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Angola is open for business with more relaxed visa requirements

Angola is open for business with more relaxed visa requirements

The Angolan government has been introducing several initiatives to encourage investment and business opportunities in the oil rich country since former president José Eduardo dos Santos stepped down.

The first new president in 38 years, João Lourenço, took over at the end of 2017. One of his first initiatives was to relax the visa requirements for countries like Botswana, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Zimbabwe and notably Singapore.

Citizens from Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, the Cape Verde, Rwanda and Zambia can enter Angola without having to apply for a business or tourist visa.

“It is clearly an effort by the Angolan government to encourage business and investments into the country, and to alleviate the unavailability of foreign currency in the country and the challenges behind that,” said Tarissa Wareley, immigration specialist at Xpatweb.

She said another innovative decision is to allow people to conduct business under a tourist visa. This is a concession to investors from countries who are still required to enter the country with a visa. “A tourist visa will now suffice, even though visitors will be doing business or negotiating investments.”

Wareley said the government has also extended the validity of the tourist visa from 90 days to 120 days.

The introduction of e-visa applications has streamlined the process to allow for easy access into the country. The e-visa will be issued within 24 hours.

The normal processing times for visas range anything between two to three weeks. If there is an urgent need for a business or investors to enter Angola it will no longer be subjected to this delay.

“It allows business people and potential investors the opportunity to be first in the market if there are new opportunities,” said Wareley.

The government is also allowing foreign nationals to partner with an Angolan national to set up a business, without having to invest at least US$500,000.

According to the World Bank the oil sector accounts for one-third of Angola’s GDP and more than 90% of exports. Given the importance of the sector the government has adopted a more lenient approach towards short-term visas.

The validity of these “emergency visas” has been extended from seven days with an additional seven days to a total of 20 days (initial 10 days with an additional 10 days).

Companies generally apply for a short-term visa when they have, for example, urgent maintenance requirements on an offshore oil or gas rig which requires the attention of a specialist technician.

Companies, who pay a corporate income tax rate of 30%, have been subjected to harsh penalties because they exceeded the number of days allowed under the emergency visa.

“The additional days would reduce the possibility of receiving penalties and can lead to major cost savings for companies.”

These changes to the visa requirement regime in Angola are important for any investor or company wishing to set up operations in Angola, wanting to invest in the country or increase their business operations in the country.

“We hope that streamlining the work permit process will be the next priority to allow for quicker processes times to obtain a work visa,” said Wareley.


 

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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.