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South Africa gets new COVID-19 vaccines, Nigerian crypto ban, the most valuable company of all time


“I’m here live, I’m not a cat,” says lawyer to the Judge after a Zoom filter mishap. 

It'll definitely take a while to get used to filters on Zoom.

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You know that feeling you get when you order something and you can’t wait for it to be delivered? Guess who’s feeling that way this week…South Africa.

So what’s the news?

The country just secured nine million doses of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine. 

Why this is relevant.

The South African government earlier bought 1.5 million AstraZeneca vaccines but early findings by scientists and researchers showed that it only offered minimal protection from infection by the new variant.

New Variant?

Yes, the 501Y.V2 variant. A variant is basically a different version of the COVID-19 virus which may directly impact the effectiveness of vaccines. 

The South African health department earlier indicated that the variant may be driving the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, as the variant spreads faster than other earlier variants of the virus.

Enter J&J 

The newly ordered vaccine has proven to be effective against the new variant. And because of that, 80,000 doses of the vaccine are due to arrive next week and 500,000 doses in the next four weeks after that. Roll-out plans have been put in place for when the first vaccine comes in. 

Just in case

Its government has also secured 12 million vaccine doses from the global COVAX facility and 20 million doses from Pfizer, which will be delivered at the end of the first quarter. 

Bird view: Africa

As vaccines are being purchased around the world, there is a huge storage challenge in Africa. This is because these vaccines have to be transported across long distances, particularly through rural areas requiring temperature regulation and long term storage. Currently, there are about 5 approved vaccines and each of these vaccines require different storage requirements to be deemed viable for treatment.

Not to worry

Innovators are slowly making it into this space. For example in South Africa, iKhaya Automation Solutions is a WHO (World Health Organization) accredited company that specializes in temperature monitoring in the rollout and storage of vaccines in the country.

Still on the Crypto ban matter

One thing that’s been recurring in the news this year has been crypto, but unlike other weeks where it’s just been about the increase or decline in the price of Bitcoin or Ethereum. This week has been focused on the ban in Nigeria.

What’s going on here

A week ago, Nigeria’s central bank asked banks and other financial institutions to close the accounts of cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. 

Banks followed up by closing the accounts of customers who have traded crypto in the past. A move that was unpopular with most Nigerians.

Next, the lawmakers

Lawmakers deliberated on the ban. The result: The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele would be invited for a session to explain the opportunities and risks of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria’s economy.

Meanwhile, in Kenya, there are rumours that the Central Bank has decided to switch to use Bitcoin as a reserve currency in order to resolve growing financial problems in the country.

Outside Africa, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that he’s partnered with rapper and Tidal boss Jay Z to invest $23.6m in Bitcoin development starting in Africa and India.

Also, Mastercard became the latest payment company to support cryptocurrencies, joining Visa, and even US traditional banks. Telsa also announced that it would accept Bitcoin in payment for its electric vehicles, after buying up $1.5 billion in the cryptocurrency.

Bottom line: The acceptance of cryptocurrencies is still being contested across Africa with time we’d see who wins - the government or crytocurrencies.

The Most valuable Company of all time 

The folks at Visual Capitalist dug into the archives of history and found that the most valuable Companies of all time was Dutch East India Company (known in Dutch as the VOC, or Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie), valued at $7.9 trillion.

The Dutch East India Company was established as a charter company in 1602 when it was granted a 21-year monopoly by the Dutch government for the spice trade in Asia. The company would eventually send over one million voyagers to Asia, which is more than the rest of Europe combined. At one point, it even had 70,000 employees – a massive accomplishment for a company born over 400 years ago. 

In today’s terms, its value is the combination of the market caps of 20 of the world’s largest companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, ExxonMobil, Berkshire Hathaway, Tencent, and Wells Fargo.

Worth reading 📚

Quote 💭

“Know that you can start late, look different, be uncertain, and still succeed.”

– Misty Copeland