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There is movement on the NSX. Wow! The economy is alive

There is movement on the NSX. Wow! The economy is alive

A series of unprecedented events unfolded in the local index of the Namibia Stock Exchange (NSX) recently. For the first time as long as I can remember, the index actually made substantial moves, both downward an upward.

In general, the local index is widely viewed as a repetitive, static measurement of an exchange where there is little activity except for deals in JSE dual-listed shares.

For the better part of twenty years, the NSX sported to very characteristic elements. First, it was obvious from the daily charts that the overall index, comprising some 36 listed entities, is basically a shadow curve of the Johannesburg Securities Exchange All-share Index (ALSI) only on a much lower scale. Second, it was equally obvious that the local index consisting of only 10 companies, was not going anywhere but up.

In the past, it often astounded me how the local index, although very static, always incrementally moved higher and when there was a slight decrease, it was very slight, and it quickly reverted to its glacial upward pace.

Local investment managers know why this is so. It is not a secret that local share liquidity is close to zero and that secondary trading was almost unheard of. For several reasons, local investors bought local shares as they became available, and then never traded them. This was in part due to compliance issues, notably the percentage of domestic assets as prescribed by Regulation 28 of the Pension Fund Act, but also because of the very limited number of truly local assets.

In many discussions, I have shared the opinion with investment managers that there are no liquid assets in the Namibian market, and this view was corroborated by every individual without exception. In the meantime, the very limited supply and the slow pace of local growth kept local share prices more or less on an even keel and year on year movement was small. Still, the odd trades at slightly higher prices, are what kept the local index on its almost flat but ever so slightly rising trajectory.

This picture has changed somewhat over the past five years with some notable listings but the bigger picture changed very little. The local index, in essence remained static, almost flat with a small upward bias for exactly the same reasons mentioned earlier.

Then in August this year, I started noticing an almost innocuous change in the pattern. First the bias shifted downward, but again ever so slightly, and then on 07 August and again on 16 August, two notable downward shifts occurred before resuming the flat line, only at a lower index value around 617.8 index points. On 05 September, only three weeks ago, there was a major downward move taking away roughly 0.8% market value in a single day.

This move drew much attention in the local investment market but hardly caused a blip outside the circle that deals in listed shares on a daily basis. And then last week Friday 21 September and again on Tuesday 25 September another notable downward shift occurred, again close to 0.8% over the two trading days. (Monday was a public holiday in South Africa so no local trading)

But the market had saved the biggest surprise for this week Wednesday when the local index “jumped” by 4.7 index points, roughly an 0.75% upward move.

At first I suspected that Bidvest was the culprit but when I checked the dates, it seemed that their share price move was history. Bidvest just sat there at N$7.77 without a single trade in months.

Huge was my surprise when I realised the only shares that traded frequently and in substantial volumes were Capricorn and FirstRand. From N$16.87 on 04 September, Capricorn has gradually traded down to N$16.24 earlier this week and FirstRand followed a similar pattern from N$44.89 early in the month to N$44.00 this week.

These are not earth-shattering moves, in fact they are tiny, but it was on the days when these two shares traded in large volumes that the local index responded so significantly downward. And this week’s upward move, was again caused by a single share, Namibia Breweries Ltd where the share price moved up by only one dollar but the volume was fairly hefty so the impact on the index was out of proportion.

This local index history of the past two month is perhaps the best quantifiable indicator of exactly how very restricted the supply of local liquid assets is, and how small share price moves have a extraordinary large effect on the market when the volumes are significant.

These up and down moves have broken the stoic pattern in the local index, but they have also shown that there can be life in local trading provided there is an ample supply of tradeable stock. It also shows me that there is life in the economy and that assets are changing hands. This is a good sign.

Henceforth, I also see a promising future for local assets but then the local companies must come to market. I am not sure precisely whose responsibility that is because there are many players involved but I believe the Ministry of Finance will not waste its energy and its resources if it starts pushing the NSX more firmly as an important agent for local assets.


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.