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German Chancellor vows to support Niger’s fight against Islamist militants

German Chancellor

German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, promised Niger long-term military and financial support to fight Islamist insurgents across West Africa during a visit on Monday on his inaugural Africa tour.

Niger has played a more significant role in hosting European special forces since the deterioration of relations between Western powers and the military junta ruling neighbouring Mali.

Scholz visited 180 soldiers from the German Bundeswehr army training Nigerien special forces at a military camp in Tillia, about 80 km (50 miles) from the Malian border.

The mission, which started in 2018, is due to end this year. “Now it will be a matter for us to identify a good follow-up project,” Scholz said later during a press conference with Niger President Mohamed Bazoum.

Officials say Germany has been expanding its cooperation with Niger since 2015, partly because of the militant threat and partly because of the routes that take migrants across the West African country’s territory towards Europe.

The Bundeswehr remains part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali. The Bundestag lower house of parliament voted on Friday to increase the maximum number of troops there to 14,000 from 1,100 following France’s withdrawal.

Scholz visited Senegal on Sunday and was due to fly to South Africa on Monday evening for the final leg of his tour.

WHO says no urgent need for mass monkeypox vaccinations


The World Health Organization, WHO,  does not believe the monkeypox outbreak outside of Africa requires mass vaccinations as measures like good hygiene and safe sexual behaviour will help control its spread, a senior official said on Monday.

Richard Pebody, who leads the high-threat pathogen team at WHO Europe, that immediate supplies of vaccines and antivirals are relatively limited.

His comments came as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was in the process of releasing some Jynneos vaccine doses for use in monkeypox cases.

Germany’s government said on Monday that it was assessing options for vaccinations, while Britain has offered them to some healthcare workers.

Public health authorities in Europe and North America are investigating more than 100 suspected and confirmed cases of the viral infection in the worst outbreak of the virus outside of Africa, where it is endemic.

The primary measures to control the outbreak are contact tracing and isolation, Pebody said, noting that it is not a virus that spreads very easily, nor has it so far caused serious disease. He added that the vaccines used to combat monkeypox could have some significant side effects.

It is unclear what is driving the outbreak, with scientists trying to understand the origin of the cases and whether anything about the virus has changed. There is no evidence that the virus has mutated, a senior executive at the U.N. agency said separately.

Many – but not all – of the people who have been diagnosed in the current monkeypox outbreak have been men who have sex with men. But that may be because this demographic is likely to seek medical advice or access sexual health screening more readily, the WHO said earlier.

Most of the confirmed cases have not been linked to travel to Africa, which suggests there may be many undetected cases, said Pebody. Some health authorities suspect there is some degree of community spread.

Indian vaccine giant Serum plans African plant in global expansion


The Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s biggest vaccine maker, is considering setting up its first manufacturing plant in Africa as it looks to expand globally after its success in selling COVID-19 shots, its CEO told Reuters on Monday.

Africa was the only continent that did not have its manufacturing capacity for COVID shots during the worst phases of the pandemic in the last two years, leaving it at the mercy of suppliers from overseas, including the SII.

“It’s never been a better time to be a vaccine manufacturer. I’m looking at expanding our manufacturing across the globe,” SII Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla said during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“There are some great countries out there: South Africa, Rwanda, you know, and a few that we’re looking at.”

Poonawalla said he met some African officials in Davos to discuss his plans. Asked about possible investments, he said such projects typically required around $300 million.

He did not say what products an African plant might make. Apart from COVID shots, the SII’s Indian plants make vaccines for diphtheria, BCG, measles, rubella and other conditions.

Asked about concerns over the rise of monkeypox cases, Poonawalla said he believed the disease was not so infectious.

“We’ll wait and see even if we want to make a vaccine for it,” he said.

Monkeypox is usually mild and is endemic in parts of the west and central Africa. The World Health Organization expects to identify more cases as it expands surveillance in countries where the disease is not typically found.

On COVID, the SII has sold more than 1.5 billion doses in India of the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) shot it makes and brands Covishield and exported millions more.

