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ICT ministry asks rural women parli what must be done to harness the power of technology for rural communities

ICT ministry asks rural women parli what must be done to harness the power of technology for rural communities

By David Adetona.

Technology penetration in rural communities was recently assessed by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in an attempt to identify the basic need for technological enablers to improve the quality of life in rural communities.

Partnering with a group styled as the Rural Women Parliament with Male as Partners, the ministry looked in particular at the utility level of such technologies as the internet, computer usage, smartphone usage, online media, email correspondence and other digital devices. The assessment was done in response to a request from the National Council.

Officials from the ministry interviewed members of the Rural Women Parliament and their partners as a first step to drafting a needs assessment. This was done by way of a standardised questionnaire. The project was conducted under the guidance of the ministry’s Director of Audio Visual Media, Ms Roselia Penda, during a session of the Rural Women Parliament in the chambers of the National Council.

“The MICT included the assessment as a target activity for Ministerial 2019/20 annual plan implementation of the overall outcome of the Information and Communication Technology training to be conducted eventually. Therefore, the Honourables are to provide information by completing an attendance register that will be developed into skills profile for the participants, while the completed training needs questionnaire that will be analysed in order to identity and assist in creating a customize participants needs based course and scheduling of training session, as well as identification of training partners and sponsors,” she explained.

She said that the assessment was endorsement by the report of the Second Session of the fourth Rural Women Parliament with Male as Partners that was instituted and founded on the recommendation of the report of the Standing Committee on Gender, Youth and Information and Communication Technology.

The assessment was delineated and underscored from the Resolution of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), after the National Council of Namibia attendance of the 62nd United Nations Session of the CSW in New York.

“This assessment will supplement the 2011 resolution of the Status of Women which recommended that governments and parliament to involve grassroots women in social activities with the aim of empowering them to become community leaders,” said Penda.

The purpose of the Rural Women Parliament is to create a forum which offers opportunities for grassroots women and men to access information on socio-economic and political developments and to exchange experiences on how to deal with the challenges in their respective communities.

Director Penda stated that the assessment is vital because the Africa Union (AU) in 2009 declared 2010 to 2020 as Women’s Decade with special focus on ten themes that include working to achieving the education of women in the Information Communication and Technology in Africa.

In the Rural Women Parliament, each region is represented by two women and one male with the mission to create a platform where significant issues of national concern affecting women and others who reside in rural areas can be discussed by understanding parliamentary processes and practices for the implementation of AU and UN declarations.

Many of the representatives acknowledged the value of the ministry’s assessment and the open discussion on ICT, which they said will contribute to the promotion and development of grassroots communities.

They expressed the wish that training, awareness campaigns workshops, seminars, conferences and expos that educate or inform the public about the features and importance of Information and Communication Technology, should continue.

Caption: The Rural Women Parliament with Male as Partners provides local perspective on how to maintain better understanding, access and usage of Information and Communication Technology for the benefit of rural communities. The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology recently conducted a survey during a meeting of the parliament members in the chambers of the National Council. (Photograph by David Adetona).


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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.