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Ghana, Nigeria announces cases of Omicron variant, increase vaccination efforts

Ghana announced on Wednesday that its scientists have detected cases of the omicron variant in passengers who arrived in the country ten days ago.

Speaking at a launch event for “COVID-19 vaccination month,” Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General for Ghana’s Health Service, said the cases had come mainly from Nigeria and South Africa.

They were picked up through testing of passengers arriving at Ghana’s Kokota International airport.

Reports from virologist William Ampofo confirmed that weekly samples of 200 passengers arriving at the airport detected that 28% of those arriving from Nigeria and South Africa had the variant.

World Health Organization representative, Francis Chisaka Kasolo who was in attendance at the launch event confirmed the importance of getting people vaccinated.

“The only way to slow down this virus from mutating is by having as many people as possible vaccinated and by following public health measures,” he said.

In response Ghana’s Health Minister announced plans to take mobile vaccination units to various areas including churches and mosques, and confirmed that vaccinations would be available to all people over the age of 15.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, public servants queued to receive their vaccine after the government made it mandatory to be jabbed or present a negative COVID-19 test result done in the last 72 hours to enter public buildings for work.

There were chaotic scenes at several offices in the nation’s capital as civil servants without a vaccination card or a negative PCR test were turned away by security agents.

The measure, which took effect on Wednesday, is part of a national campaign to increase the number of people vaccinated amid concerns around the new omicron variant.

Civil servants speaking to the Associated Press told of their concerns about the variant.

Dung Pam, a 34-year-old worker, said that he was afraid because scientists did not yet know how dangerous the variant was.

“Nobody knows how devastating this will make the situation,” he said.

Nigeria has detected its first case of the omicron coronavirus variant in travelers that arrived from South Africa in the past week, the country’s national public health institute said Wednesday, correcting its earlier statement that it found the variant in samples taken in October.

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control said in a second statement that it was the delta variant – not omicron as it had earlier stated – that was detected in the samples from October.

It said the omicron variant was first detected in three travelers who arrived in the country in the past week.

Nigeria is the first West African country to have recorded the omicron variant since scientists in southern Africa detected and reported it and adds to a list of nearly 20 countries where the variant has been recorded, triggering travel bans across the world.

Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and if it can thwart the vaccine.

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2021 Africa’s Business Heroes Winners Announced (See List)

Entrepreneurs from Egypt, Kenya, and Nigeria make the Top Three; top 10 Finalists pitched live in a virtual grand finale connecting 14 locations across the world.

The 2021 Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) (www.AfricaBusinessHeroes.org/en/) winners were announced last night during a virtual live Grand Finale, with US$1.5 million in grant funding awarded to the top 10 finalists. The Top 10 represent seven African countries, with 80% operating businesses in rural areas and half of the finalists are female.

Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) is a flagship philanthropic programme established by the Jack Ma Foundation to help foster an inclusive and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa. The annual competition, now in its third year, shines a spotlight on talented African entrepreneurs who are working to make a difference in their communities and helping to build a more sustainable, inclusive future. The ABH competition is grassroots-oriented as well as age, gender, language, and sector agnostic.

This year, over 12,000 applications were received from all 54 countries in Africa. The finalists were chosen after several rounds of rigorous evaluation conducted by over 230 judges. They were selected after demonstrating that they are visionary entrepreneurs who embodied innovation, resilience, growth potential, and impact on Africa.

Hundreds of viewers from 49 countries worldwide registered to watch the live online grand finale and visit the virtual exhibition, following the finalists as they pitched their businesses to a final panel of esteemed judges: Ibukun Awosika, Founder and CEO of The Chair Centre Group; Victor Williams, NBA Africa CEO; and Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group.

The top three Africa’s Business Heroes for 2021 are:

1st – winning $300,000 – Khadija Mohamed Elbedweihy – Founder, PraxiLabs (www.praxilabs.com) (Egypt)

2nd – winning $250,000 – Ikenna Nzewi – Co-founder and CEO, Releaf (www.releaf.africa) (Nigeria)

3rd – winning $150,000 – Navalayo Osembo-Ombati – Co-founder and CEO, Enda Athletic (www.EndaSportswear.com) (Kenya)

All of Africa’s Business Heroes are inspiring leaders who are actively pursuing their passions and helping Africa take its rightful place on the world stage

“I’m very humbled to be named Africa’s Business Hero. This competition has been an incredible journey. I have learned important lessons from each judge and from my fellow talented entrepreneurs. I hope that this win inspires many young Africans to believe, that we have what it takes to make an impact where we are. It has been a challenging year for many businesses, but challenges are key to building our resilience. PraxiLabs is solving pressing issues around education and training, and we will remain focused and determined to change how Africa learns and teaches science, one virtual lab at a time,” said the winner, Khadija Mohamed Elbedweihy, Founder at PraxiLabs.

The other finalists will each receive $100,000 in prize funding, and an additional $10,000 will be allocated to each finalist for a training program to be hosted in Alibaba Group’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China.

The finale judges were impressed with the caliber of the finalists and their businesses, commenting:

“This is the third time I have been a Grand Finale judge for Africa’s Business Heroes competition, meeting many exceptional business women and men from across Africa. Each year, I’m struck by their sheer talent and the commitment to developing creative, innovative solutions to the challenges we face on the continent. It truly is “Africa’s time” and these outstanding entrepreneurs are the ones who embody its future of growth and relevant solution-based innovation,” said Ibukun Awosika, Founder and CEO of The Chair Centre Group.

“I want to congratulate the winners of this year’s Africa’s Business Heroes competition.  Entrepreneurship – like sport – is a transformative force for positive social change and economic growth.  All of Africa’s Business Heroes are inspiring leaders who are actively pursuing their passions and helping Africa take its rightful place on the world stage. I look forward to engaging with all of them as they continue their entrepreneurial journeys on the continent,” highlighted Victor Williams, NBA Africa CEO.

“This year’s Top 10 finalists came from inspiring personal stories that is invaluable not only to their teams and communities but to many would-be entrepreneurs across the continent who are thinking about pursuing this path. The kind of talent and passion I saw among this year’s Africa’s Business Heroes is unrivaled around the world. They are innovators and problem-solvers, but most importantly, they have a driving sense of mission and social impact. Congratulations to all of our winners and we look forward to seeing what you accomplish next,” said Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group.

Africa’s Business Heroes TV show will air in 2022. The show will follow the finalists in their exciting journey to the grand finale and feature their on-stage pitches as well as behind-the-scenes moments from the competition. The award ceremony from the 2021 finale will soon be available to watch on ABH official YouTube (https://bit.ly/3oF8j5R).

Applications for the 2022 ABH prize will open in early 2022. For news and updates visit africabusinessheroes.org

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Apple Watch review: price drop makes Apple’s smartwatch more affordable

7.6tech score

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A Week With The New MacBook: Living The Good Experience Life

8.5tech score

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Beats Studio Wireless: A pricey Bluetooth headphone with premium sound

7.6tech score

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Reviews

Beats Studio Wireless: A pricey Bluetooth headphone with premium sound

7.6tech score

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Camera Review: Old Vintage Film For The Love Of Taking Photos

7.3tech score

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Reviews

Camera Review: Old Vintage Film For The Love Of Taking Photos

7.3tech score

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