But as demand has now waned, the company is putting its Indian Covishield facilities on standby. It will “not produce anything there”, Poonawalla said, while adding it could resume output if needed.

The SII has also pulled the plug on a plan to produce and sell about 300 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik Light COVID vaccine. However, it is still making millions of doses of a version of the Novavax COVID shot for India and other countries, Poonawalla said.

He estimated privately held SII was now valued at roughly $20 billion but said there was no immediate plan to go public.


Ducati accelerates innovation and customer experience with SAP 

  • Ducati to drive SAP innovation to improve and enrich its customers’ experiences
  •     Claudio Domenicali, CEO Ducati: “Having a partner like SAP at our side will allow us to make our supply chain, so complex and subject to transformation in recent years, even more flexible and responsive thanks to the most innovative software solutions”
  •    SAP also becomes Official Partner of the Ducati Lenovo Team for the 2022 MotoGP season

Borgo Panigale / Vimercate, 24th May 2022 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/- SAP and Ducati today announce a global collaboration, that sees the Italian motorcycle manufacturer choose RISE with SAP to enable an important business transformation, covering key business processes.

The collaboration is underpinned by a shared desire to improve and enrich the experiences of passionate Ducati customers through innovation excellence and cutting-edge products and services.

Technology and innovation are essential elements in Ducati’s DNA. With SAP, the Italian company aims to be at the forefront, and its intent is to create an intelligent business network with suppliers and partners, extending the digitalization of processes and enhancing the accuracy and timeliness of information. These are necessary steps as Ducati puts passionate customers at the center of its business, and to respond effectively and efficiently to an increasingly complex global supply system.  

To achieve these goals, Ducati will also adopt the SAP Commerce Cloud solution for Ducati’s online business management and SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP) for agile supply chain planning, that will lead to an extended and integrated digital supply chain.

“Our passionate customers have always been at the center of the company strategy, and we try to offer them the best possible experience in the world of two wheels. We rely heavily on innovation and technology to be at the forefront of our business processes, given our focus on product development, “said Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati. “Supply chains are increasingly complex and have been subject to transformation in recent years. Having a partner like SAP at our side will allow Ducati to make the supply chain even more flexible, reactive and integrated, connecting the needs of the “Ducatisti” better and better to the logic of supply and production”.

“The Ducati brand is synonymous with excellence and is known all over the world for the quality of its products and for the competitiveness it expresses in every race. Ducati has the highest standards for their Customer’s Experience and operates a sophisticated Supply Chain, therefore end-to-end process integration and high availability are essential. By combining our strengths and bringing all our innovative know-how with CX, Supply Chain and RISE with SAP, we could not be prouder to be on this business transformation journey together. Customer Experience today represents everything, and Ducati wants to put CX even more at the center of its operations”, commented Emmanuel Raptopoulos, President, EMEA South SAP. “Working alongside Ducati in the MotoGP world championship as Official Partner of the Ducati Lenovo Team is a tremendous honor for SAP. The power and excellence of Ducati motorcycles, combined with the best of SAP innovation, are a winning combination”.

The collaboration between the two companies also extends to the world of racing, an area in which technological development and innovation have always been driven to excellence. SAP joins the Official Partners of the Ducati Lenovo Team in MotoGP for the 2022 season.

Ducati images are available at this link till June 6th, 2022

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of SAP Africa.

Visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @SAPNews.

Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. – A Sole Shareholder Company – A Company subject to the Management and Coordination activities of AUDI AG

Founded in 1926, since 1946 Ducati has been manufacturing sport-inspired motorcycles characterised by high-performance engines, innovative design and cutting-edge technology. Ducati factory is located in Bologna’s Borgo Panigale district. The model range covers several market segments with the following families: DesertX, Diavel, XDiavel, Hypermotard, Monster, Multistrada, Panigale, Streetfighter, SuperSport. In 2015, Ducati presented the Ducati Scrambler: a new brand made of bikes, accessories and apparel that that stands out for its creativity and self-expression. In 2020, Ducati unveiled the Multistrada V4, the world’s first motorcycle equipped with front and rear radar, which with its technology marks a new milestone for the world of two wheels. Ducati iconic motorcycles, together with an extensive range of bike accessories and technical and lifestyle apparel, are distributed in 90 countries worldwide. In 2021, Ducati delivered 59.447 bikes to customers. Ducati competes in both MotoGP and Superbike World Championships. The Company has been racing in the MotoGP category since 2003 and has won the Constructors’ World Title in 2007, 2020 and 2021 and the Teams’ World Title in 2007 and 2021. Furthermore, Ducati was World Champion in the 2007 season, winning also the Riders’ Title. In Superbike, Ducati has won 17 Manufacturer’s Titles and 14 Rider’s Titles.

