New executive appointments to spur Paratus expansion into Africa
As part of the Paratus group’s vision and to support the rapid growth and expansion plans of the business, Group CEO Barney Harmse will take up the new position of Executive Chairman of Paratus Group and Group COO Schalk Erasmus will take over the Group CEO role.
They will be working very closely together not only during the handover in the coming months but also over the next few years, to ensure the group’s new vision is fulfilled and that continuity in all areas of implementation is sustained.
Together with their co-founders, Harmse and Erasmus had the vision for establishing Africa’s quality network and have, over the past two decades, guided the group’s moves to assert Paratus as a major telco player with an impressive footprint in Africa.
Owning its infrastructure; building expert teams in seven southern African countries, and serving customers across the countries’ divides with a seamless quality network service are the cornerstones of the group’s success. With an impressive N$1 billion revenue per annum, Paratus also provides services to its customers in more than 35 African countries; is the appointed partner to land the Equiano subsea cable in Namibia, and has built four of its own data centre facilities in three African countries to date.
“Our group’s vision is to transform Africa through exceptional digital infrastructure and customer service. Our objective is to double revenue within the next five years. Our plan for expansion and growth is through investing and deploying the best infrastructure, and through mergers and acquisitions. Our focus areas are South, Central, and West Africa – they are huge markets. We have recently opened in the DRC through a joint venture with GBS in that country, where we have won a tender to activate a 620-kilometre fibre optic network link. The team have built an impressive quality network across Africa, and they are very proud of their achievements. As Executive Chairman, I will be able to assist and help drive expansion with more focus and acuity and I am excited about our next growth trajectory,” Barney Harmse said.
Schalk Erasmus has been with Paratus for 20 years. He has been instrumental in various projects including the Equiano Cable Project, the Trans Kalahari Fibre Network, and in recent years, has been responsible for the roll-out of the group’s data centre in Namibia, one of the group’s most considerable investments in infrastructure to date.
“We’re entering the fifth era of connectivity. Yes, it’s about data and, yes, it’s about quality connectivity but we believe the future will also be more focused on how people experience the content, and how being better connected can help to transform the way people live and work. We are investing in digital infrastructure to grow Africa’s quality network. We will now expand to new territories so that more people may flourish and be transformed through connectivity,” he said.
“We’re seeing our vision fast becoming a reality. Although it’s only the beginning, we are already in serious talks in a few West African countries.”
“We have carved the Paratus path across the continent with due care and attention. We are delivering Africa’s quality network, we were born in Africa, and we know Africa. There are no limits and that’s what we offer our customers – limitless opportunities through connectivity. Our new vision is aligned with what Africa needs right now. It’s an exciting time for our business – and for Africa,” Harmse stated.
Over the next few months, Harmse and Erasmus will work closely together with the company’s top structure to ensure a smooth transition for the new Group Chief Executive. The completion of this process is expected to coincide with the inauguration in August of the group’s data centre in Windhoek, the fourth in Africa.
Schalk Erasmus (standing), the new Paratus Group Chief Executive, and Barney Harmse, the Executive Chairman.