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Not business as usual. Businesswomen conference equips entrepreneurs with workable solutions for growth

Not business as usual. Businesswomen conference equips entrepreneurs with workable solutions for growth

Strategies to get through the recession and continue with new vigour were at the heart of the presentations by a group of experts who helped to empower a large gathering of women in the North at last week’s 20th Economist Businesswomen Conference.

The one-day conference has evolved into a standing appointment on the northern business calendar, eagerly anticipated by the many established and aspiring female entrepreneurs who have in the past experienced the value of these intensive, hands-on training and networking sessions.

The Economist Businesswomen Conference has been conducted uninterrupted every year for the past twenty years. For the last eleven years, it has been held at Bennie’s Place in Ongwediva. Over the years it has served hundreds of delegates in their quest to start and grow their own business or to promote their career. This year, particular emphasis was placed by all the presenters on the need for streamlining, cost-cutting, customer-oriented service, innovation, and mutual support between female-owned enterprises.

The conference comprised eight technical presentations making it one of the most compact training platforms available to rural entrepreneurs. Delegates commented about the high-impact value, saying that it expanded their knowledge, assisted with self-development skills, suggested tangible strategies to survive the business downturn, added to their managerial skills, and that they found it extremely educational, inspiring and motivational.

Albertina Sumaili of Telecom Namibia brought the delegates up to speed on the latest hardware for digital connectivity. She was followed by Magreth Mengo of Standard Bank on the importance of a positive customer experience and how this grows clientèle. Next was Nangula Kauluma of FNB on leadership and resilience. Then Afra Shimming-Chase of Chase & Associates spoke on the need for sound financial management in both business and private lives.

Silas Newaka of the Namibia Business Innovation Institute rounded off the sessions before lunch emphasising the urgency to generate new business ideas, even for existing products, through a systematic innovative approach.

After lunch, Alisa Amupolo of PowerCom told the delegates about the many business apps available free of charge through the internet and how these improve an entrepreneur’s productivity.

Salmi Kaulinge then told the women about the unexpected turns in her life and how this opened up huge opportunities for herself and for the rural women who supply her with oils derived from indigenous plants.

Finally, lawyer Petrine Hango discussed the nuts and bolts of compliance and the importance of entrepreneurs to ensure their businesses are registered with the relevant authorities, and comply with all legal requirements to operate successfully as a fully legal enterprise.

The 20th Economist Businesswomen Conference was concluded with a formal banquet where conference patron, Sara Elago told the women about her own journey since becoming the first black Namibian Businesswoman of the Year in 1999. Each delegate received an attendance certificate while speakers received a recognition certificate and the sponsors had the opportunity to introduce their companies to the delegates.

Niita, a local artists entertained the delegates with her debut performance, singing popular songs as well as some she wrote herself.

The Economist Businesswomen Conference is sponsored by long-standing partners, Telecom Namibia and Standard Bank Namibia, with Coca Cola joining this year as a smaller sponsor under their global initiative to empower five million women worldwide by 2020. Another conference partner, Sure Ritz Travel, sponsored five airline return tickets from Windhoek to Ondangwa.


About The Author

Daniel Steinmann

Brief CV of Daniel Steinmann. Born 24 February 1961, Johannesburg. Educated at the University of Pretoria: BA, BA(hons), BD. Postgraduate degrees are in Philosophy and Divinity. Editor of the Namibia Economist since 1991. Daniel Steinmann has steered the Economist as editor for the past 29 years. The Economist started as a monthly free-sheet, then moved to a weekly paper edition (1996 to 2016), and on 01 December 2016 to a daily digital newspaper at It is the first Namibian newspaper to go fully digital. Daniel Steinmann is an authority on macro-economics having established a sound record of budget analysis, strategic planning and assessing the impact of policy formulation. For eight years, he hosted a weekly talk-show on NBC Radio, explaining complex economic concepts to a lay audience in a relaxed, conversational manner. He was a founding member of the Editors' Forum of Namibia. Over the years, he has mentored hundreds of journalism students as interns and as young professional jourlists. He regularly helps economics students, both graduate and post-graduate, to prepare for examinations and moderator reviews. He is the Namibian respondent for the World Economic Survey conducted every quarter for the Ifo Center for Business Cycle Analysis and Surveys at the University of Munich in Germany. He is frequently consulted by NGOs and international analysts on local economic trends and developments. Send comments to

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.