About SAP 

SAP’s strategy is to help every business run as an intelligent, sustainable enterprise. As a market leader in enterprise application software, we help companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: SAP customers generate 87% of total global commerce. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables business and public customers across 25 industries globally to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com.   

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Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

The State of the Debate on Technology and the Future of Work in Africa


Work culture has come a long way from the rhythmic thumping keystrokes of a typewriter to obtaining real-time notifications with a press of the keyboard.

According to history, the entrance of technology into the workplace began with wheels and sails. People were able to travel to distant locations and across the blue hinterlands due to this.

Technology’s roots have penetrated even deeper into our working lives, and we have been obliged to adapt. Because of this radical shift, Millennials and Gen Z employees who make up much of the modern workplace have been influenced by the steady influx of innovative technology. Because of this, there has been a transformation in human work.

The emergence of “The Remote Workers” and “Telecommuters” was aided by this technology. With the advent of cloud-based tools and technology, one’s work environment is no longer restricted to an office. Professionals can now participate in office activities via the internet from anywhere they wish.

Fast-tracking to last year, tele-everything had been the standard. Going digital has opened up chances in education, work, and commerce.

The apparent drivers were work from home and the demand for remote learning. The global Covid 19 outbreak sparked this rapid advancement. According to market tracker International Data Corp, this saw sales of laptop and desktop computers hit 302 million in 2020, a 13 per cent increase from the previous year and the largest since 2014.

Lenovo, a Chinese IT behemoth, dominated the market with a 24 per cent share, followed by two American companies. HP and Dell.

Sales would have been considerably higher if certain PC manufacturers hadn’t had shortages of crucial components, particularly processor chips, as facilities in Asia shut down because of the epidemic.

These advancements have brought delight to individuals who could work from home. Thanks to enhanced video technology and the internet of things (IoT) in Africa and grief to those who have lost their jobs due to advanced robotics.

Technological innovation has been one of the primary drivers of economic growth and development since the birth of the steam engine and electricity. The Fourth i\ndustrial \revoution is formally here, but the big question is: “What can 4IR technology accomplish for Africa?”

In other words, the question for a business or farm owner or operator would not be “What about robots?” but will be, “What is my present productivity issue, and will using this technology gives a quick and particular solution to this issue?”

From this perspective, it will be exciting to mention to a farmer that the potential of 4IR technology will help farms in Africa reduce production costs, grow their markets through productivity improvements, and increase employment and earnings.

Examining the African labour market’s future shows that technology will play an important role. As a result, the sooner we prepare for it, the better. The most difficult pill to swallow is that technology will replace many aspects of the workplace, which means that some people will likely lose their employment.

As we move in that direction, how we protect ourselves from the shock will be critical. Meanwhile, acquiring the necessary skills will prepare us to run cutting-edge technology as it develops.

The ray of hope is that politicians are becoming more aware of the potential here.
Their primary focus is on the role of research and technology in accomplishing national development objectives.

Investment in research, science, and technology will skyrocket across the continent as human talent develops.

This includes manufacturing, which will play a key role in assisting Africa’s growth.
IT will reduce income and welfare disparities in the community.

Indeed, by 2050, Africa’s business-to-business manufacturing spending is expected to surpass $1 trillion, presenting a massive opportunity for the continent’s overall growth.

Also, Creating an ecosystem in which scientific culture may be at the centre of economic transformation, and governmental decisions is a long-term investment that cannot be influenced by political or business cycles.

Practical tripartite cooperation and partnerships will be required for success, and they must be maintained throughout time.

