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Africa MENA Press Releases

GenScript Biotech Reports First Half 2021 Results

Posts explosive growth in GCT CDMO business and strategic GCT investments

NANJING, ChinaAug. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — GenScript Biotech Corporation (HKEX: 1548.HK) (GenScript) today reported its first half 2021 financial results for the six months ended June 30. It also announced that the Group has expanded its presence in the gene and cell therapy (GCT) industry with aggressive investments.

In the first half of 2021, the Group maintained strong momentum across all business segments. Total revenue increased by 38% to USD 229.6 million, and gross profit increased by 28.1% to USD 138.6 million.

The Group’s non-cell therapy business revenue increased by 36.6% to USD 195.7 million, with gross profit of USD 104.7 million, a 23.0% YoY increase, including its GCT CDMO business’ historic breakthrough in explosive revenue growth. This built on the Group’s early investments in the field and advantages in plasmid and lentivirus R&D and manufacturing solutions. For the Group’s cell therapy business, revenue increased by 46.8% YoY to USD 33.9 million, benefitting from continued recognition of its successes and milestone investments.

As the world’s No. 1 gene synthesis supplier, GenScript has laid a strong technical foundation for its GCT business. As GenScript’s life science services and products business, biologics CDMO business, and cell therapy business are all achieving strong momentum, the Group’s is expanding its presence throughout the GCT value chain by investing aggressively.

In the first half of 2021, R&D expenses increased by 51.6% YoY to USD 175.1 million. The non-cell therapy business invested about 10% of its revenue in GMP facility construction and other infrastructure expansion. The cell therapy business spent USD154.5 million on R&D, a 52.1% YoY increase, with an investment focus on clinical studies of cilta-cel and manufacturing facilities that support the business’ ongoing clinical trials and future commercialization.

GenScript is ushering in the rise of GCT as the next biotech industry revolution, tapping into the huge potential of CRO and CDMO platforms. Over the next two to three years, the life science business and biologics CDMO business will increase their strategic investments into the field. This includes investments in GCT-related services, utilizing automation technology to upgrade production lines, and accelerate the launch of ongoing cell therapy products and R&D in new pipelines.

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Africa Asean MENA Pakistan Press Releases

Conagen Expands Natural Preservation by Fermentation

Bedford, Mass., Aug. 24, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As the “clean label” trend thrives in many consumer product categories, Massachusetts-based biotech Conagen announced the launch of a natural preservative, p-Coumaric Acid (PCA). Conagen’s PCA is made by fermentation and expands the natural preservatives offered by its commercialization partner Blue California.

The natural preservation market is driven by consumer exploration of clean-label food, beverage, personal care, and cosmetic product which do not contain artificial ingredients while still possessing extended shelf life.

In a published Mintel report Feb. 2021, U.S. Consumers were polled on relating ‘naturalness’ with ‘health, “43% of U.S. consumers have the perception that “all-natural” is an important factor when choosing healthy food and beverages.”

Food and beverage manufacturers are moving away from artificial ingredients in their processing and packaging methods. Therefore, new sources of natural preservatives, such as Conagen’s natural, fermentation-derived PCA, are ideal for brands to make a seamless change from synthetic preservation ingredients to natural ones.

“Our PCA expands the toolbox for product developers looking for a scalable, low cost-in-use, natural solution for increasing the shelf life of food without interfering with the flavor of their products,” said Conagen’s Vice President of Innovation, Dr. Casey Lippmeier.

PCA is a natural antioxidant and antimicrobial compound found in all plants, primarily peanuts, tomatoes, carrots, basil, and garlic. It is a key constituent of wine, vinegar, and honey.

Conagen produces PCA by an innovative precision fermentation process. This technology enables the cultivation of micro-organisms programmed to create sustainable, natural ingredients with high purity at a price competitive with synthetic PCA. PCA by fermentation is ideal for industrial applications as well.

“A sustainable source of PCA is also desirable as a precursor for different biopolymers and other high-tech biomaterials made with ‘green chemistry,”‘ said Lippmeier.

