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Biomass Industry Group hosts first technology demonstration day

Biomass Industry Group hosts first technology demonstration day

In its joint efforts to showcase the present solutions to the bush encroachment problem in the country and take the biomass industry forward, the Namibia Biomass Industry Group (N-BiG) organised the first ever demonstration day for the public and key role players in the biomass sector last week at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) outside Otjiwarongo.

The event was attended by over 400 people and comprised a diverse group of representatives from the biomass sector including harvesters, producers, communal farmers, commercial farmers, members of the public, mature and young entrepreneurs.

“The aim of this gathering is to support improved linkages among those with the biomass and entrepreneurs offering the services and technologies in Namibia as well as in neighbouring countries,” said Progress Kashandula, General Manager at the De-bushing Advisory Service (DAS) during his welcoming remarks at the opening of the event.

Kashandula further said that it was encouraging to see that some farmers’ cooperatives and farmers’ association were so eager to learn from this event that they travelled to the CCF and camped from the early morning hours until the gates opened.

“We are encouraged to see this commitment and demand for knowledge from our communal farmers,” he added.

The full day of technology demonstrations showcased over 33 technologies from 29 exhibitors and over 15 live demonstrations.

These demonstrations and exhibitions included technology for bush-to-animal feed, firewood, woodchips, retort charcoal, compressed firewood, manual harvesting, semi-mechanized harvesting, fully-mechanized harvesting and drones. The live demonstrations were pragmatic as farmers preferred seeing the demonstrations in real life.

“One truth in Namibia is that seeing is believing. Many farmers see brochures and videos but they do not believe it until they can see it in action. That is what this event is about, we tried to bring together the farmers, SMEs and entrepreneurs to dispose of the brochures and sales talks to see the equipment in action for themselves,” said the General Manager of N-BiG, Colin Lindeque.

Mr Waldheim, a farmer from Epukiro, confirmed that the day exposed him to the variety of machinery available in the country for producing animal feed from encroacher bush.

“We as farmers heard about this open day from DAS when they came to visit our community and share information about the economic opportunities of bush encroachment for us as communal farmers – but being here to see the machines in action has given me a better idea about what I can do about this problem and also make profit,” he added.

Vemuna Hengari and Kamaheke Kahuure farming in Omaheke Region said that the technologies for harvesting, making charcoal and biochar were most informative for them.

“We are already going to start making small changes when we get back to the farm for how we cut the fire paths on our land based on what we learned here today. We also saw the different types of kilns and retorts for making charcoal, the event showed us many possibilities and we’ll be back next year,” they added.

For young Namibian academics, the day also provided a platform to exhibit their research projects, one of which proposes a hydraulic cutter for Namibia-specific species of encroacher bush.

“Being here was a great experience because at the end of the day people started showing interest in our project and giving us their expert knowledge, ideas and advice. The exchange with them will contribute to further research and this platform was also useful for me as a student because it showed me that I am really making a difference and that our research is very important to our country to solve our own problems,” explained a student from the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).

The event will be a regular feature in annual calendar and Willem Groenewald, a member of the NCA with over twenty years of experience in de-bushing, welcomed this as he said the event opens up many avenues for the sector to become better organised.

“I see that the main bush-based value chains for Namibia to develop are the two for charcoal production and bush to animal feed. This type of annual event adds so much value to the biomass sector overall at this moment in time and going forward because we as the stakeholders need to take more ownership of growing the industry,” he added.

The main sponsors of the event were the Cheetah Conservation Fund, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Theo’s SPAR, Tops! at SPAR, and Paratus.

Namibia faces significant challenges from bush encroached land with estimates of 45 million hectares affected by this national phenomenon and turning this challenge into an opportunity requires innovation and partnership.


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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

Promotion

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.