Suppose Africa can accomplish this in the African Continental Free Trade Area era. In that case, science, technology, and innovation can be harnessed for better economic, social, and environmental sustainability on the continent and beyond.

In a nutshell, “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.”

Middle East and North Africa: addressing highest rates of youth unemployment in the world

NEW YORK, USA, 24 May 2022 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/-More than 33 million new jobs need to be created by 2030 in the Middle East and North Africa region by 2030, if the world’s largest unemployment hot spot is to be substantially improved, four United Nations agencies said on Monday.

The joint-release by the UN labour agency, ILO, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was issued ahead of a two-day meeting in Amman, Jordan, aiming to address the youth transition from learning, to work, a key priority for adolescents and young people across the vast predominantly Arabic-speaking region.

Exchange good practices

The high-level regional meeting on Young People’s Learning, Skilling, Inclusion and Work, runs for two days, bringing together government officials from key sectors, the private sector, and the UN, in dialogue with young people themselves to enable an exchange of good practices.

“Current education systems and curricula do not match the evolving labour market and the changing nature of work. They do not provide young people with enough skills, critical to success in today’s economy”, the statement said.

Skills such as communication, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving and cooperation, are lacking in the skillsets of many young people.

According to the agencies, “healthy, skilled educated adolescents and youth can drive positive change towards a world fit for them that promotes and protects their rights”.

Inequalities and vulnerable contexts

Young people continue to face a host of challenges in the region – especially those living in poverty or in rural areas; refugees, displaced, migrants, girls and young women; and people with disabilities; who are more likely to be out of school and left behind.

According to UN data, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the region already had more than 14 million children out of school and one of the lowest rates of return to education in the world. Furthermore, the pandemic has deepened the education crisis and widened existing inequalities.

Unemployment stunts potential

Youth unemployment in those countries is almost twice as high as the world average, and has grown 2.5 times faster than world average between 2010 and 2021.

These numbers represent a significant drain on the economic potential of the region. To reduce the overall unemployment rate to 5 per cent and to be able to absorb the large number of young people entering the workforce and stabilize youth unemployment, the region needs to create more than 33.3 million new jobs by 2030.

Worldwide, the recovery of the global jobs market is also going into reverse, ILO, said on Monday, blaming COVID and “other multiple crises” that have increased inequalities within and between countries.

According to its latest update on the world of work, there are 112 million fewer full-time jobs today than there were before the pandemic.

Expected outcomes

The regional meeting aims to address the means of strengthening links between learning and the labour market.

These include enhancing education systems – including skilling and technical and vocational education and training – strengthening links between learning and the labour market; enhancing policies, and exploring opportunities with the private sector to create jobs and support youth entrepreneurship.

“Young people need life skills education to help them explore and nurture positive values regarding their health, rights, families, relationships, gender roles and equality, and empower them to shape their lives and make informed decisions about their reproductive life”, the agencies highlighted.

The event will provide recommendations from the Arab States / Middle East and North Africa Region to the upcoming UN Secretary General’s Global Summit on Transforming Education in September 2022.

Distributed by African Media Agency on behalf of UN News

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Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

Nigeria and the battle against Malaria: the way Forward


Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is, however, preventable and curable.

In Nigeria, malaria has become the number one health problem as it accounts for about 30% of deaths in children under five and 25% of deaths in infants and 11% of maternal mortality.

It also accounts for over 40 per cent of the total monthly corrective healthcare costs incurred by households.

On average, members of a typical Nigerian home treat malaria at least once a month.

Although malaria is known to be life-threatening, most Nigerians have lived with it and accepted it as a norm. The risk of malaria has become too high for many based on most people’s environment that they cannot help.

For instance, a stagnant pool of water with different insects beside non-flowing drainages ushers you into a typical street in most neighbourhoods across Nigeria where the masses live and make their livelihood.

This environment presents them with little or no options than the exposure to various ailments and diseases such as malaria, over which they have no control due to their poverty level.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), in its World Malaria 2021 report, showed that Nigeria was top on the list for Africa, accounting for 27 per cent of malaria cases in 2020, while it was also among the six countries that accounted for 55 per cent of all cases globally.