Green chemicals are a part of the global discussion on climate change and large chemical companies’ accelerating adoption of sustainable materials. “The novel polymers and co-polymers which can be made by fermentation-derived PCA enable the development of environmentally safer bioplastics and new applications in biomedicine,” said Lippmeier.

As an alternative to chemically synthesized compounds like bisphenol-A, PCA is a multifunctional natural and sustainable solution found in food to enable new and novel products by formulators and material scientists.

In the industrial applications space, PCA is ideal in coatings, composites, adhesives, and polymers for biomedical, transportation, aerospace, electronics, and packaging, just to name a few.

Last year, Blue California and Conagen jointly announced the commercialization of a 98% pure natural preservative, Rosavel™ rosmarinic acid, without the intensity of rosemary flavor and color as with most synthetic ingredients.  Another important natural preservative molecule derived from Conagen’s platform technologies is BC-DHQTM taxifolin, which secured GRAS status as announced last May.
About Conagen

Conagen is making the impossible possible. Our scientists and engineers use the latest synthetic biology tools to develop high-quality sustainable nature-based products through systems of manufacturing on a molecular level and fermentation basis. We focus on the bioproduction of high-value ingredients for food, nutrition, flavors and fragrances, pharmaceutical, and renewable materials industries. www.conagen.com

About Blue California

Blue California is a vertically integrated technology company providing innovative ingredient solutions to global partners. With more than 20 years of innovation success, our ingredients are used in commercial products and applications in the industries of nutrition, personal care, healthy aging and wellness, functional food and beverage, and beauty. www.bluecal-ingredients.com

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Ana Arakelian
Conagen
+1.781.271.1588
ana.arakelian@conagen.com

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Africa Press Releases South Africa

Pngme, Raises $15M Series A to Power the Future of Financial Services in Africa

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Pngme, the financial data infrastructure and machine learning-as-a-service platform, has raised a further $15 million in Series A funding as it sets out to grow its financial data platform. The round was led by Octopus Ventures and comes less than a year after its $3 million seed round.

Across the financial services sector, financial institutions and fintechs are racing to offer fully customized user experiences and financial products tailored to their customers’ needs. Pngme allows financial institutions and fintechs to collect and aggregate financial data at scale. Its mobile SDK and data processing pipelines make it easy to collect alternative financial data and unify it with other data sources to create a holistic picture of an individual’s financial behavior.

Octopus Ventures are joined by Lateral Capital, Unshackled Ventures, Raptor Group, Two Small Fish Ventures, Aruwa Capital Management, Future Africa, EchoVC, The51 and a talented group of individual angel investors including RallyCap’s Hayden Simmons, Plaid’s Dan Khan, former COO of RBC Capital Markets Richard Talbot, and Intersect VC’s Kyle Ellicott among others. 

“When we first met the team, they blew us away with a grand vision and deep understanding of the financial services challenges on the continent. The elegance of the technology solution, combined with an exceptional team and strong market traction with large institutions underlines our belief that Pngme will power the next generation of financial services in Africa.” Tosin Agbabiaka , fintech investor at Octopus Ventures 

Pngme is using the Series A to expand its executive team with the hiring of Lorraine Kageni Maina as Chief Strategy Officer and Nick Masson as Chief Technology Officer. Lorraine brings corporate experience in sub-Saharan Africa from Banking, FMCG, and Technology. Nick led large enterprise scale engineering teams at WeWork and joins Pngme with an ambitious vision to scale Pngme’s cutting edge technology.

“With this fresh injection of capital we are not only scaling up our data processing and machine learning capabilities, but also building a robust team that can deliver on our mission of financial inclusion.” Brendan Playford, CEO of Pngme

Pngme’s partners include a global credit bureau, Renmoney, Credpal, Simplefi, Kuda and other Tier 1 African Banks who use the Pngme platform and their data science services to offer data and machine learning-driven products and user experiences to their customers.

