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As part of efforts to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the Moroccan government says it has kicked off its coronavirus vaccination campaign, which will primarily target health care workers, security forces and people over 75.

Morocco has one of Africa’s most advanced vaccination programs, though the continent remains well behind richer countries such as the U.S. or Britain in inoculating its citizens against the still-spreading virus.

The North African kingdom received its first shipments of vaccine doses in recent days from China’s Sinopharm and Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca. The government did not disclose how many doses it had received, but the royal palace said the country has sufficient quantities to start inoculations “in the best conditions.”

Also Read: President Magufili Warns Tanzanians against COVID-19 Vaccination

Vaccinations will be free of charge, and the Health Ministry said patients would receive two doses over 21 days.

Morocco says it will get 66 million vaccine doses, covering about 80% of its 35 million population. But supply problems at AstraZeneca, which are causing political tensions across Europe, could throw off Morocco’s plans. The country had initially pledged to roll out the vaccine last month but the first doses didn’t arrive until Friday.

The campaign is starting at a moment when confirmed virus cases are dropping, apparently because of a dip in testing. Morocco has reported more than 468,383 confirmed cases, including 8,207 deaths.

Morocco approved emergency use of the AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines earlier this month.

Sinopharm carried out tests of the vaccine in the country last year, as part of China’s global vaccine diplomacy efforts, and Morocco says it eventually plans to produce the jab locally.

The mass immunization operation will include 2,888 vaccination stations and the deployment of mobile units to factories, offices, campuses and prisons. The health ministry said it would mobilize over 12,000 health professionals as well as the military.

Separately, Morocco is among 92 low- and middle-income countries supported by COVAX, an international effort to ensure that vaccine supplies reach developing countries but that has bogged down and hasn’t started supplying any vaccines yet, according to the World Health Organization.

Cowrywise, a Nigerian digital savings and investment platform, has raised $3 million in pre-Series A funding. Quona Capital led the round as Tsadik Foundation, Gumroad CEO Sahil Lavingia, and a syndicate of Nigerian angel investors locally and in the diaspora participated. The aim of this funding is to expand its product offering, support the onboarding of more fund managers, and build out its investment management infrastructure.  Founded by Razaq Ahmed and Edward Popoola in 2017, Cowrywise gives Nigerian’s access to a range of goal-oriented savings and investment products. The startup currently has 19 different mutual funds available through its platform, which allows users to get started saving and investing

The United Nations in its latest humanitarian update said it is receiving reports of “rising hunger” in Tigray and cited a “dire lack of access to food” since many farmers in the largely agricultural region missed the harvest because of the fighting, and as “critical staff” to scale up the humanitarian response cannot access the region. “We are gravely concerned by credible reports that hundreds of thousands of people may starve to death if urgent humanitarian assistance is not mobilized immediately,” the statement said. The US is also seeking an immediate end to the fighting in Tigray and “full, safe and

At least nine people died on Saturday after Tropical Cyclone Eloise hit Mozambique in Africa's southeast, bringing rain and powerful winds of up to 160km/h (100mph). Preliminary reports from the government indicate that nearly 7,000 people have been displaced and more than 5,000 houses have been destroyed, damaged or flooded, mainly in Buzi, Dondo, Nhamatanda and Beira City. These numbers could rise in the days ahead as the full extent of the damage becomes known. More than 1,000 houses have been totally destroyed and another 3,000 badly damaged, according to Antonio Beleza, from Mozambique's National Institute for Disaster Management and Reduction. Eloise

As part of global solidarity towards building sustainable resilience against the effect of climate change in the world, especially in Africa, the African Development Bank has announced a $12.5 billion climate fund to support climate financing in Africa. President of the AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, made this announcement at the online International Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS) 2021. The Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS), which is hosted by the Netherlands, is aimed at accelerating, innovating, and scaling-up the world's efforts in adapting the global societies and economies to the inevitable effects of climate change over the coming decade. Dr. Adesina who reemphasized AfDB's commitment

New Release: The African Economic Congress 2020 Report.