With such a vast number of malaria cases in the country, Nigeria is prone to, among other things, a reduced level of development because, as the saying goes, Health is wealth; hence diseases and ailments are significant challenges to the nation as it impedes human development.

Does it then mean government and the people are not doing anything?

The opposite is the case, as the government is at the forefront of ensuring that the country becomes malaria-free.

However, it is impaired by some challenges, some of which are artificial and self-inflicted, which have delayed the desired result of achieving a malaria-free society.

Health experts in the country have identified governments’ lack of capacity and political will for sustainability approaches as the main obstacle to tackling the country’s malaria burden.

WHO, in its 2021 report, also identified six significant challenges hindering Nigeria from reaching a zero malaria status such as poverty, drug resistance and treatment failure, insecticide resistance, lack of sensitive field tests that can detect low levels of parasitemia, global warming and climate change as well as sustainable funds.

What is the way forward for Nigeria to attain zero malaria status?

As the famous saying goes, “Nothing good comes easy”, so a lot needs to be done on time to attain that status.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at this year’s World Malaria Day with the National Slogan “Every effort counts”, said, “For a malaria-free Nigeria, let each of us play our parts because every effort counts.”

Beyond the rhetorics, the government needs to demonstrate more commitment to the fight against malaria by committing more funds for malaria control and tackling it aggressively as it had done with other diseases such as polio.

It must also restructure and strengthen the country’s health systems to be able to face the challenges that come with eliminating malaria.

Doing that will involve providing adequate diagnostic testing infrastructure and capacity, which comes with prompt treatment with effective medicines.

Primary health care centres should be given priority in the fight against malaria by equipping them well so that the most sensitive tests can be identified and made available in health care facilities.

Equipping the health centres must also involve providing approved and effective drugs that are most available for treatment. These drugs must also be accessible and affordable for all, while special attention must be given to children, pregnant women and other vulnerable groups.

In addition to all of these at the Primary Health Care centres, there must be an effective monitoring and evaluating system to give correct details and data of happenings as it affects the course of fighting malaria.

All these will take commitment from the federal level down to the local authorities and other relevant stakeholders, as the government alone can not do this.

True to the words that “every effort counts”, it has become necessary for stakeholders in the private sector to partner with the government to ensure that recommendations suggested by the WHO are adopted in Nigeria.

Such partnerships are needed to effectively strengthen the country’s use of the “Vector Control Method”, one of the recommendations by the WHO. The “Vector control method” are protective measures like the use of insecticide-treated materials such as the Long-Lasting Insecticide-treated Nets
and spraying of insecticide.

This method has proven to be effective in some other countries which are now malaria-free though it might come in quite expensive given the population in Nigeria.

Hence, there is the need for partnerships by all stakeholders – government, Non- governmental organisations( NGOs), local authorities, the private sector and others to raise the funds needed to reach the targeted population and have maximum effect.

Also, a lot needs to be put in place to tackle environmental issues to control mosquito breeding sites which have become the norm in every nook and crannies of the country.

To achieve this, the government needs to provide the proper infrastructure like good drainages, good roads and potable water to reduce the need for water storage.

Community-based interventions in the form of awareness of the importance of good water sanitation and good hygiene should also be encouraged as these will help control malaria.

At the same time, health workers and environmental workers should also be equipped to monitor effectively.

As emphasised, attaining a malaria-free nation in Nigeria is achievable. Still, it will take the collective efforts of the government, the private sector, and individuals to work hand in hand to ensure the battle is won.

COVID-19 pandemic not over, WHO warn


The Covid-19 pandemic is “most certainly not over”, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned, despite a decline in reported cases since the peak of the Omicron wave.

The UN health agency’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told officials gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, to open the WHO’s annual meeting that “we lower our guard at our peril”.

He said, “declining testing and sequencing means we are blinding ourselves to the evolution of the virus” and noted that almost one billion people in lower-income countries had still not been vaccinated.

