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EU, Nigeria Ink €18m Agreement on Local Vaccine Production, Medical Technologies

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The European Union (EU) and Nigeria have signed a cooperation agreement on an €18 million EU support to enhance research and development capacities for implementing Nigeria’s national plan for the pharmaceutical industry and local production of vaccines and medical technologies.

EU, Nigeria Ink €18m Agreement on Local Vaccine Production, Medical Technologies

Ms Jutta Urpilainen, European commissioner for International Partnerships, and Ms Didi Esther Walson-Jack, permanent secretary of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Education, jointly signed the agreement at the EU Global Gateway High-Level Event on Education held in Brussels on Thursday.

The new collaboration underlines the EU’s strong commitment to education and health equity.

Urpilainen said: “Economic growth is dependent on an educated, skilled workforce and healthy societies, and investing in strengthening education and health systems worldwide is an integral part of the European Union’s Global Gateway strategy. Our investments in quality education, research and training seek to empower future generations by equipping them with the knowledge, skills and competencies they need in a changing world to tackle global challenges and build prosperity.”

The European funding signed under the Team Europe Initiative on Manufacturing and Access to Vaccines, Medicines and Health Technologies in Africa (MAV+) will support the wider enabling environment around Nigeria’s pharmaceutical sector, notably by promoting: skills development through education and training; research and development (e.g. research in artificial intelligence and nanotechnology); the digitalisation of essential dimensions of the ecosystem; a centralised system for forecasting, procurement and distribution of quality medical products; trade, investment and customs facilitation, intellectual property rights frameworks and conditions, and an enabling environment for preferential trade and investment.

Urpilainen also signed 15 Intra-Africa Mobility Scheme projects funded by the EU with €27 million under the flagship Youth Mobility for Africa.

The projects will provide learning mobility opportunities for students, trainees and staff across the continent to boost high-level green and digital skills.

Nigeria will benefit from six projects: CB4EE – Capacity Building for Engineering Education Practice and Research (€1.8 million of EU funding in total, with the participation of the University of Lagos-Unilag); CREATE-Green Africa – Climate Research and Education to Advancing Green Development in Africa (€1.8 million of EU funding in total, with the participation of the University of Port Harcourt); GENES II – Mobility for Plant Genomics Scholars to Accelerate Climate-Smart Adaptation Options and Food Security in Africa II (€1.8 million of EU funding in total, coordinated by the Ebonyi State University); GREEN STEM – Green, Resilient and Entrepreneurial Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics for Africa (€1.8 million of EU funding in total, with the participation of the University of Lagos-Unilag); HCE Solutions – Promoting Inclusive Homegrown Clean Energy Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Africa (€1.8 million of EU funding in total, coordinated by the Federal University of Technology and with the participation of the University of Nigeria); ORPHAN – Mobility for High Skilled Scientists and Entrepreneurs on Orphan Crops in Higher Education for Accelerated Climate Change Solutions in Africa (€1.8 million of EU funding in total, with the participation of the Ebonyi State University).

Urpilainen also launched a key initiative of the Youth Action Plan in EU external relations, the Africa-Europe Youth Academy, which will provide opportunities for formal and informal learning and exchanges to young people looking to improve their leadership skills and create networks between Africa and Europe.

According to a statement, Nigeria can also benefit from the regional Team Europe Initiative on Opportunity-driven Skills and Vocational Education and Training in Africa, launched, which will orient country-level vocational training initiatives towards concrete employment opportunities created by Global Gateway investments.

The Team Europe Initiative on Manufacturing and Access to Vaccines, Medicines and Health Technologies in Africa (MAV+) works with African partners to strengthen their pharmaceutical systems and manufacturing capacity to improve access to quality, safe, effective and affordable health products.

It offers a 360-degree approach through the supply side, the demand side, and the enabling environment, and six work streams: industrial development, supply chains and private sector; market shaping, demand and trade facilitation; regulatory strengthening; technology transfer and intellectual property management; access to finance; R&D, higher education and skills.

The statement emphasized that education is a powerful mechanism to address inequality and poverty, boosting human potential, opening doors for girls, youth and marginalised groups, and providing a springboard for human connections, debate and democratic values.

It also creates an enabling environment for investments in digital and green transformations to succeed, and forms an integral part of the EU’s Global Gateway offer to partner countries.

The EU remains the leading investor in education worldwide. The EU institutions and member states provide more than 50% of all official development aid to education worldwide.

The EU is committed to dedicating at least 10% of its international partnerships budget for the period 2021–2027 to education, and in the period 2021–2023, its commitments have amounted to around €3 billion, approximately 13% of the budget.


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Afreximbank Launches CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa

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Afreximbank, has officially announced the launch of the CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa, a partnership between the CANEX Book Factory and the Narrative Landscape Press Limited.

Afreximbank Launches CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa

The CANEX Book Factory, a key intervention under the CANEX programme, aims to promote a vibrant literary culture across Global Africa and encourage the development of a sustainable business ecosystem in the literary sector.