“Pngme’s infrastructure has processed billions of data points from hundreds of financial institutions across sub-Saharan Africa and we plan to double down on our Insights Library and expand our third party data connections to other markets over the next year.” Cate Rung, COO of Pngme

Press images. 
www.pngme.com
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Africa MENA Press Releases South Africa

Laserfiche Announces Spark EMEA, an Event for Business Leaders and Technologists Navigating the Future of Work

LONDON, Aug. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Laserfiche  announced today that registration is now open for Laserfiche Spark EMEA, a live video webcast showcasing product insights and strategies for driving enterprise-wide digital transformation. The leading SaaS provider of intelligent content management and business process automation is hosting a virtual event under the theme of “Ready to Reimagine,” and invites attendees to explore how organisations throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa can implement Laserfiche to transform and modernise operations. The free broadcast will air 1st September 2021.

Laserfishe Logo

“The COVID-19 crisis has re-prioritised digital transformation, compacting years of change in just several months,” said Laserfiche President Karl Chan. “Digital adoption has accelerated in every area of the enterprise, from internal operations and supply chain interaction to the customer experience. We are excited to engage with the Laserfiche EMEA community to share knowledge and experiences in using Laserfiche solutions to recover, rebuild and reimagine the enterprise.”

Laserfiche Spark EMEA will cover topics designed to equip business leaders and technologists with the knowledge necessary for the increasingly complex and rapidly changing business landscape:

  • Maintain GDPR Compliance with Confidence: GDPR has immense influence over how today’s businesses and organisations around the world manage information. Learn from Reynold Leming, chair of the Information and Records Management Society, about how you can bolster compliance efforts using Laserfiche.
  • Why the Time is Right for Cloud: Discover how your organisation can thrive with the flexibility and resiliency provided by cloud technology.
  • What You Need to Know About Hybrid: Learn why today’s organisations are integrating all kinds of cloud services into their digital ecosystem.

“As employee and customer expectations reshape the future of work, we are committed to providing enterprises with the solutions and tools to navigate new business environments,” said Laserfiche UK Business Manager Attar Naderi. “Laserfiche Spark offers members of our EMEA community insights and best practices tailored to regionally-specific experiences, with solutions that align with long-term strategies and enhance organisational agility.”

In addition to resources such as best practices, digital guides, action plans and frameworks, Laserfiche Spark attendees will also gain complimentary access to certification courses, fostering ongoing education about Laserfiche and the strategies needed to succeed in today’s increasingly digital, connected, and fast-changing workplace.

For more information and to register for Laserfiche Spark EMEA session, click here.

Notes to Editors

About Laserfiche

Laserfiche is the leading SaaS provider of intelligent content management and business process automation. Through powerful workflows, electronic forms, document management and analytics, the Laserfiche® platform accelerates how business gets done, enabling leaders to focus on growth across the enterprise.

Laserfiche pioneered the paperless office with enterprise content management. Today, Laserfiche’s cloud-first development approach incorporates innovations in machine learning and AI to enable organizations in more than 80 countries to transform into digital businesses. Customers in every industry — including government, education, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing — use Laserfiche to boost productivity, scale their business and deliver digital-first customer experiences.

Laserfiche employees in offices around the world are committed to the company’s vision of empowering customers and inspiring people to reimagine how technology can transform lives.

Connect with Laserfiche:

Laserfiche Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook

Logo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/626078/Laserfiche_Logo.jpg

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Africa MENA Press Releases

‫البنك العربي الوطني ينجز 2 مليون طلب، مما يوفر 40,000 ساعة من العمل اليدوي، مع منصة التشغيل الروبوتي للعمليات السحابية الأصلية من شركة Automation Anywhere

أدت أتمتة العمليات المصرفية التي تعمل بتقنية التشغيل الروبوتي للعمليات إلى تحسين متطلبات الامتثال والإنتاجية وخفض تكاليف التشغيل لأحد أكبر البنوك في الشرق الأوسط.

دبي، الإمارات العربية المتحدة, 24 أغسطس 2021 /PRNewswire/ — أعلنت شركة Automation Anywhere، أحد الشركات الرائدة عالميًا في تقنية Robotic Process Automation (RPA – التشغيل الروبوتي للعمليات)، مؤخرًا تعونها مع Arab National Bank (ANB – البنك العربي الوطني) لأتمتة تنفيذ عمليات البنك.

