Nigeria is in talks with the World Bank’s private lending arm and other lenders to raise about $30 million to help finance a vaccine plant, three decades after the nation’s only production facility was shut. Biovaccines Nigeria, which is 49% owned by the Nigerian government with the balance held by May & Baker Nigeria Plc, is targeting to begin construction of the plant in the first quarter of next year, said Oyewale Tomori, chairman of Biovaccines. “We have done the last stages of our discussion” with the International Finance Corporation Tomori, said in a virtual interview in Lagos.  The coronavirus pandemic laid bare the desperate need for a local facility for Africa’s most populous country, which depends on imports for all its inoculations. With countries prioritizing Covid-19 vaccines for their own citizens, many African countries are struggling to get enough. Nigeria has administered doses to protect against coronavirus to just 1.2% of its people, according to Our World in Data. Biovaccines is in talks with companies in India and Indonesia to transfer technology, Tomori said. The plant in Otta, Ogun State will initially “fill and finish” vaccines while full manufacturing “will come with time” and in collaboration with foreign partners, he said.  Fill and finish involves importing the raw material for the vaccines and then packaging it for distribution. South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd. and the Biovac Institute operate similar facilities. Elsewhere on the continent, there are small vaccine production facilities in Senegal and North Africa. The company is also in talks with other multilateral financial institutions including African Development Bank, Patrick Ajah, chief executive officer of May & Baker, said in a separate interview. Biovaccines is in discussion with the government to include producing Covid-19 vaccines, which wasn’t in the original joint venture agreement, according to Tomori. The plant will have the capacity to inoculate about 10 million people every year, Tomori said. Nigeria has a population of more than 200 million.

Nigeria will return to international capital markets next month to offer a portion of its planned $6.2 billion Eurobond sale, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said. “We have very positive indications in that regard,” Ahmed said Thursday at a conference in Abuja. She didn’t provide further details. The amount to be issued will depend on market conditions, Debt Management Office Director-General Patience Oniha said Aug. 5. “We expect to issue in September, but that will depend on the advice of book-runners and financial advisers,” Oniha said in an emailed response to questions on Thursday. Nigeria this month appointed JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Global Markets, Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs as international book-runners and joint lead managers for the planned Eurobond offering. Proceeds from the sale will be used to finance projects in the 2021 budget and support Nigeria’s foreign-exchange reserves, the DMO said Aug. 5.

Media reports say plans by some Shuwa Arabs, an ethnic group from Borno, to crown Idris Adanno as the Sultan of Shuwa Arab of Edo State, have been received with outrage across the state. According to an invite circulating online, the coronation ceremony is slated to hold tomorrow, Saturday, 21 August 2021, at Rialto Hotel, Eyaen, a suburb of Benin City. The hotel is owned by a Duke in the Benin Kingdom, Osazuwa Iduriase. However, Iduriase has distanced himself from the event. Prominent Benin youths who reacted on Facebook condemned the planned coronation of a sultan within the kingdom. But unknown to many in the state, the Shehu of Borno on 4 August had turbaned Adam Harun and given him the same title. In his reaction, the President of Benin Solidarity Movement, Curtis Eghosa Ugbo, said Benin indigenes will resist what he described as an “evil act” by persons who are bent on fomenting trouble. “This will never happen in the Benin Kingdom; we are Benin,” Ugbo said. The Coordinator-General of Great Benin Descendants, Imasuen Izoduwa, said that the organisation would meet and lock up the hotel venue of the coronation for allowing “such nonsense” in the land. “We will meet later today so we can lock up that hotel by tomorrow or next for allowing such nonsense in our land. Enough is enough, I will no longer take any of this in our kingdom,” he said. Amos Ehinomen Uagbor said: “Is this obtainable elsewhere? Should we now have oba and sultan in Edo State? In fact, the venue should be sealed.” The state government called the coronation a “potential threat to the peace and security of Edo state with the capacity to cause a breakdown of law and order” and said the ceremony constitutes an offence under the Edo State Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law.

US special operations forces have arrived in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo to help in the fight against a feared jihadist militia enjoying “sanctuary” in the region’s nature parks, American and Congolese sources said Wednesday. The office of President Felix Tshisekedi said Sunday that Kinshasa had authorised the deployment in support f the Congolese army against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels. The size of the contingent was unknown but around a dozen soldiers could be seen in official photos of a meeting Sunday between Tshisekedi and a delegation led by US Ambassador to Kinshasa Mike Hammer. Congolese and US sources told AFP confirmed the presence of some of the soldiers at a base in the Virunga natural park known for its endangered mountain gorillas. The presidency said at the weekend that the contingent would also support rangers in Garamba, which like Virunga has “become a sanctuary for terrorist forces”. The mission is set to last “several weeks” and will target the ADF, which the statement described as a “branch of Daech” — or the Islamic State group (IS). It said the force was part of a “global coalition” against IS.