CANEX was launched in 2020 by Afreximbank as a key driver for development and job creation in Africa, having recognized the relevance and opportunities provided by the creative and cultural industries.

The CANEX Book Factory will spotlight and elevate the African book value chain through a Pan-African writing workshop, an e-newsletter highlighting African literature and the prize for publishing in Africa. This will culminate in the Award Ceremony at the CANEX WKND to be held in Algiers, Algeria between 16-19 October, 2024.

A USD20,000 prize will be awarded to the publisher of the best trade book. Trade books refers to books published for a general audience, including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry and excludes textbooks and academic books. Additionally, four finalists will each receive $2,000 in prize money.

Commenting on this announcement, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, executive vice president-Intra African Trade and Export Development Bank at Afreximbank said: “We are thrilled to announce the launch of The CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa, a pioneering initiative by Afreximbank aimed at promoting and celebrating excellence in African publishing. This prize underscores our commitment to nurturing Africa’s creative industries and supporting the vibrant literary landscape across the continent. Through the CANEX Prize, we aim to recognize and empower African authors and publishers who play a vital role in shaping our cultural identity and enriching our communities through literature in what is a multi-billion-dollar industry.”

On the importance of initiatives such as CANEX,  Ms. Chimamanda Adichie, renowned writer and novelist, said: “Imagine being an African, dreaming about being a writer, surrounded by people in a room who share the same interests, it propels you, it gives you hope. I’ve always believed that there is nothing more essential to the human spirit than hope. For me, CANEX is about hope – the hope of many more African stories.”

Submissions will be judged on the quality of writing, editing and production. Priority will be given to books printed and produced on the African continent as well as to books published in indigenous African languages.

A key concession for the inaugural year (2024) is that books published in the preceding two years will be considered.

By supporting the enabling environment for various creative sectors like fashion, music, film, art, literature, gastronomy, and sport; CANEX seeks to support the advancement and expansion of the creative and cultural economy, both within Africa and the diaspora, utilizing various financial and non-financial tools and initiatives.

CANEX invites publishers in Africa to submit published trade books for the inaugural CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa. To submit your entry, please visit:  https://apo-opa.co/3WR3vgu.

 


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Transcorp Power Posts N142Bn Revenue, N52.8Bn PBT

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Transcorp Power Plc, a subsidiary of Transnational Corporation Plc (Transcorp Group), announced impressive financial performance at its recently concluded 11th Annual General Meeting (AGM), the first since the Company went public, via a listing by introduction of its shares, on Monday.

Transcorp Power Posts N142Bn Revenue, N52.8Bn PBT

L-R: Dr. Owen D. Omogiafo, OON, Non-Executive Director; Peter Ikenga, Managing Director/CEO; Emmanuel N. Nnorom, Chairman; Stanley Chikwendu, Company Secretary at the Annual General Meeting of Transcorp Power Plc held at Transcorp Hilton Abuja on Monday

 

The Company recorded gross earnings of N142.1 billion, a 57.3% increase, compared to the previous year.

Profitability remained strong, demonstrating its resilience amidst evolving market dynamics.

Profit before tax showed an impressive year-on-year growth, up 84.4%, from N28.6 billion reported in 2022 to N52.8 billion in 2023.

At the AGM, Mr. Emmanuel Nnorom, chairman of the Board, highlighted Transcorp Power’s achievements over the past year, while assuring shareholders of the Company’s commitment to maintaining its exceptional financial results and improving the lives of Nigerians.

He said: “Last year’s strong performance is a testament to the resilience of our business strategies, underpinned by a culture of strong corporate governance.  We know that with our strategy and the dedication of our team, we will continue to deliver exceptional value to all stakeholders.”

Speaking on the Company’s performance, Peter Ikenga, managing director/chief executive officer, Transcorp Power, stated that the Company’s success is as a result of the rigorous execution of our strategies and deliberate focus on enhancing operational efficiency.

“As we celebrate last year’s achievements, we remain committed to continuous improvement. This year, our strategic focus is on recovering plant available capacity, enhancing operational excellence and efficiency, and rigorously implementing our plant maintenance schedule. We will continue prioritizing and investing in human capital, aiming to enhance in-house capabilities.  Our commitment to incident and injury-free operations remains strong, as we leverage our talent, foster ingenuity, and nurture teamwork. We are determined to build on our successes and leverage strategic investment opportunities to deliver even greater performance and sustainable growth for our stakeholders.”

Shareholders at the AGM lauded the Company’s professionalism and commitment to growing value for shareholders.

Mrs. Bisi Bakare, one of the company’s shareholders, commended Transcorp Power for continuously exceeding shareholder expectations.

She said: “I am very satisfied with Transcorp Power’s performance. It demonstrates their commitment to creating value for us shareholders, which is what we are all here for.”

Transcorp Power’s social responsibility activities were also commended at the AGM.  The Company has contributed to Nigeria’s sustainable development, particularly in the areas of education, community development, and environmental sustainability.

