Select Page

Windhoek-Rehoboth commuter train a necessity but not Windhoek-Hosea Kutako

Windhoek-Rehoboth commuter train a necessity but not Windhoek-Hosea Kutako

By John Saunderson.

We understand that transport is essential on critical corridors. But over-investment on these corridors should be controlled. The government of the Republic of Namibia has come up with an aggressive public infrastructure investment plan for the period 2015/16 to 2019/20 to develop Namibia into a logistics hub. Amongst these are the developments of new road infrastructure and commuter train transport.

Feasibility studies conducted in 2015, on commuter train transport has found that only the Windhoek-Hosea Kutako International Airport project should be further considered for implimentation. The government has also started developing the dual carriageway between Windhoek and Hosea Kutako International Airport.

The Windhoek-Okahandja road is being upgraded to improve safety and capacity. Thus, it is acceptable that the speed train project is not feasible, as most of the commuter traffic will remain on that road as a result of the better service levels provided.

The biggest concern is the Windhoek-Hosea Kutako International Airport projects. I am convinced that here, the road traffic will also remain on the new dual carriageway as it will improve service levels on this route, and in addition it will improve traffic condition on the eastern and southern parts of the Windhoek road network.

In my opinion, I believe the rail passenger demand projections are grossly overestimated, and that one of these projects, when completed will become another white elephant, most probably the speed train.

I was working on the Windhoek-Rehoboth commuter train project, on the governance and management structures thereof and unfortunately not the demand analysis and economic analysis.

In this case, the consultant has underestimated the passenger demand projections severely, which rendered the project not feasible. The communities just south of Windhoek have been cheering the project, and I am truly dumbfounded by the low demand projections. I think those are two of the current projects which should be revised in the areas of demand and its subsequent economic analysis.

John A. Saunderson, Principal Consultant: Transport and Logistics (Economics and Finance), Amir Consulting Services CC-Windhoek


About The Author

John Saunderson

John A. Saunderson lives in Otjiwarongo and is the Principal Transport Economist at Amir Consulting Services, with expertise in transport systems including operations, policy, regulation, infrastructure, strategy and management. He has worked on many projects for the Namibian Government, parastatals, engineering consultants, private individuals and business consulting firms on transport infrastructure plans, policy, regulation, economic analysis and business plans. He is a transport economist by profession having worked for the Roads Authority, the City of Windhoek and the Ministry of Works and Transport. Mr Saunderson obtained his B.Com (Hons) degree in Transport Economics from the University of Stellenbosch and his undergraduate degree in Transport from Rand Afrikaans University. He has been providing consulting services since 2007.

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.