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UK trade minister meets government and private sector for smooth transition to new trade agreements between Namibia and the United Kingdom

UK trade minister meets government and private sector for smooth transition to new trade agreements between Namibia and the United Kingdom

British businessman turned politician, Lord Mark Ian Price, the United Kingdom’s Minister of State at the Department for International Trade flew into Windhoek on Thursday morning for a carousel of meetings with government officials, private companies and trade organisations. He departed back to South Africa the same evening.

On Thursday morning Lord Price met the Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Hon Immanuel Ngatjizeko (left), the Prime Minister, the Right Hon Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila (centre left) and the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Hon Peya Mushelenga (right).

Later in the day, he had meetings with representatives of the Namibia Trade Forum, the Namibian Agricultural Union, Namibia Breweries Ltd, the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, MeatCo, as well as the Chair of the Committee on Economics and Public Administration in the National Assembly, Hon Veikko Nekunci. He also had a brief talk with Suta Kavari, a member of the Economic Association of Namibia.

On Wednesday Lord Price met in Johannesburg with trade ministers of member states of the Southern African Customs Union. Included in this meeting was the High Commissioner of Mozambique to South Africa, Mr P Macaringue.

All countries in the Southern African Customs Union enjoy duty-free access for a stipulated number of commodities through the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

In anticipation of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union within the next two years, Lord Price’s whirlwind visit to southern Africa prepared the groundwork to ensure that separate trade agreements between the Southern African Customs Union and the United Kingdom are in place, once the EU SADC EPA no longer applies to Britain.

As can be seen from the trade representatives who met Lord Price in Windhoek, a significant number of Namibian companies export locally-manufactured products and agricultural commodities, duty-free, to the United Kingdom.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the ministers resolved that the transition to direct UK SACU trade agreements must be viewed as a technical exercise and not as a vehicle to renegotiate the conditions of the EU SADC EPA.


Photograph courtesy of the British High Commission in Windhoek.


 

 

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Musa Carter

Musa Carter is a long-standing freelance contributor to the editorial team and also an active reporter. He gathers and verifies factual information regarding stories through interviews, observation and research. For the digital Economist, he promotes targeted content through various social networking sites such as the Economist facebook page (/Nameconomist/) and Twitter.

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.