 تأسس البنك العربي الوطني (ANB) عام 1979، وهو شركة مساهمة سعودية مدرجة في البورصة ويصنف ضمن أكبر 15 بنكًا في الشرق الأوسط. يقع مقره الرئيسي في مدينة الرياض.

بدعم من شريك Automation Anywhere، وهي شركة Orion Valley، طبّق البنك العربي الوطني بأتمتة 35 عملية عمل يدوية متكررة داخل البنك باستخدام Automation 360، منصة التشغيل الروبوتي للعمليات المدعومة بالذكاء الاصطناعي الوحيدة في العالم. ينفذ الآن أكثر من 100 روبوت برمجي مهام داخل أقسام البنك من العمليات والامتثال والموارد البشرية وغيرها من الأقسام.

كما صرح عايض الزهراني، مدير العمليات التنفيذي في البنك العربي الوطني: “تعمل تقنية Automation Anywhere على تمكين مستقبل الأعمال المصرفية، من خلال السماح للمؤسسات المالية مثل مؤسستنا بتحقيق وفورات كبيرة في التكاليف، مع توفير مستويات أعلى من الإنتاجية والكفاءات. لقد نجحنا في ترحيل أكثر من 100 روبوت إلى منصة Automation 360، دون أي توقف تقريبًا، وبالتالي توفير ما يقدر بـ 40,000 ساعة من العمل اليدوي”.

يرغب البنك العربي الوطني في مواصلة تبسيط العمليات الروتينية وتحسين جودة العمل وتقليل تكاليف التشغيل المرتبطة بها. ويوفر نشر الأتمتة الذكية طريقة لتحقيق هذه الأهداف.

كما صرح ميلان شيث، نائب الرئيس التنفيذي، لمنطقة الهند والشرق الأوسط وأفريقيا في Automation Anywhere: “تحتاج البنوك والمؤسسات المالية الأخرى اليوم إلى الحفاظ على قدرتها التنافسية ولكن يجب أيضًا أن تلبي العديد من لوائح الصناعة التي تتضمن عمليات تستغرق وقتًا طويلاً للغاية وتتطلب موارد بشرية مخصصة. وفي صميم عملها، يمكن للأتمتة الذكية أتمتة العمليات التجارية العادية والمتكررة، والسماح للبنوك بالتحكم في تكاليف الامتثال، وتحسين ملفات تعريف المخاطر، وإعادة تركيز جهود موظفيها نحو الابتكار”.

يخطط البنك العربي الوطني لمواصلة تنفيذ برامج روبوت إضافية لزيادة تبسيط عمليات البنك من أجل الاستفادة من الكفاءات الإضافية الناتجة عن ذلك.

نبذة عن شركة Automation Anywhere
Automation Anywhere هي شركة عالمية رائدة في مجال أتمتة العمليات الروبوتية، حيث تمكّن العملاء من أتمتة العمليات التجارية الشاملة باستخدام روبوتات برمجية ذكية. يؤدي العمال الرقميون المدعومون بالذكاء الاصطناعي الذين يؤدون المهام المتكررة واليدوية إلى مكاسب إنتاجية هائلة، وتحسين تجربة العملاء وزيادة مشاركة الموظفين. تقدم الشركة منصة التشغيل الآلي الوحيدة في العالم التي تعتمد على السحابة المحلية والإنترنت والتي تجمع بين التشغيل الروبوتي للعمليات والذكاء الاصطناعي والتعلم الآلي والتحليلات، مما يحقق انخفاضًا كبيرًا في إجمالي تكلفة الملكية (TCO)، وارتفاع معدل الأمان، وتسريع قابلية التوسع لتفوق المنصات المتجانسة القديمة. ويعد Bot Store الخاص بالشركة أول وأكبر سوق في العالم يضم أكثر من 1,200 حل من حلول التشغيل الآلي الذكي المعدة مسبقًا. وقد نشرت شركة Automation Anywhere ما يقرب من 3 ملايين روبوتًا لدعم بعض الشركات الكبرى في العالم من جميع القطاعات في أكثر من 90 بلدًا. للمزيد من المعلومات، يمكنك زيارة www.automationanywhere.com.

