African Leaders on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, of $700 million to support immunisation and investment in the health sector across the continent.
President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, said this at the launch of “Immunise Africa 2020 leaders”, at the ongoing 24th World Economic Forum on Africa, in Abuja.
Kaberuka said the amount would help co-finance the purchase of vaccines by GAVI Allaince and the bank between 2016 and 2020.
Gavi Alliance is a public-private partnership committed to saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health by increasing access to immunisation in poor countries.
“The investments countries that are making vaccines today will reap enormous benefits in the short and long term. With commitment to immunisation, African leaders are taking a bold step towards securing their countries’ prosperity and economic security,” he said.
President of Ghana, John Mahama, said that immunization was very important as it insulates children against fatal diseases, thus safeguarding their future.
“Immunisation is one of the most important investments we are making in our children and in their future. We are committed to ensuring that vaccine programmes in Ghana will be sustainable, so that our children are fully protected from potentially fatal diseases,” he said.
President Jakaya Kikete of the Republic of Tanzania said immunisation was the smartest investment that African leaders could make in the health sector for the citizen and for the future of the nations.
“As leaders of this dynamic continent, we will ensure that our children have access to the best, most sustainable technologies to provide them with the best possible start in life,” Kikete said.
Also, the Country Representative of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, has expressed the organisation’s readiness to work with the federal government to develop energy mix for Nigeria.
Kormawa who made this known at a power forum organised by the Ministry of Power and Standard Bank Group on the sidelines of ongoing WEF, said a robust energy mix is key to boosting power supply in Nigeria.
“We must ensure that we focus on not only on one source of energy (gas), but we must look at other sources such as renewable energy,” he said.
The UNIDO country representative said access to power was crucial in growing Nigeria and Africa’s economy and stressed the need for countries in the continent to work together to harness and develop power potential for the good of the people.
Permanent secretary, Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, reiterated that the federal government privatised the power sector to reposition the sector and make it more efficient, but disclosed that N10 billion was spent monthly on salaries of electricity workers without much on infrastructure development, hence the need to bring in private investors.
He assured investors that government had created the enabling environment for investment to thrive, adding that efforts were being made to address the gas challenge of the power stations.
Meanwhile, the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, said Thursday at the plenary of the WEF that the company would invest $16 billion to create various businesses in Nigeria and other African countries within the next four years.
Dangote who spoke on the theme “Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs”, said the investment programme would translate into creation of no fewer than 180,000 jobs in Nigeria and the continent.
“We are building a fertiliser plant, which is going to be 2.8 million tonnes, and part of it will be for export because it is more than what Nigeria requires. The most important aspect of our business today is the agricultural side of which we are not doing before. What we are doing right now is that we are partnering the ministry of agriculture to do a million tonnes of rice. We have got a letter that 60,000 hectares of land is available in Niger state and in Edo we have 64,000 hectares,” he said.
The business tycoon stressed that the only way to stop the challenge of terrorism, especially Boko Haram, in the country, is to create jobs, adding that Dangote group had put measures to support the government in that regard.