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Civil society must become more active

NECCSO Board members, Uhuru Dempers, vice chairperson of NECCSO Rauha Haufiku, deputy Minister of Education, David Namwandi and UNICEF representative Juan Espinola Ayala at the opening of the workshop on Monday.Civil society organisations operating in the education sector have been challenged to exercise a mind shift in the way they conduct their business.
The organisations met this week under the banner of the Namibia Education Coalition of Society Organisations (NECCSO) to engage and challenge civil society to explore, discuss and arrive at a shared agreement on its role in accountability and governance in the education sector.
The workshop which ended on Tuesday this week, dealt with a number of topics including, ‘Enforcing the right to quality inclusive education’ and ‘Leveraging information for accountability in the education sector’.
The two-day workshop, which was held in collaboration with The Urban Trust of Namibia (UTN) and with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) brought together representatives of civil society organisations involved in education, school boards and students’ organisations from all over Namibia.
This initiative was organised with the conviction that unless there is strong stakeholder involvement and constructive engagement between Government and civil society, it will be impossible to address the many challenges facing the education sector such as access to schools, high dropout rate, high failure rates in Grades 10 and 12, teenage pregnancies and unaffordable school development funds among many others.
In order to achieve quality inclusive education for all, stakeholders need to critically consider strategies for strengthening governance and accountability.
John Nakuta, acting director of the Human Rights and Documentation Centre, Law Faculty at the University of Namibia urged the civil society organisations to be well positioned in holding the government accountable to its promises but also to advocate for education from a rights based perspective.
He said the many challenges facing the sector today would be solved if education was treated not only as an inalienable right, but also an indispensable tool to realise all other human rights.
“Education empowers people. It can enable marginalised adults and children to lift themselves out of poverty. It is the best financial investment any nation can make,” he said.
The education sector enjoys a huge chunk of the national budget although the returns do not match the investment. Deputy Education Minister, David Namwandi, noted when he opened the workshop that recent analysis had shown that despite the substantial investment in the education sector, Namibia’s system was not competitive enough in producing desirable learning outcomes and skills commensurate to the investment committed.
“Besides, children in countries that invest much less resources in their education sector than we are, achieve better learning outcomes,” Namwandi said adding “naturally we must ask ourselves, why?”
NECCSO was established in November last year, during consultations hosted by the NANGOF Education Sector Working Group and the African Network Campaign on Education for All (ABNCEFA).
Its objectives include developing a policy advocacy agenda for civil society for the education sector, undertake policy dialogue with the government, ensure civil society is effectively represented on various government institutions and statutory bodies dealing with education as well as mobilising resources and engaging constructively with the donor community to solicit additional resources and ensuring their allocation and utilisation.

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

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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.