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What the El Nino Southern Oscillation means for us

El Nino and its driving force, the Southern Oscillation, are back in the news. Not because of their presence, but because of a possible resurgence. Should this occur, what would it mean for us?
The entire Namibia is climatically labelled as an arid country. As per this description, Namibia is the driest country in the maritime, southern hemisphere. Aridity means the deserts of the world will be found within this geographical range.
But Namibia has an identifiable rainfall season across “summer to autumn” – from January, February, March and with April as a useful addition in cooler conditions. Across the country, these four months would provide over 80% of the recorded rainfall totals, with statistics supporting those expectations across the individual stations’ rainfall history. So when any comment is made regarding weather/climate prospects for a given year, the focus will be on January to April first and foremost.
The remainder of the year has little practical meaning. This emphasizes a focus on both the overall farming/agricultural world and those who would have to support it should spasmodic rains or drought prevail.
With just over a century’s worth of daily data on hand, there is the realisation that ENSO-dominated years are drought-prone with heavier falls limited to a premium, wetter events similarly restricted or absent, the January to April range beleaguered.
The two most recent ENSO events, 2007 and 2010 for short, without the individual month range of influence, were both in the dry range. Climate change did see the northern quarter of Namibia enjoy a more ordered wet January to April range in 2010 but for the remainder (usually drier in any case) of the country, 2010 matched the dry scenario.
But elsewhere, 2010 gained another, differing aspect.
2010 saw an ENSO pattern at variance from the usual. Pressures did decrease at Tahiti, but Darwin lay for months beneath the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone. With global warming, the southern hemisphere high pressure belt lay some 10 degrees further south. There has been little change from 2008 until our present 2012 with high barometer values equally consistent. This departure from normal was frequently remarked by the Australian commentators. Australia’s calendar 2010 saw widespread rains, breaking a 6-year dry to drought-ridden sequence, also from April La Nina trends were appearing, but not in control, in the Pacific. Their move currently is to dub 2010 as La Nina year, calendar year but that is based on their local conditions in that particular year.
For Namibia, 2010 is in the ENSO stable acknowledging the drier January to April records from central and southern Namibia. The danger of reclassifying 2010 lies not in the actual rainfall but in the perception, hence in forecasts based on the weather experience of that year.
Medium term forecasts are now generally in agreement that by the second half of this year, conditions in the Pacific Ocean will have returned to ENSO neutral. The implication is that there is a 50/50 chance for the Pacific to switch to El Nino by the end of the year. El Nino means drought for southern Africa but if the definition does not comfortably fit our local conditions it might as well just mean an average year.
Currently La Nina, although weaker than last year, is still in control as witnessed by the prominent north-south-north airflow. For us the remainder of the season will not be above average but as long as ENSO conditions are not neutral (yet), rainfall can continue up to the beginning of May.

About The Author

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.