for the refund of ticket fare booked a week ago.
For instance, Jayant Khamesra requested for the refund ticket fare of N568, 100, which he paid for a flight from Lagos to Delhi.
He said, “Please refund ticket fare P47812 LAGOS to DELHI. No show by Air Peace and it is been 1 week now, there has been no refund or confirmation of the same. Reference ALHN79 amount N568,100. I am sure a good world-class carrier like Air Peace won’t delay refunds purposely. Please act fast.
Pls refund ticket fare P47812 LAGOS to DELHI – NO SHOW by AirPeace and it’s been 1 week now —- there has been no refund or confirmation of the same. Reference ALHN79 Amount 568100 NGN. Am sure a good world class carrier like AIRPEACE won’t delay refunds purposely. Pls act fast
— Jayant Khamesra (@JKhamesra) May 23, 2020
Reports: China may defer loans owed by Nigeria and others
The Chinese have always done their lending on the idea that individual projects contribute to structural transformation and economic development.
Africa has been the delight of most foreign investors and they have been taken advantage of several opportunities especially foreign portfolio investments. But when it comes to debt one country ranks top in Africa.
China is at the fore of Africa’s debt drive, making the Asian nation Africa’s largest bilateral creditor, as it has given the continent loan worth $152 billion in 18 years (between 2000 and 2018.)
With such huge loan, a lot of critics are concerned over how feasible it would be for African nations to refund the credit with the advent of Coronavirus, which has eaten deep into the fabrics of the nations.
Head, China Africa Research Initiative, Johns Hopkins University, Deborah Brautigam, explained that in a Bloomberg article that it is likely for China to agree to delay but not forgive its $152 billion of loans, an approach at odds with prior forbearance plans from groups including the Paris Club. Her reason:
“The Chinese have always done their lending on the idea that individual projects contribute to structural transformation and economic development. Those projects might be good projects and viable projects to get countries to a new stage where they might be in a position to repay the loans.”
The $152 billion loans: The loans include facilities made between 2000 and 2018. While many have been repaid on schedule, she explained that it shows how much China’s lending has grown in Africa amid a push for political and economic clout through an overseas infrastructure investment plan, which was started by President Xi Jinping in 2013.
READ ALSO: Nigeria needs a bailout
China will also provide $2 billion over two years to support the fight against the pandemic, especially in developing countries, Xi said in a speech to the World Health Assembly.
“The good news is that China is typically willing to negotiate payment extensions. Usually, it’s not that difficult to lengthen the payment period or lengthen the maturity of loans. China has backed the G-20 plan, although it hasn’t participated in previous global debt relief initiatives. All told, according to IIF data, China’s outstanding debt claims reached $5.5 trillion last year,” she added.
Nigeria owes China about $3.1 billion more than 10% of the $27.6 billion external debt stock. Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed in February that the Federal Government decided to go for a $17 billion loans from China as the World Bank and the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) failed to show much interest in Nigeria during the recession.
The minister explained that the global lender, AfDB, and other lending institutions failed to show much interest in the nation during the recession period, which lasted for a year, as this made it requested the loan from the China-Exim Bank.
She disclosed to the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loans that 70% of the loan, which is about $17 billion, would come from the China-Exim Bank as Nigeria is in need of $22.8 billion to balance the $29.96 billion loan request. Meanwhile, the remaining loan would be sourced from other lending institutions such as the Islamic Development Bank.
Africa’s richest woman claims decision to freeze her assets was based on “fake passport”
As Nairametrics reported in January, Africa’s richest woman’ assets were frozen following allegations that she embezzled over $1 billion from Angola’s diamond marketing firm, Sodiam, as well as from Sonangol.
Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, is still fighting hard to exonerate herself and reclaim her assets which were frozen earlier this year by the Angolan Government. In her latest defence, she claimed that the probe against her was based on a fake passport that was signed by late popular Hollywood actor, Bruce Lee.
In a statement that was made available to the press yesterday, the embattled businesswoman explained that the Luanda Civil court and a magistrate of the Supreme Court, accepted the fake passport as evidence. It was based on that that a court order was given to freeze her assets.
The cornerstone document used as evidence in a global attempt to freeze my Angolan and Portuguese assets was a forgery – a fake passport signed by Bruce Lee. Here is my statement, issued today: Link : https://t.co/hlCFFHoDwh
— Isabel Dos Santos (@isabelaangola) May 12, 2020
“The Angolan state used the fabricated evidence in an exparte court claims – meaning Ms dos Santos and her lawyers were not present to contest the allegations. The forged evidence was relevant and material in supporting the case.
“The Angolan Prosecutor went to the Luanda Civil Court and a magistrate of the Supreme Court in order to obtain the judgements, based on this fraudulent procedure. Those judgements were automatically enforced in Portugal without review by the Portuguese judiciary, a result of a convention between Portuguese speaking countries and judicial treaty,” the statement said in parts.
Apparently, dos Santos and her lawyers were only granted access to the court documents and evidence by the end of May. It was then that they came across the fake passport.
The facts and images speak for themselves. The truth today comes to light about the fraudulent court process and freezing order, based on forged evidence and fake documents. There are no arguments against facts. A “False Passport” was used and accepted by the Court as being mine. pic.twitter.com/kpik3sO2GL
— Isabel Dos Santos (@isabelaangola) May 12, 2020
Based on the latest revelations, Nairametrics understands that an internet fraudster posing as a representative of Isabel dos Santos had entered into talks with a Japanese company named Synapse Corporation Inc. The fraudster had sent the fake passport of dos Santos to the Japanese and even made a loan offer. Prosecutors used these as evidence that dos Santos was tryingto negotiate the sale of her stakes in Unitel in order for her to flee from Angola.
An entirely fake transaction was concocted, a false passport sent by Angolan Embassy in Japan was authenticated by the angolan Intelligence Services and used by the Attorney General In Court.The judge awardede a Freezing order based on the fake passport as proof. pic.twitter.com/BXPMbU7SPl
— Isabel Dos Santos (@isabelaangola) May 12, 2020
As Nairametrics reported in January, Africa’s richest woman’ assets were frozen following allegations that she embezzled over $1 billion from Angola’s diamond marketing firm, Sodiam, as well as from Sonangol. Isabel dos Santos, who was Chairwoman of Sonangol for some years, had immediately denied the allegation.