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Facebook cryptocurrency Libra “sooner rather than later” – exec at Davos 2020

Facebook cryptocurrency Libra “sooner rather than later” – exec at Davos 2020

A senior Facebook executive who sits on the Libra board is “optimistic” the digital currency will launch “sooner rather than later”, despite sustained criticism from global regulators.

The social media group said Libra will dramatically reduce cross border payments costs and spur other innovations it hopes will upend global financial services, when it unveiled plans for the cryptocurrency last June.

Facebook is targeting 1.7 billion people around the world who are classed as ‘unbanked or underserved’ by financial institutions.

However, policymakers – from the US Federal Reserve to the Bank of England – have raised concerns ranging from money-laundering, tax evasion and data protection issues.

At Davos 2020, the tech giant’s David Marcus said: “I’m an optimist. A year ago, we weren’t having the kind of conversations that I think will lead to a regulatory regime that will mean projects like ours and others will see the light of day.”

Marcus, the chief executive of the tech giants blockchain arm Calibra, was speaking at the 50th World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday.

The wall of criticism levelled against the project has seen a quarter of founding members of the Libra group walk away. Vodafone, Mastercard, Visa, Paypal and eBay have all left the project, to be replaced by less high-profile firms.

In Davos, Marcus shared a platform with Neha Narula, the director, digital currency initiative at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Narula said: “It’s interesting to look back at what has happened with our internet today. There are a few very large companies which collect massive amounts of data on people. And essentially surveil them as they walk around their homes and cities. We need to make sure that something like this does not happen with financial transactions.”

LearnBonds news editor Roger Baird said: “Issuing a new currency used to be the sort of thing only kings could do. Now it has become a billionaire’s game. Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook is building a private currency and network to carry it. But unchecked the risks to global financial system are great. As MIT’s Narula points out regulators can’t afford to sleep at the wheel as this project takes shape.”


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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.