تعد شركة Automation Anywhere علامة تجارية أو خدمية أو علامة تجارية أو خدمية مسجلة لصالح شركة Automation Anywhere، في الولايات المتحدة وبلدان أخرى.

الشعار – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/541440/Automation_Anywhere_Logo.jpg

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Medical

Volunteers Tackle COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in South Africa

Despite?COVID-19 vaccine being available to all South African adults, uptake remains low with just 20% of adults having received a first dose.?

The Muslim Association of South Africa is one of many groups combatting vaccine hesitancy by delivering shots to doorsteps.?

Dawn Crotz received her Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from a paramedic in the comfort of her south Johannesburg home.

While the vaccine has been available to the 64-year-old since April, Crotz said rumors about the side effects made her hesitate. But the reality of the deadly virus changed her mind.

“I decided to get it because I saw my daughter-in-law’s father got so sick he passed away,” Crotz said. “And then I thought I might also get it. I take a flu vaccine every year. I go in and I buy it and they give it to me. And then I thought, ‘No, let me do this also.’”

With South Africa’s COVID-19 death toll surpassing 79,000, volunteer health workers are scrambling to quell people’s vaccine fears.

The country’s Muslim association launched an at-home vaccination program to provide individual attention to allay concerns and to remove the barriers of traveling to a clinic.

Muhammad Varachia is one of the paramedics delivering at-home vaccine.

“I think it’s just a misconception, people reading on social media, people hearing from different people that is bad for you, that it’s man-made,” Varachia said. “How can we create a vaccine in a year, etc, etc. So, there’s a lot of hesitancy that we’ve come across, but we put their fears to bed.”

Another problem is access to transportation and basic information about how one can get the vaccine, especially among the elderly.

“The registration for vaccines are electronic,” Varachia said. “And even though you can also register at sites, you need to know where the sites are, before you can show up there.”

For some people, like 22-year-old Kurt Fischer who is quadriplegic, getting to a vaccination site is difficult both physically and mentally.

While the rest of his family had been vaccinated, his father, Kevin Fischer, said having an at-home option for his son was a game changer.

“I would have sacrificed not having it to give him my shot, if possible, that he’s, he’s first,” Fischer said. “The familiarity of being able to be in his house is a big benefit, that there’s no stress of going to a foreign venue.”

Experts said volunteer efforts are closing the gap in vaccinating more people, especially those most vulnerable.

President Cyril Ramaphosa applauded the country’s youth on Monday for rushing to sites as vaccines were made available to those as young as 18.

But experts warn that fears and other barriers still need to be addressed, or the latest uptick could fizzle out as it did among older age groups.

Source: Voice of America

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Medical

Jailed Chadian President Habre Dies in Senegal

Former Chadian president Hissene Habre, who was serving a life term in Senegal for war crimes and crimes against humanity, has died, Senegalese Justice Minister Malick Sall said Tuesday. He was 79.

“Habre is in his Lord’s hands,” Sall told the television channel TFM.

The Chadian consulate said he had died of Covid-19.

Habre, who ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990, was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at an African Union-backed trial in the Senegalese capital Dakar in 2016.

He seized power in Chad in 1982, but fled to Senegal in 1990 after he was in turn overthrown.

Habre’s rule was marked by brutal crackdowns on dissent, including alleged torture and executions of opponents.

Some 40,000 people are estimated to have been killed under his leadership of the semi-desert country.

In exile in Dakar, Habre lived a quiet life in an upmarket suburb with his wife and children.

But the former dictator — who was dubbed “Africa’s Pinochet” — was finally arrested in 2013 and tried by a special tribunal set up by the AU under a deal with Senegal.

Habre began serving his life sentence in the Cap Manuel penitentiary in Dakar.

His supporters voiced concerned for his health and pushed for more lenient detention conditions given his advanced age.

Last year, a Senegalese judge granted him a two-month furlough designed to shield him from coronavirus.

Groups representing Habre’s victims recognised his right to be treated humanely, but fiercely resisted preferential treatment for the former dictator.

‘Pitiless’

Reed Brody, a lawyer who represented Habre’s victims, said in a statement on Tuesday that he had been calling “for months” for the former dictator to be vaccinated against Covid.