Operationally, the Company’s focus on excellence and optimisation has contributed to its position as a market leader in the power sector.

Through strategic investments and operational strategies, Transcorp Power continues to enhance its generation capacity and optimise plant performance.

Transcorp Power Plc is an electricity generating subsidiary of Transnational Corporation Plc (Transcorp Group), a leading, listed African conglomerate with strategic investments in the power, hospitality, and energy sectors.

Transcorp Power is committed to creating value and driving economic growth, by improving lives through access to electricity and transforming Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Air Peace: Strategies to Gain Competitive Advantage in the Battle for the Skies

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By Austin Okere

Congratulations to Air Peace on its inaugural flight to London and for achieving full bookings for the upcoming months, thanks to attractive ticket prices. Over the past fortnight, Air Peace has been making waves on social media for various reasons.

On a positive note, the airline shared a LinkedIn post featuring a picture of former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, aboard a return flight to London.

The caption highlighted his positive experience, stating, “I went, it was pleasant. I came back, it was even more pleasant.”

However, on a different note, Nigeria Stories recently reported that the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority has contacted Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority regarding alleged violations of aviation safety regulations by Air Peace.

The significance of Air Peace’s impact on airfares along the Lagos-London route cannot be overstated. Since commencing operations on March 30, Air Peace has maintained its round-trip economy ticket price at $1,000 (₦1.2 million), a substantial reduction compared to the previous rates charged by international airlines, which could soar up to $2,500 (₦3 million).

This bold pricing approach has disrupted the established norms, prompting foreign carriers to reassess their pricing frameworks.

To uphold customer loyalty and ensure long-term viability, it is imperative for Air Peace to explore additional strategies for differentiation. I have outlined these strategies using Austin’s Four Models of Competitive Strategies below:

  1. Technological Leadership

This approach is commonly embraced by firms that have secured a substantial leadership edge on the innovation spectrum. Their dominant position within their specific market niche is profound, making it exceedingly challenging for competitors to replicate or close the gap. Companies like Apple, Alphabet, Airbus, SpaceX, Netflix, and Tesla, among others, adeptly employ this strategy to significant effect.

Typically, they command premium prices for their offerings, allowing for greater investment in ongoing research and expertise, thus fortifying their technological supremacy and perpetuating their cycle of success.

  1. Service Excellence

This strategy is often embraced by companies that may not necessarily lead in technology but excel in delivery and customer experience to secure patronage and foster loyalty. Airlines like Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Japan Airlines consistently rank among the world’s top 10 airlines as voted by travelers worldwide, thereby drawing more patronage.

3. Customer Intimacy (Personalized Customer Engagement)

This approach is predominantly employed by companies that strive to create a familial bond with their customers. They foster a sense of intimacy with their clientele, exemplified by Ghana’s Africa World Airways (AWA), which has established a reputation for punctuality in West African travel.

Air Peace appears to be following suit with this strategy, offering popular Nigerian cuisine and beverages on the Lagos-London route, and outfitting their crew in vibrant Nigerian attire. Companies employing this strategy often boast prolonged customer retention rates. They possess a deep understanding of their customers, accommodating their unique preferences, while customers reciprocate with steadfast loyalty.

  1. Cost Leadership

This strategy is predominantly adopted by companies that have enjoyed an early lead in product development and launch, leveraging the returns on their investments over time. They employ low pricing to dissuade competitors from entering the market. A classic example is Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola.

Additionally, other companies that may employ this strategy are those that have accessed the experiences and intellectual property of more advanced competitors without incurring the costs and challenges of research and development. They are content to price their products relatively lower to attract patronage.

Many established companies with mature infrastructure also aim to increase their market share through periodic sales promotions, satisfied with extracting contribution margin from fixed costs.

Airlines often utilize this strategy during low seasons to improve their load factor rather than flying with empty seats or cargo space. They prefer to capture customers at any price rather than allow competitors to benefit from lost sales.

Bringing it All Together

In the fiercely competitive landscape of the airline industry, pricing strategies serve as a cornerstone in attracting passengers and maintaining a competitive edge. Employing competitor pricing, a dynamic and data-informed approach, enables airlines to swiftly adapt to market fluctuations and consumer preferences while optimizing revenue streams.

Airlines continuously fine-tune their fares in response to market dynamics, competitive maneuvers, and various other factors, employing a seamless and automated process to uphold competitiveness, optimize load factors, and maximize revenue streams.

While competitive pricing may serve as an initial strategy to penetrate the market and garner market share, I am cautious about relying solely on it for sustained success. It’s essential to recognize that no matter how aggressively priced one may be, there’s always someone offering a lower fare.

This approach risks triggering a downward spiral in pricing, potentially leading to a race to the bottom. In such a scenario, financially robust incumbents may outlast vulnerable newcomers, only to subsequently increase prices to recoup lost revenue once the newcomers are forced out of the market. This fate should not befall Air Peace.

Austin Okere is a thought leader, and business mentor. An Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Columbia Business School, New York.

 

 


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