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Paratus announces leadership shake-up amid Africa expansion

By , ITWeb
Africa , Namibia , 27 Apr 2022
Paratus Group COO Schalk Erasmus and Group CEO Barney Harmse.
Paratus Group COO Schalk Erasmus and Group CEO Barney Harmse.

Paratus has announced that 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.

The company released a statement which explained that the executives will work closely during the handover scheduled for August 2022, and 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 have, over the past two decades, guided the group’s moves to establish it as a major telco player with an impressive footprint in Africa.

The company attributes the success to owning its own infrastructure; building expert teams in seven southern African countries; and serving customers across the countries’ divides with a seamless quality network service.

With N$1-billion in revenue per annum generated, 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 datacentre facilities in three African countries to date.

Harmse says: “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-kilometer fibre optic network link.”

Erasmus has been with Paratus since the beginning 20 years ago. He has been instrumental in various projects, including The Equiano Cable Project, The Trans Kalahari Fibre Network (TKF), and in recent years, has been responsible for the roll-out of the group’s datacentre in Namibia, one of the group’s most considerable investments in infrastructure to date.

He says: “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 upon 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.”

“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.”

Harmse concludes: “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, 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.

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