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SMEs get financial boost

Even more DBN finance for Small and Medium Enterprises. DBN recently signed an N$50 million capitalisation agreement with The Namibia Procurement Fund (NamPro), for the Fund to provide bridging finance to SMEs with contracts from larger corporates, parastatals and ministries. Above, DBN CEO Martin Inkumbi and Derek Wright, Chairperson of the NamPro Board of Trustees, exchange cosigned copies of the agreement.

Even more DBN finance for Small and Medium Enterprises. DBN recently signed an N$50 million capitalisation agreement with The Namibia Procurement Fund (NamPro), for the Fund to provide bridging finance to SMEs with contracts from larger corporates, parastatals and ministries. Above, DBN CEO Martin Inkumbi and Derek Wright, Chairperson of the NamPro Board of Trustees, exchange cosigned copies of the agreement.

The Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) formalised an agreement to place N$50 million under management of The Namibia Procurement Fund (NPF) at a signing ceremony held last week in Windhoek. The amount will be allocated to finance Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who have signed contracts with larger, reputable corporates, Ministries and parastatals. The capital will be used for various bridging finance purposes, particularly working capital and asset finance. The Development Bank of Namibia, Chief Executive Officer, Martin Inkumbi said, the Bank has a policy of providing apex finance to organisations that can disburse and administer loans in terms of the DBN mandate. Inkumbi pointed out that DBN apex finance is available to microlenders who adhere to the Bank’s apex microfinance policy, and that the N$50 million capital tranche should be seen in the same light. He said the bank’s ability to fulfil its mandate was expanded by cooperation with reputable partners. “With this agreement,we join forces with The Namibia Procurement Fund, to grow our ability to reach SMEs,” he said. “Our capacity is growing at a sustainable pace, so we engaged with NPF expecting to provide yet more loans. The fact that NPF uses a similar model to DBN contract-based finance to SMEs makes the Fund a natural choice.”

Talking about the Bank’s confidence in the Fund to deliver on the DBN mandate, Inkumbi said that NPF’s governance paralleled that of DBN operationally and in the form of two oversight sub-committees, an Audit, Risk and Compliance Sub-Committee, and an Investment Sub-Committee. He also pointed out that a Conflict Resolutions Sub-Committee was also in place to deal with and manage disputes. “This gives us confidence in the sustainability of NPF, as well as our ability to sustain medium-tem cooperation with the Fund,” Inkumbi said. Asked about the need for medium-term cooperation, Inkumbi said the nature of finance should be matched to the duration of contracts, which would entail short to medium-term delivery on the part of SMEs, so the capital amount to NPF is provided on a medium-term basis. He said that NPF had been identified as a potential agency in the past, and that the Bank had previous experience with key individuals involved in operating the fund. This, he said, was a further basis for the bank’s confidence in fund. The Namibia Procurement Fund was established with initial funding of N$160 million from GIPF. It’s capitalisation has subsequently grown to N$300 million, and it has provided N$400 million in facilities to SMEs.

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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.