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Animal disease experts from Africa get specialist training

Animal disease experts from Africa get specialist training

Nearly 200 veterinary epidemiologists in Africa are undergoing training intended to help them effectively combat animal diseases at grassroots level, through the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s In-Service Applied Veterinary Epidemiology (ISAVET) training programme in Uganda.

The programme kicked off on 30 October with an initial intake of 60 participants for the first 12-month training phase; another 120 vets would participate in 2019, according to a statement.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said the ISAVET programme was being presented in partnership with Texas A&M University to build the participants’ capacity to handle local challenges, as well as transboundary animal diseases.

FAO’s Emergency Centre or Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) was leading the development of the curriculum in collaboration with Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVM).

Chief veterinary officer of the FAO, Juan Lubroth, said they believed the training programme was a good model that could be adopted and expanded further by local and continental veterinary institutions.

“What is important here is that it is based on practical, applied issues relevant to the country, where one ‘learns by doing’,” he said.

President of the SA Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (SASVEPM), Dr Krpasha Govindasamy, confirmed that no South African veterinarians were participating at present.

She said it appeared the training was being driven by a specific FAO regional centre and was currently focussed on participants from non-SADC countries.

She said there was definitely a need in the Southern African region, including South Africa, for the type of in-service training provided by programmes such as ISAVET.

Dr Govindasamy said veterinary epidemiologists played an important role in monitoring herd or flock health and identifying risk factors. She urged farmers to improve the utilisation of their services.

“At the moment, the veterinary epidemiologist is a very underutilised gift to the farmer and to the bigger livestock production system,” she said.

About The Author

Donald Matthys

Donald Matthys has been part of the media fraternity since 2015. He has been working at the Namibia Economist for the past three years mainly covering business, tourism and agriculture. Donald occasionally refers to himself as a theatre maker and has staged two theatre plays so far. Follow him on twitter at @zuleitmatthys

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.