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SME expo attracts more exhibitors

The eighth edition of Namibia SME Expo that places the country’s small and medium enterprise (SME) sector under the spotlight, opened on Wednesday this week. This years expo attracted 80 exhibitors. In his motivational speech at the expo’s opening Zambian business leader, Patrick Chisanga, commended entrepreneurs who own and operate small enterprises for their significant and frequently unrecognised contribution towards development of the economies of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. “Official statistics reflect that Namibia has witnessed a phenomenal growth in the number of start-up businesses during the past two decades. Records show that almost 40,000 SMEs are registered in Namibia” he said. Chisanga however noted that it has been observed that a great number of of these new businesses  crash land during the first twenty-four months of their existence and in most cases before fully taking off. Available data indicates that approximately 75% of the small-scale businesses belong to the failure group. He added that it is important to create an enabling environment in which small businesses can operate, innovate and create the needed jobs as a strategy to better economic development. “SMEs play a significant role in the transition of agriculture led economies to industrial economies by creating opportunities for processing activities, which generate sustainable sources of revenue  and enhance the development process. From the socio-economic development point of view, SMEs provide a variety of benefits. SMEs have advantages over large-scale businesses because they can adapt easily to market conditions and they can withstand adverse economic conditions given their flexible nature” he said. Chisanga also noted that the lack of finance for start-ups, failure to comply with relevant legislation, the lack of trust from suppliers , the lack of market research and unregulated competition, are some of the challenges that SMEs in the country and the SADC region face. He recommended that the government and private sector need to work more closely together to address the needs of SMEs in a robust manner and that the business registration process must be simplified. He said there is a need for an SME information centre specificallydesigned to help SMEs with development and market trends, and to help them gain access to conventional marketing channels.

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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.