Covid-19 vaccine boost: Billionaire Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong to invest in Botswana

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  • Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong is due to establish biological manufacturing technology for Covid-19 and cancer vaccines in Botswana.
  • Botswana is touted as an investor-friendly country for its ease of doing business.
  • The country is on a mission to lure investors in the technology sector to achieve its Fourth Industrial Revolution Digital Transformation Strategy (SmartBots) target.

South African-born billionaire Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong looks set to establish a Covid-19 and cancer vaccine centre in "investor-friendly" Botswana.

This was announced by Gaborone after Soon-Shiong and Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will, among other things, "initiate the transfer of biological manufacturing technology for Covid-19 and cancer vaccines and next-generation cell-based immunotherapies".

Soon-Shiong, the founder of NantWorks, a California-based network of healthcare, biotech and artificial intelligence start-ups, will also invest in public health and science through his company.

He has set his sights on sustainable water generation at Lobu Farm and the Maun Science Park. If the MOU is fulfilled, it could become one of the biggest foreign direct investment achievements in Masisi's first term.

Patrick Soon-Shiong. (Darren McCollester, AFP)
AFP

The Botswana Presidency said Soon-Shiong first showed interest in investing in Botswana during Masisi's visit to California in September 2021. From Botswana, NantWorks will map its offensive into Africa.

"Dr Soon-Shiong and NantWorks have identified Botswana as an investor-friendly country in which they would wish to engage and operate from, as a gateway to reaching regional and continental markets. They also recognise the government's sustained efforts to building strong relationships between the public sector, industry, civil society and the research community in order to shift government transformation and creating a conducive environment to ease doing business," read a joint statement.

Botswana is on a mission to lure international investors in the technology sector to achieve its Fourth Industrial Revolution Digital Transformation Strategy (SmartBots).

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.


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