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Nine African countries agree to begin journey to pool procurement for better access to affordable life-saving vaccines

Nine African countries agree to begin journey to pool procurement for better access to affordable life-saving vaccines

Nine middle-income countries in Africa have agreed to pool vaccine procurement by sharing vital information on purchases including the prices they pay and their suppliers.

Their commitment on 1 November to improve in-country and cross-border processes was made following a three-day workshop organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa in Mbabane, Eswatini, to address access to safe and affordable vaccines in middle-income countries where immunization coverage is decreasing.

The workshop brought together the countries that, due to their middle-income status, are not eligible for immunization financing support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. These nine countries are Algeria, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Eswatini, Gabon, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe and Seychelles.

Participants included officials from the respective health and finance ministries, procurement officials, immunization officers and members of national regulatory authorities for vaccines and medicines.

Despite progress in reducing morbidity and mortality due to vaccine-preventable diseases, around 8.5 million children living in the WHO African Region still do not receive all the basic and necessary vaccines. With many middle-income countries transitioning from donor support to domestically funded immunization programmes, access to vaccines remains a challenge due to limited financial resources and to obstacles in accessing a timely and affordable vaccine supply.

A shift to more strategic approaches to vaccine procurement is critical to improve access to affordable vaccines for middle-income countries in the African Region.

The nine countries agreed on harmonised activities to work to a pooled procurement process in the future. These activities include coordinating joint market research, sharing vaccine supplier information and monitoring vaccine prices. By coordinating the informed buying of vaccines, these countries will have greater stability in their vaccine supply as well as increased bargaining power for lower prices.

Five of the countries, those in the regional organization of Small Island Developing States, have already created a single purchasing bloc, which was highlighted during the workshop as an innovative model due to its ability to leverage a better negotiating position and thus achieve reduced prices. Pooling demand can be particularly beneficial to countries with small populations that combine their orders to improve their negotiation terms with suppliers.

Pooled procurement also contributes towards strengthening existing specialized skills for national vaccine procurement and allows for continuous stability in vaccine supply.

The country representatives agreed on collaborating with different models of group purchasing, with all committing to share information and some agreeing to work towards joint price negotiating.

“Pooling vaccine procurement is a major step to increase immunization coverage in these countries and the African region as a whole,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa. “We must work together to improve vaccine delivery so that all children are protected from preventable diseases. I am heartened to see such strong cooperation between countries to make universal immunization coverage a reality.”

The workshop followed a consultative meeting organized in April 2018 by the WHO Regional Office for Africa, during which 17 low-, middle- and upper-middle-income African countries called for improved procurement skills and knowledge, harmonized product choice and registration processes and the use of pooled procurement options to enhance vaccine security.


 

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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

Promotion

20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.