Two IT Giants Merge

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By Fifi Rhodes WINDHOEK In a move intended to enhance capacity-building and to keep pace with global changes, two IT giants merged last week Wednesday. The merger involving GijimaAst and Information Technology Department which also aims at enhancing capacity-building, occurred in Windhoek. Though the merger took place on Wednesday, the two’s partnership is said to have started on November 1. The shared vision of the two business houses to become the biggest and most specialized Namibian Information Communication Technology (ICT) Company, resulted in GijimaAst and ITD unifying their expertise and resources. This new generation Namibian ICT company is now positioned to offer enhanced services and product delivery to clients. ITD, 100% owned by Ombiga Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd., have acquired a 30% shareholding in GijimaAst Information Technology Services (Pty) Ltd. This mirrors the recent acquisition of shares by the Gijima group in South Africa, forming the largest black-owned ICT company in South Africa. The merged entity will still be known as GijimaAst. It was decided by both partners to build on the existing GijimaAst brand in Namibia. The merger gives GijimaAst an increased customer base, geographic footprint, technical competencies and partnerships with leading brands, products and manufacturers. The deal also ensures that customers get best-of-breed technology, solutions and support. It will also set the benchmark for ICT service provision and product delivery in Namibia. A strong motivating factor behind this merger is to facilitate skills transfer and career path development within the industry, thereby truly empowering Namibians to facilitate and implement local ICT solutions to the unique Namibian environment. A recent training agreement between GijimaAst, SAP and the Polytechnic of Namibia highlights GijimaAst’s commitment to skills transfer and local capacity-building. Under the agreement, ICT students are trained at the Polytechnic, and GijimaAst commit to offering these students internships and job opportunities. “We in GijimaAST regard this initiative crucial to building a strong ICT sector in Namibia with local capacity” states Dr. Hylton Villet, the Chairperson of GijimaAST. He said that in the past GijimaAst Namibia was heavily reliant on the strategic direction and on the importation of skills from head office in South Africa, but now is proud to say that GijimaAst Namibia is a complete Namibian entity which will form the blueprint for expansion into the rest of Africa. “The merger is a win-win situation for all stakeholders; the end-user, employees and both businesses”, said Roger Lawrence, MD of GijimaAst Namibia. Originally serving vastly different client bases, where GijimaAst focused on the private sector and ITD on the public sector, the newly-established enterprise will serve the largest client spectrum within the Namibian ICT industry. This will enable cross-skilling and establishment of an enhanced understanding of integration of ICT in different economic sectors. “In the past, GijimaAst Namibia was heavily reliant on direction and skills from head office in South Africa, but we are proud to say that GijimaAst Namibia is now a complete Namibian entity which will form the blueprint for expansion into the rest of Africa, ” Lawrence said. Besides having premier accreditations with leading ICT brands such as HP, SAP, SUN and Cisco, to mention but a few, GijimaAst and ITD boast the prime Microsoft Gold partner status credentials in Namibia. Roger said that, through the GijimaAst Namibia/ITD merger, clients can now expect a greater value proposition from GijimaAst in terms of service and technology solutions, provided by stronger local skills, for their investment made in ICT.”