Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Israeli researchers have discovered a method to rejuvenate the kidneys, which has the potential to eliminate the need for dialysis in the future, Israel’s Sheba Medical Center said on Wednesday.

In a study published in the journal Cell Reports, researchers from the center showed that it is possible to rejuvenate the kidneys and improve their function using the patient’s own stem cells.

Previously, it was found that the adult kidney can constantly renew itself over time through the activity of colonies of cells that function to replace lost and degenerated cells in the kidney.

In the current study, the team developed a new technology that allows the extraction of such healthy kidney cells from diseased kidneys.

These cells are expanded into large numbers within a laboratory environment, and by generation of three-dimensional cultures called `kidney spheres’, they show improved function to generate new kidney tissue and replace lost cells.

The cells are administered into the kidney, allowing them to rebuild it, positively influence neighboring cells and improve the kidney’s function.

Because the newly developed technology relies on the patient’s own cells, it circumvents problems associated with immune rejection.

This treatment, successfully tested on mice, resulted in improved renal function in the treated mice.

The results are expected to be further studied in clinical trials in patients with renal failure.

Published in World

Transactions estimated to be well over N108.427 trillion were consummated across the instant payment and the Point of Sales (POS) platforms in the country in 2019, latest data from the Nigerian Interbank Settlement Scheme (NIBSS) has confirmed.

The figure, when set beside the N82.746 trillion posted in 2018, represents a 31% increase year on year. Put differently, Nigerians are conducting more transactions via the two electronic channels than before.

Of the N108.427 trillion recorded in 2019, instant payments accounted for N105.223 trillion or more than 97% while POS transactions constituted the rest N3.205 trillion.

Total transaction volume across both platforms stood at over 1.584 billion in the year under review compared to more than 1.015 billion recorded in 2018, a 56% growth as a matter of fact. By implication, it is probable that more Nigerians are embracing the two electronic payment options.

While 1.146 billion transactions were executed through the NIP, 438.614 million deals were carried out via the POS.

The NIBSS report indicates that value of NIP transactions soared from N80.423 trillion in 2018 to N105.223 trillion last year. It means that value of NIP transactions grew by about 31% in just one year.

In volume terms, about 1.146 billion transactions were consummated using the NIP in 2019 compared to 729 million deals recorded in the year before, translating to 57% leap.

Total POS transaction value surged from N2.323 trillion as of end of 2018 to N3.205 trillion in the corresponding period of 2019, representing a 38% rise.

Total transaction volume via the POS in 2019 stood at 438.614 billion, up from 285.887 billion in 2018.

Understandably, December was the peak month for NIP volume, NIP value, POS volume and POS value with 126.567 billion, N10.737 trillion, 46.138 billion and N372.687 billion recorded respectively as shoppers engaged in massive spending during the yuletide season.

The impressive growth across these parameters is an affirmation of the sustained expansion in financial inclusion in the country.

However, the biggest boost to financial inclusion in Nigeria in the year that just went by came from the unprecedented growth in mobile inter-scheme transactions (mobile transfers) via mobile devices.

This was premised on the rigorous efforts by banks to deepen mobile inter-scheme offerings among Mobile Money Operators in order to deliver quality services to teeming digitally enabled Nigerians.

According to the NIBSS report, total value of mobile money transactions ballooned dramatically from N28.136 billion in 2018 to N148.968 billion in 2019, representing over 429% rise.

Total mobile money volume skyrocketed by more than five times from 7.230 million in 2018 to 41.212 million in 2019, a massive 470% increase in just one year.

Published in Bank & Finance
Wednesday, 22 January 2020 09:45

Nestlé Nigeria relaunches Golden Morn

Nestlé Nigeria Plc on Wednesday relaunched its Golden Morn brand, a product created and produced in Nigeria by Nigerians with 100 per cent locally-sourced agricultural and packaging materials.

Speaking during the re-launch at its Agbara factory, Nestle Managing Director, Mr Mauricio Alarcon, said Nestle Golden Morn Maize was fortified with GRAINSMART in fresh new maize design with modern stand up pouch.

According to him, GRAINSMART is a unique blend of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B5, Vitamin C and Iron.

“We are committed to contributing meaningfully toward improving Nigeria’s nutrition profile and to the growth of the national economy.

“Nestle Golden Morn, a product created in Nigeria by Nigerians, is produced in Nigeria with 100 per cent locally sourced agricultural and packaging materials.

“Local sourcing is not only a smart business decision to ensure supply. It is also the right thing to do as it contributes to transforming small and medium scale businesses involved in Nestle’s value chain either directly or indirectly.

“Our business model is built on our belief that our business will only be profitable in the long term by creating value for shareholders and for the society, particularly in the communities where we operate, a concept we call Creating Shared Value (CSV),” he said.

Alarcon said that an estimated 200 million people in Africa are undernourished, a figure that had increased by almost 20 per cent since the early 1990s.

“At Nestlé, we are committed to helping to develop sustainable solutions to this menace through the inclusion if bio-fortified food crops and the fortification of our products.

“Today, over 80 per cent of Nestlé products sold in Nigeria is fortified with micronutrients, reaching 34 million households.”

Also speaking, Mr Aboubakar Coulibaly, Category Manager, Dairy, Nestle Nigeria Plc., said: “GRAINSMART is a smart blend of iron and vitamins (B1, B5 and C) specially made for cereals.

