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40% of Windhoek households live in shacks

40% of Windhoek households live in shacks

The Economic Association of Namibia held a think-tank talk this week and discussed the role of over-regulation in the built environment and proposed some solutions through the discussion of case studies.

The focus was on town planning and engineering standards that are either archaic or ill-suited to facilitating the development of good, lasting urban form in Namibia.

“On the surface Windhoek appears to be a first world city,” said Urban Dynamics planner, Martin Mendelsohnon the issue of the right to urban land. Mendelsohn said that roughly 40% of households in Windhoek live in informal settlements.

With the relatively little traffic, the seemingly clean, houses that are generally in good repair, and have accesses to a high quality of services.

In part, Mendelsohn said that this is a result of the regulatory framework that guides development of Windhoek. Current regulation means that only people with access to sizeable incomes or credit are able to participate in the property market as they are the only ones who can afford to pay the high costs required.

This in turn means that a large part of the population is explicitly excluded from the right to own property. These regulations play a critical role in the continuation of spatial, economic and social segregation in Windhoek.

Progress on the development of housing is being hindered, the Economic Association of Namibia said and with access to services and the development of local economies and skills, and with that goes the stimulation of growth to allow poorer communities to improve their livelihoods.

“Current regulatory framework therefore does not allow the poor to be acknowledged, keeping them on the periphery and actively suppresses their economic and social upliftment,” Leon Barnard of Leon Barnard Architects said.

He added that the imposed set of standards can only be bypassed by those who have the resources to motivate alternative forms of development with local authorities to get concessions from punitive standards.

Often times, Barnard said as one of the speakers, the situation arises whereby it is only worthwhile to develop large pieces of land where it is feasible to undertake these negotiations and where there is some freedom to create space away from punitive regulations. These developments are generally driven by an incentive to generate profit, and therefore Barnard said can often only cater to the segment of the markets that can afford them.

The affordability, profitability, creation of ‘quality’ space and resultant demand for these developments out of the public realm is further testament to the failure of public standards, and the enforcement of these standards pushes up the costs of providing infrastructure and services for the city, contributing to a deficit that runs into the hundreds of millions.

About The Author

Freeman Ngulu

Freeman Ngulu is an Entrepreneur, into data journalism and is an aspiring content marketer. He tweets @hobameteorite.

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.