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Winning glory at Paralympics start career as ambassador for the Buy-a-Brick campaign

Winning glory at Paralympics start career as ambassador for the Buy-a-Brick campaign

Namibia’s Gold Paralympian, Ananias Shikongo this week becomes a Brand Ambassador for Standard Bank’s Buy-a-Brick campaign. On Thursday, he will be signing an Ambassadorial contract, officially turning him into a Buy-a-Brick ambassador. This follows the bank’s earlier announcement of purchasing a house for the Paralympian athlete.

By late 2016, a total of 55 houses were under construction through the bank’s Buy-A-Brick project, with 15 of the houses solely sponsored by the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia. So far 22 houses have been completed while the rest are making good progress with many homeowners expected to move into the new structures during the first months of this year.

One of the buy-a-Brick beneficiaries, 89-year-old Cornelia Rooi or “Ouma” as she is affectionately known, is a residents on the dunes in Rehoboth.

Ever since its inception in 2015, Standard Bank raised a total of N$1.4-million for the Shack Dwellers Federation for building new houses for the federation’s members in Rehoboth.

The bannk’s flagship Corporate Social Investment project mobilizes public and private support and contributions to alleviate the housing shortage through the symbolic sale of token bricks in the form of erasers. The proceeds from these “bricks” are then used by the federation to build affordable houses for disadvantaged Namibians. For beneficiaries like Ouma Rooi owning a decent property for the first time in her life is a valuable asset for herself and an inheritance for her family.

“My husband and my eldest son died in 1990 when they were run over by a train. It was raining heavily and neither of them saw it coming. Two more of my sons died after that and I was only left with one son and three daughters,” Ouma Rooi said last year when she learned she was approved for a new house.

The responsibilities of being the sole breadwinner fell onto her so she worked as a seamstress and domestic worker to provide for her family. Struggling to make ends meet, Ouma Rooi who has lived in a shack for as long as she can remember, thought she would never own a brick house.

“A lady approached me about the federation a while ago and urged me to join it which I did. I began donating the little I had, starting from N$5 to N$10 and eventually increased to N$100 and more. My savings within the federation began increasing, so that with their immense financial help and Standard Bank’s support, I could build my house” she said.

The Federation gives its members loans to build affordable housing with either one or two rooms, a kitchen and bathroom. Once they complete the building process, they begin repaying their loan which then helps another beneficiary, to start the same process.

“I have lived in a shack for most of my life; I never thought I would ever own a brick house. I now have something to leave behind for my children and grandchildren when I die. They will have a place to call home. The Buy-A-Brick campaign gives poor people an opportunity to own their own homes, something they would not be able to do otherwise and for that I am truly grateful. With this house I have shelter from the rain and shade from the sun,” Ouma Rooi said with a glimmer of hope in her eyes.

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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.