In a weekly report on the global situation on Thursday, the WHO said the number of new Covid-19 cases appeared to have stabilised after weeks of decline since late March, while the overall number of weekly deaths had dropped.

While there had been progress with 60% of the world’s population vaccinated, “it’s not over anywhere until it’s over everywhere”, Dr Tedros said.

“Reported cases are increasing in almost 70 countries in all regions, and this in a world in which testing rates have plummeted,” he added.

He said that reported deaths were rising in Africa, the continent with the lowest vaccination coverage, and only 57 countries — almost all of them wealthy — had vaccinated 70% of their people.

While the world’s vaccine supply had improved, there was “insufficient political commitment to roll out vaccines” in some countries and gaps in “operational or financial capacity” in others.

“We see vaccine hesitancy driven by misinformation and disinformation,” Dr Tedros said.

“The pandemic will not magically disappear, but we can end it.”

Dr Tedros is expected to be appointed for a second five-year term this week at the World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of the WHO’s member countries.

Hundreds evacuated amid renewed flooding in South Africa’s coastal province

coastal province

Hundreds of people have been evacuated to safety after heavy rains once again hammered South Africa’s coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal, flooding roads and houses and damaging properties, a government official said on Sunday.

The province is still restoring damaged infrastructure and making plans to re-home people displaced after the flooding last month, which was among the worst to have affected KwaZulu-Natal province in its recorded history. April’s floods killed 448, with 88 still missing, left more than 6,800 homeless and damaged more than 25 billion rand ($1.58 billion) of infrastructure.

The province had received early warnings from the South Africa Weather Service, alerting it to further disruptive rainfall on Saturday in a number of towns, including Durban, the worst hit by the previous floods.

“So far the greatest impact is expected along with the coastal and north-eastern parts of KwaZulu-Natal,” Sipho Hlomuka, member of the executive council for Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs told journalists.

He said approximately 250 people had been evacuated from care centres in Tongaat and Tehuise in Durban, including retirement villages, to other facilities. Only one family was evacuated due to the collapse of an informal dwelling.

“This heavy rainfall has resulted in the flooding of roads, human settlements and damage to properties. We understand that some areas are inaccessible and have become islands at this stage,” he said, adding they had yet to receive a full report on the impact of the latest heavy rains.

Rainfall persisted on Sunday in some parts of KwaZulu-Natal, the South Africa Weather Service said, as the alert level remained at the highest and most severe level of 10.

Scientists believe the southeastern coast of Africa is becoming more vulnerable to violent storms and floods as human emissions of heat-trapping gases cause the Indian Ocean to warm. They expect the trend to worsen dramatically in the coming decades.

Nigeria plans healthcare funds for poor without schemes


Nigeria plans to set up a healthcare fund to cover up to 83 million poor people who cannot afford premiums for insurance schemes, President Muhammadu Buhari said at the signing of a universal health coverage law.

With its 200 million population, Nigeria is struggling to reform its healthcare to improve the sector. Still, funding has been a significant constraint coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic that has stretched its inadequate workforce.

The West African country has 0.4 doctors per 1,000 people, as per World Bank’s latest data, less than the global average of 1.8 doctors. It also has a fledgling health insurance sector which has struggled to increase enrollees.

Buhari on Thursday signed a National Health Insurance Authority Bill into law seeking to provide universal healthcare access, his office said in a statement.

Analysts have questioned where funding for the new law will come from. Nigeria has struggled to fund its large budget deficit as spending ballooned with subsidies on imported petrol and debt service, which has taken up the bulk of government revenue.

“For the large number of vulnerable individuals who cannot pay health insurance premiums, a vulnerable group fund will be set up,” Buhari said.

The fund will have a basic healthcare provision fund, health insurance levy, special intervention fund, and any investment proceeds, donations and gifts to the health authority, Buhari added.

Africa’s most populous country faces a shrinking labour market, double-digit inflation and low growth in the face of mounting insecurity. So far, schemes have been funded mainly by contributions from millions working for the government or big companies.

But analysts say there are untapped opportunities in the informal sector, adding that the schemes needed to overcome challenges associated with healthcare pricing and reimbursements to hospitals and patients to make a profit.