AFP was unable to independently verify whether Habre had received a jab.

Brody was nonetheless withering about Habre’s legacy, saying he would “go down in history as one of the world’s most pitiless dictators.”

Habre “slaughtered his own people to seize and maintain power… burned down entire villages, sent women to serve as sexual slaves for his troops and built clandestine dungeons to inflict torture on his enemies,” Brody said.

Habre’s conviction in 2016 was seen as a turning point for pursuing rights abusers in Africa, where the International Criminal Court (ICC), located in The Hague, was becoming increasingly unpopular.

The former dictator was ordered to pay up to 30,000 euros ($33,000) to each victim who suffered rape, arbitrary detention and imprisonment during his rule, as well as to their relatives.

Source: Voice of America

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Medical

Mogadishu Suicide Bombing Kills 2, Injures 5

At least two people were killed and five wounded Thursday after a suicide bomber detonated a device inside a cafe in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, police and witnesses said.

The suicide bomber targeted a tea shop near a crowded junction in northern Mogadishu, which was reportedly frequented by members of the Somali security forces as well as civilians.

The al-Qaida-linked group Al-Shabab claimed the attack through their Shahada News Agency, according to the U.S. monitoring group SITE.

The early-evening attack, which sent debris flying outside, killed two members of the security forces and injured five people, said Mohamed Ali, a traffic policeman who was at the scene.

“Pieces of metal and destroyed plastic seats were strewn around the whole area,” said Abdukadir Sagaalle, who witnessed the aftermath.

Al-Shabab, which is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s internationally backed government, regularly attacks government and civilian targets in Mogadishu.

Last month, the jihadists claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on a crowded tea shop in Mogadishu that killed at least 10 people and wounded dozens.

The group controlled Somalia’s capital until 2011, when it was pushed out by African Union troops, but still holds territory in the countryside.

Source: Voice of America

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General

All-Female Vegan Rangers Leading Anti-Poaching in Zimbabwe

The impact of the pandemic has increased wildlife poaching around Zimbabwe’s national parks, as people who lost their jobs hunt the animals for food. To help protect the animals, anti-poaching organizations have been formed, including a squad of vegan, women rangers.

Those are recruits of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation on a drill near Mana Pools National Park, about 300 kilometers north of Harare.

Nyaradzo Auxillia Hoto has been part of this group, known as Akashinga, the Brave Ones, since it started in 2017 to fight poaching here. The 29-year-old Hoto says she does not fear poachers or wildlife.

“I am not even afraid. At first, yeah, I was a bit afraid. But now we have been taught on animal behavior and also because of time I have spent in the bush now I have experience of how to handle animals. Whenever I experience even a lion, I won’t be scared. But I would like to study more and to know more about the animals, especially the one I am protecting,” she said.

The women are well-armed, and if they encounter poachers, they detain them, and turn them over to police for prosecution.

Damien Mander, an Australian national and an Iraq war veteran, formed the Akashinga project. He says anti-poaching patrols will help preserve Africa’s wildlife, which has been under steady assault from poachers for decades.

“It was a trial in the beginning on one reserve in northern Zimbabwe, we started with 16 women protecting 90,000 acres. We now got 240 staff as part of this program. We now have eight reserves that we patrol. We are on target to have 1,000 staff by 2026,” he said.

Tinashe Farawo, spokesman of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, says the efforts of such conservation groups are helping to fight poaching in this wildlife-rich country.

“These people have been provided the much-needed resources like patrol, in terms of anti-poaching law enforcement. The same partners some give us vehicles for patrol, some give us fuel, so that we are visible on the ground, our law enforcement is always intact, our rangers are always equipped. Those are some of the problems we always face: that our national parks are in extreme weather conditions. So they need tents, sleeping bags, uniforms, boots. All those things if you put them together it means we can do wonders. Because of these activities and partnerships, we are visible on the ground and less of poaching incidences are recorded in our national parks,” said Farawo.

With more rangers coming on board, Zimbabwe hopes to eliminate poaching in its entirety, and ensure the safety of wildlife roaming the national parks.

Source: Voice of America