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Chinese bank card, UnionPay, now accepted by FNB point of sale devices and at ATM’s

Chinese bank card, UnionPay, now accepted by FNB point of sale devices and at ATM’s

The massive Chinese bank card issuer, UnionPay, has made its first foray into Namibia though the payment network of FNB Namibia. The target market is Chinese visitors to Namibia although there are some African countries where UnionPay cards are issued by local banks.

This week, FNB announced that UnionPay cards can now be used at any of their 4500 speedpoint terminals across Namibia as well as at all FNB ATMs.

Technically, the incorporation of UnionPay as an accredited bank card into local banking payment systems is not complicated since UnionPay has affiliation agreements with both MasterCard and Visa, both of which are widely used in Namibia.

FNB’s Head of Tourism and Merchant Sales, René Botes, said that UnionPay cardholders now enjoy easy, convenient and secure payment by credit card, same as all other credit card holders.

FNB sees their UnionPay link as a strategic move to make it more attractive for Chinese tourists to visit Namibia.

Namibia is the 175th country where UnionPay cards are accepted. Worldwide, about 54 million merchants of which 26 million are located outside China. UnionPay also works at ATM’s in those countries where UnionPay has affiliation agreements with local vendors.

Given its enormous number of Chinese clients, UnionPay is the third largest card issuer worldwide behind MasterCard and Visa. UnionPay’s footprint is dominant across Asia and the Middle East but it is also very active in North America and Australasia.

“At present, 50 countries and regions in Africa accept UnionPay cards, and the overall acceptance rate has reached more than 75%. Eleven countries in Africa have [the right to] issue UnionPay cards such as premium cards, business cards, and Asian travel cards, offering safe and convenient payment services to local residents in Africa”, said Mr Luping Zhang, General Manager of UnionPay International, Africa Branch.


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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.