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Biodiversity in action

Enthusiastic participants of the National Biodiversity Action Day seen here on top of a dune with the official banner. (Photograph by Hilma Hashange)

Enthusiastic participants of the National Biodiversity Action Day seen here on top of a dune with the official banner. (Photograph by Hilma Hashange)

Last week, Namibia was one of two countries that celebrated Biodiversity Action Day. This year, the celebrations which included tours in the Namib Desert, were held at the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre situated in the Namib Naukluft Park. The theme for this year’s National Biodiversity Action Day is “Biodiversity and Climate Change.
The Biodiversity Action Day celebration is a worldwide initiative developed by GEO Magazine in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). This year the event has been organized by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, through its Department of Environmental Affairs and in collaboration with the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre.
According to the Executive Director at the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre, Dr. Gillian Maggs-Kölling, the importance of celebrating Biodiversity Action Day lies in the fact that about 70% of the population directly depends on natural resources for income, food, health, fuel and shelter. She said the basis of the Namibian economy is formed by natural resource sectors such as mining, fishing, agriculture and tourism; hence it is important for the country to participate in the global initiative of celebrating the conservation of biodiversity.
The celebration of biodiversity aims to make people aware of the importance of the ecosystems and aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity on a local and global level. However, according to the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon. Herunga Uahekua, the environment today has started turning into an enemy that connives with natural hazards to reciprocate the kind of treatment that humans give it.
He said poor farming practices, illegal and excessive mining and deforestation among many other abuses, have contributed to the degradation of the environment. “These dangers that we bring upon nature ultimately affect us too. When disasters strike, our ailing environment will have no power to defend itself and would even intensify the risks in our communities,” Herunga noted.
The minister said the country is blessed with internationally recognized biodiversity hotspots which are unfortunately situated in areas rich of mineral resources. “It is against this background that we should be mindful that if no proper balance is found between development and environmental biodiversity management, our people’s livelihoods are compromised,” he said.
Currently, Namibia is faced with the challenge of climate change. Among the projected impacts of climate change is the loss of thousands of species as well as changes in natural ecosystems. Herunga stated that the rise in average global temperatures will render many species unable to adapt quickly enough to these new conditions or to move to regions more suitable for their survival. For the winter-rainfall region of Namibia, the frequency of drought is predicted to increase over the next 100 years, with dire consequences for the vegetation of this biodiversity hotspot,” said the minister.
Herunga urged all stakeholders to address the more imminent issue, that of existing local and regional non-climate stresses facing the ecosystem which he said is easier to manage than climate change.

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

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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.