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Finland bankrolls research centres

Caption: Executive Director of the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia Viviane Kinyaga, Chargé d’ Affaires of Finland Anne Saloranta and Gobabeb Training and Research Centre Member of the Board of Trustees Mary Seely at the grant signing ceremony. (Photograph by Melba Chipepo).

Caption: Executive Director of the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia Viviane Kinyaga, Chargé d’ Affaires of Finland Anne Saloranta and Gobabeb Training and Research Centre Member of the Board of Trustees Mary Seely at the grant signing ceremony. (Photograph by Melba Chipepo).

The Embassy of Finland last week signed two funding agreements with the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) and Gobabeb Training and Research Centre (GTRC). The agreements signed are part of the Fund for Local Cooperation of the Embassy of Finland. The fund supports the eradication of poverty and economically, socially and ecologically sustainable development of Namibia in line with the goals of the NDP4.
The total funding amount of 145 000 Euros (N$1.9 million) will focus on the sustainable management of natural resources and environmental education as well as contributions to the upcoming United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification(UNCCD) eleventh Conference of Parties (COP11) through civil participation.
The Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) was granted a total of 77 500 Euros for a one year project aimed at developing capacity in sustainable environmental management and livelihoods. Through this funding, DRFN supports decision making bodies and individuals in the government and private sector by developing, disseminating and implementing scientific, fact-based and analytical options that form the backbone of policy development, planning and implementation.
In addition, DRFN as the coordinating body of Civil Society Organisations (CSO)’s contribution towards COP11 will provide training to journalists on environmental matters.
The Gobabeb Training and Research Centre (GTRC) was granted a total of 68 000 Euros for a year’s project that is aimed at promoting education for sustainable development in Namibia and its role in transitioning to a green economy, with a particular focus on the youth as future leaders in the country. The GTRC is actively involved in the preparations for the COP11 as a partner to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and will assist the Ministry with side-events and activities prior to and during the Conference showcasing its on-going work with the youth.
According to GTRC Member of the Board of Trustees, Mary Seely, the GTRC intends on starting  the project immediately and will hold a Youth Environment Summit (YES) where Grade 11 learners from the Erongo region will be invited to attend and be part of a project called ‘We are proud of our desert’. Learners will get a week-long, intensive environmental training course where they will be exposed to science and how scientific research is conducted, firmly grounded in field observations and data collecting. The training is particularly focused on skills based learning rather than content knowledge and strives to encourage critical thinking, problem solving and self- discovery under the guidance of professional researchers who regularly collaborate with Gobabeb.
The Fund for Local Cooperation is a local funding instrument administered by the Embassy of Finland. It has actively supported the work towards the promotion and realisation of human rights and democracy in Namibia for nearly 11 years, complementing other funding instruments made available by the Government of Finland. The Fund for Local Cooperation is used to support various developments and civil society actors. It is also used to promote trade and business relations between Finland and Namibia.

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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.