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Women in Africa need to chain the entire continent as their marketplace

Women in Africa need to chain the entire continent as their marketplace

Women are being urged to move from having conversations about economic empowerment to radical action. This was highlighted by speakers who took part in the African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) held last week in South Africa.

Dr Ver Songwe, United Nations Under-secretary General and Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said there cannot be talk about Africa’s growth without talking about the economic empowerment of Africa’s women in the same breath.

She said that giving women in Africa back their dignity, meant ensuring that every woman in Africa had an identity, as many women’s births were never registered and they had no official identity, that women had to have access to structures to access economic empowerment, that women needed to connect as a collective to raise each other up.

“There is a new economic Pan-Africanism on the continent, we have fought for our rights, we now need to move to the economic space. This is the promise: Africa needs skill. In many of our countries, we do not have the skill required to grow. You need to claim the continent as your marketplace, the US$1.2 billion market,” she told delegates. She said more can be done, better can be done, we must ensure that it can be done together, and to take women and make them global businesses.

“These events help us to connect. We need to ask, did that help me raise another woman somewhere else? That is the power of African women. When we meet as leaders, when we meet in these groups, we need to remember that connecting is the basic human factor. We need to connect with success,” she emphasised.

She highlighted that there are 500 million African women, therefore we need to be collectively connected.

While Wendy Luhabe, Economic activist and social entrepreneur was vocal in calling for women to look at how they can use the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to put pressure on countries to include the emancipation of women in reducing trade barriers across the continent and reducing trade tariffs. “As women we need to move beyond conversations to radical action, we demand to be involved in the discussion around AfCFTA, and there is still a window of opportunity for us to be involved,” she added.

The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) annual conference took place on 29 to 30 October, for the advancement of women in African as innovators and entrepreneurs.


 

About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and is working on her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). She believes education is the greatest equalizer. She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.

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.