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Consensus institutional forecast tells southern African farmers to brace for another normal to below normal rainfall season.

Consensus institutional forecast tells southern African farmers to brace for another normal to below normal rainfall season.

Southern Africa is expected to receive erratic rainfall in the 2018/19 agricultural season, according to the latest outlook produced by regional climate experts who predict that seasonal rainfall will be “normal to below-normal” across most of the region, except for Tanzania.

The consensus forecast produced by the 22nd Southern African Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) held in Lusaka, Zambia from 22 to 24 August shows that most of the 16 countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are likely to receive “normal to below-normal” rainfall for the period October 2018 to March 2019.

The SARCOF forecast is divided into two half-seasons, from October to the end of December 2018 and from January to the end of March 2019.

The forecast shows that areas likely to receive normal to below-normal rainfall from October to December 2018 include eastern Angola, the extreme northern and southern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), western and southern Madagascar, southern Malawi, most of Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as most of Namibia and South Africa, except the western fringes of the two countries along the Atlantic coast.

Only Tanzania is forecast to receive normal to above-normal rainfall over the same period, with the north of the country expected to get above-normal to normal rainfall, indicating that there could be flooding in some parts.

The rainfall forecast does not change much during the second half of the season from January to March 2019 when most of the region is expected to receive normal to below-normal rainfall.

The areas forecast to get adequate rainfall in that period are Angola, the northern tip of Botswana, the Comoros, south-eastern DRC, northern Malawi, Madagascar, Mauritius, north-eastern Mozambique, northern Namibia, Seychelles, southern Tanzania, and the western and northern regions of Zambia.

Climate experts forecast that there is a possibility of an early onset of the 2018/19 season, a false start, which could be followed by prolonged dry spells that disturb the timing and spatial distribution of rainfall around the region. While developing this outlook, the climate scientists took into account oceanic and atmospheric factors that influence climate over southern Africa.

In particular, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is forecast as likely to shift from neutral to the warm phase referred to as El Niño during the forthcoming season.

The expected rainfall for most of SADC is forecast to be insufficient to meet the needs of the agricultural and power generation sectors.

This forecast means that the region should brace for erratic rains or even drought conditions over large portions of southern Africa, except for Tanzania and other areas predicted to have higher rainfall only in the second half-season.

The associated agricultural risks include limited water availability, poor grazing and heat stress that could affect both crops and livestock.

Based on the outlook, farmers are urged to commit portions of their cropland to medium to late maturing and high-yielding crop varieties and also stagger their planting dates. This should, however, be done in consultation with national agricultural extension and meteorological services.

With regard to water infrastructure development, SADC is investing in irrigation to enable farmers to grow crops all year round and not only depend on climatic conditions.

The Water Sector Plan of the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan contains a total of 34 infrastructure projects aimed at improving access to water in the region.

Southern African News Features are produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC). Website and Virtual Library for Southern Africa at

(Photograph of a thunder shower over central Owamboland, courtesy of the Gondwana Collection)

About The Author

SADC Correspondent

SADC correspondents are independent contributors whose work covers regional issues of southern Africa outside the immediate Namibian ambit. Ed.

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.