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Civil society not happy with science commission

Civil society organizations have once again expressed reservations with government’s decision to establish the National Commission on Science Research and Technology despite the unresolved “fundamental flaws” contained in the legislation establishing the commission.
Since 2011 civil society organizations working under the auspices of the NANGOF Trust have been calling for the reversal of the research regulations that established the National Commission on Science Research and Technology (NCSRT) because of the “many unconstitutional” provisions contained in the legislation and the regulations.
The NCRST is a State-Owned Enterprise established in terms of the Research, Science and Technology Act, 2004 (Act no. 23 of 2004) tasked with the promotion, coordination and development of research, science, technology and innovation in the country.

While the intentions of the Research, Science and Technology Act have been considered noble, and include the intention to promote and develop research, science and technology, encourage innovative and independent thinking, analysts say the implementation of the law will, however, not only seriously undermine academic freedom, but also constitute a clear and present danger to Namibian democracy and open society in general.
Last week, the Legal Assistance Centre, the Institute for Public Policy Research and other civil society groups said they note with concern that the NCSRT is proceeding to develop national programmes and funding mechanisms – that will begin to set out priorities research areas for Namibia – on the basis of such fundamentally defective legislation.
“We are issuing this statement to re-emphasise our initial concerns – that these regulations place unacceptable restrictions on academic freedom enshrined in the Namibian Constitution, limit creative thinking, create uncertainty around research carried out by NGOs, researchers, and institutions of higher learning, and introduce far-reaching restrictions. These concerns have thus far not been addressed either by the Ministry of Education or the NCRST,” a joint statement from civil society said.
“We have written on multiple occasions to the Minister of Education and even had a meeting with the Minister and his advisors on research. However, the most fundamental issues with regard to the law and the research regulations still remain unresolved. The Minister promised in May 2013 to get back to us after consulting with his advisors but has not kept that promise.”
Civil society urged the Education Ministry to withdraw the regulations and to institute a new consultation process that will help create an environment where quality research is encouraged and incentivized. “Until civil society’s fundamental objections to the research law and regulations are addressed we cannot see the point of being drawn into ongoing efforts to legitimize the NCRST and its programmes since they are built on foundations that are blatantly unconstitutional.
“We therefore call on all concerned NGOs and civil society actors in Namibia to avoid being drawn into the fundamentally flawed process of developing NCRST programmes and attending NCRST events when the profound concerns about the law and regulations have not been addressed.”

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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.