Patrick Soon-Shiong seeks to position southern Africa as nexus of development on continent

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South African-born businessman Patrick Soon-Shiong. Photo: Bloomberg
South African-born businessman Patrick Soon-Shiong. Photo: Bloomberg
  • Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong says he is bringing technology home.
  • He adds Botswana should be the nexus for Africa. 
  • Soon Shiong showed interest in investing in Botswana during President Mokgweetsi Masisi's visit to California in September this year.

South African-born billionaire businessman and scientist Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong says he is going to use what he learnt in the US to make southern Africa the nexus of development in Africa.

Speaking to journalists in Botswana after meeting that country's president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, he said: "My reason I'm here is because I'm an African. I was born in South Africa, I had the privilege of learning all the techniques and know-how of how to develop biotechnology drugs in America.

"My mission now is to bring it home. So, with Botswana taking a lead with its people, and the lead to be the nexus for the whole of Africa, I'm honoured to be here to help the country."

Soon-Shiong arrived in Botswana on Thursday from South Africa where he opened a Covid-19 vaccine plant in Cape Town.

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The plant, run by his NantSA company, will seek to improve the continent's vaccine rollout. It will also work on cancer, TB and HIV vaccines, and has the capacity to produced a billion vaccines annually.

According to the Botswana government, Soon-Shiong also visited the Botswana Digital and Innovation Hub (BDIH).

He first showed an interest in investing in Botswana during Masisi's visit to California in September last year.

Soon-Shiong, 69, is the inventor of the drug Abraxane, known for its efficacy against lung, breast, and pancreatic cancer.

His company, NantWorks, is an eclectic network of healthcare, biotech, and artificial intelligence startups.

Forbes estimates him to be worth more than R176 billion.

- 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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