“This aids the normal release of energy in the body and contributes to mental performance and learning,” Coulibaly said.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, represented by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Mrs Karima Babangida, commended Nestle for being a key stakeholder and partner of the ministry in producing and supplying quality and nutritious products toward the reduction of malnutrition in Nigeria.

“The re-launch of Golden Morn fortified with vitamins and minerals could not have come at a better time than now.

“This is a typical private sector investment that would contribute to greatly reducing malnutrition and boosting the economy of our nation.

“The Federal Government is encouraging more private sector investment in the production and marketing of bio-fortified foods and other micronutrient-rich commodities,’’ the minister added.

Also, Dr Chris Isokpunwu, Head of Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health, commended the company for its contributions toward improving the nation’s health indices.

Nestlé Golden Morn can be eaten by all members of the family as a smart source of energy for all.

Published in Business

As the world’s dominant currency, the US dollar maintained its leading role in forex trading last year. The US dollar was on the side of 88 per cent of all trades last year, according to data gathered by LearnBonds.com.

Forex Exchange Turnover by Currencies

The turnover in the euro, the second most traded currency in the world, slightly increased to 32 per cent, revealed the 2019 Triennial Survey of Forex Exchange.

During 2019, currencies of emerging market economies boosted their share and hitting 25 per cent of total forex trading volume. The figure represents a four per cent increase over the three-year period, continuing a trend seen in previous surveys.

The Japanese yen dropped five percentage points to a 17 per cent share of global turnover, compared to 2016, but remained as the third most traded currency in the world. This fall was primarily caused by a slide in the importance of Japanese yen/US dollar trading amid lower volatility. However, dealing in other leading yen cross trading such as the Australian dollar/yen and the euro/yen increased over the last three years.

Other heavily traded currencies remained unchanged on their 2016 shares. The British pound was the fifth most traded currency in 2019 with a 13 per cent share in global forex turnover, followed by the Australian dollar, Canadian dollar and Swiss franc.

The most traded emerging market economy currency, the Chinese renminbi, didn’t lift its rank in the overall currency list and remained as the ninth most traded currency in the world. However, the total turnover in the Hong Kong dollar nearly doubled in three years. The Indian rupee, Korean won and Indonesian rupiah also positioned higher in the global ranking.

US dollar/euro Trades Account for One Quarter of Total Forex Turnover

The 2019 statistics indicate that trading the US dollar/euro currency pair made 24 per cent, or nearly one-quarter of total forex volume over the last year.

US dollar/Japanese yen trading dropped by 4.6 per cent three years to a 13.2 per cent share of global turnover. US dollar/sterling trades made around 9 per cent of forex turnover, as they had in the previous three-year survey.

The US dollar/emerging market economies currency pairing racked up the most significant increase since 2016, jumping to a 20.2 per cent share of overall forex trading volume.

Looked at by geography, the 2019 data shows that forex trading is still concentrated in the largest financial centres. The domestic currencies of US, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan were involved in nearly 80 per cent of all foreign exchange trading in 2019.

Still, the share of the forex trading taking place in the US and the leading Asian financial centres has fallen over the last three years. By contrast, the UK market rose by six percentage points hitting a 43 per cent share of global forex activity last year.

While China saw a huge 87 per cent jump in foreign exchange trading over the three-year period, ending 2019 as the eighth largest forex centre in the world.

Published in World

President Uhuru Kenyatta has secured major investment deals worth over $168 million in the ongoing UK-Africa Investment Summit in London.

The deals include job and investment opportunities in various sectors, among them housing, finance, renewables and entrepreneurship.

“The United Kingdom (UK) has a huge amount to offer ambitious African firms and we have a strong reputation for quality, integrity and reliability,” British High Commissioner Jane Marriott said in a statement.

“Today’s summit showcased to the world the best of Kenyan government, business and entrepreneurship and the partnerships today will help Kenya continue to flourish.

“We believe that a strong, diverse, accountable private sector is key to unlocking Kenya’s economic potential and creating the jobs and opportunities Kenyans tell us they want.”

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Some of the announcements made include a $38 million investment in affordable energy-efficient housing that will see the building of 10,000 low-carbon homes for rent and sale.

The deal will also see a $217 million investment by British firm Diageo in building environmentally friendly breweries in Kenya and in the wider East Africa region.

“Diageo already invested $156 million into East Africa Breweries Limited in Kisumu in 2017,” a statement from the UK Embassy in Nairobi reads.

“This investment is supporting over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs (over half for women); including recruiting 15,000 new farmers taking the total number of farmers employed in their Kenyan supply chain to 45,000.”

The inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit is aimed at rejuvenating the partnership between the UK and Africa using trade and investment to boost growth and improve the lives of the citizens of the two continents.

HISTORIC SUMMIT

The historic summit brings together at least 20 African heads of state, ambassadors, high commissioners and captains of industry.

“In 2020, the UK is the ultimate one-stop shop for the ambitious, growing international economy … Africa is the future and the UK has a huge and active role to play in that future,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in his opening remarks at the conference.

In 2018, Kenya exported 237.5 million pounds (Sh31 billion) worth of goods to the UK, with imports valued at 303.6 million pounds.

The largest taxpaying company in Kenya, Safaricom PLC, also enjoys a large UK investment from Vodacom.

According to State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena, more than 200 British companies operate in Kenya, with over three billion pounds invested in daily operations.

During the visit, President Kenyatta is expected to meet at Buckingham Palace with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate, who will represent the Queen.

 

Credit: Daily Nation

Published in Business
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