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Industrialisation impossible without railways

The Walvis Bay Corridor Group recently held its monthly forum, a platform where role players in both the public and private transport sectors share their plans, actions and discuss possible solutions going forward. At its latest forum, the rail network came under the spotlight as experts discussed developments.
This month’s forum was hosted in collaboration with the Ministry of Works and Transport, TransNamib, Botswana Railways and D&M Rail Construction. Several stakeholders from the public and private sector were in attendance to participate in the discussion on our rail sector.
Also speaking at the forum was TransNamib’s Acting Commercial Executive, Jason Shikalepo, who shared the Rail Operator’s key activities aimed at increasing reach and efficiency levels, addressing current bottlenecks and support of the national efforts to realize the envisaged Logistic Hub. “Action is very overdue. The rail sector is behind in this plan, but efforts are being made to rectify the situation,” he stated.
Namibia’s railway extends some 2 700 km countrywide. NDP4 requires TransNamib to double rail freight volume from a low base of 2 million tonnes per annum to 4.6 million tonnes per annum. As such, TransNamib has embarked on a number of projects to realize the objectives of the National Logistics Hub. This includes ‘bulk cargo handling’ as well as ‘infrastructure extension and upgrade’ that incorporates the Trans Kalahari Railway project.
Rail Consultant and WBCG Board member, Jack Dempsey, addressed the forum on the importance of a well developed and maintained railway infrastructure to promote regional integration. Dempsy outlined what a well developed rail infrastructure includes and detailed the current state of the Namibian Rail Network.
Stephen Makuke, the Director for Business Development at Botswana Railways noted that railways is a key component in economic development; “Without good roads and railways, industrialization is impossible”. Raising enough finance for infrastructure development is one of the key challenges facing rail. Makuke urged for smart partnerships and joint public and private investment in the development and maintenance of our rail. “This way, we will be in better shape to service trade demand,” he said.

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

Promotion

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.