Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) CEO Vivienne Katjiuongua

17 September 2021 | People

1. What do you bring different to the table of your career?

I have had the privilege to work in both the public and private sectors in different fields, from legal to economics and trade. I have further had the opportunity to work for local and international organisations, which not only significantly widens one’s horizons, but also ensures that I have a support-network of skills and knowledge to call on. I believe that my previous experience working for the Namibian government (Government Attorneys) and the Namibian Competition Commission, including my tenure at the International Trade Centre in Geneva, moulded my skills and experience in especially the areas of contract law, investment, competition law, intellectual property law and international trade law. My approach to leadership is a people-centred approach. I believe staff members are the backbone of any institution and leading from the centre allows for a perspective often not privy to many leaders. I have recently had the opportunity to be appointed by President Hage Geingob to the National Business Rescue Taskforce and the work we are tasked with lies at the centre of BIPA’s mandate on the regulation of businesses. This again is evident of the value that Vivienne may bring, not only at institutional level, but at a national level.

2. What exactly are you looking forward to in this work position?

I am a firm believer that whatever role I am entrusted in, be it within BIPA, in social settings, or even at home, it must be done with the end in mind. I live every day to make a notable impact in the lives of an ordinary Namibian. Namibia’s economic landscape has not been favourable to those below the breadline. Opportunities should be provided to such Namibians to be able to excel and equally participate and contribute to the success of our country.

At BIPA, we are currently busy with legislative reform, with the aim to make our laws responsive to our needs. The objective is to promote economic activity and growth and not stifle it. So, I hope that during my tenure, we can simplify the laws to such an extent that it may make business easier and allows for greater access to the business market by ordinary Namibians. Equally to ensure that under our Intellectual Property (IP) mandate we develop IP and innovation ecosystems to drive enterprise growth, especially for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

I am equally looking forward to be part of the team that will lead the recovery of our economy, as I believe that with the right skills we can change the economic trajectory of our country.

3. What and where will your main focus be in office?

Aligned with the aim of the forum to build a resilient and agile public enterprises system, and given my experience in the business sector, my goal will be to advocate for the rebuilding of our economy through projects that stimulate recovery.

This is especially possible if we focus on innovation and entrepreneurship as key drivers of the economy. Our efforts will be aligned with what government is already doing, so that we can work towards quality instead of quantity.

4. What is your favourite restaurant and what’s your go-to order?

I embrace diversity and inclusivity. Therefore, I like to dine at places that offer meals that speak to the latter preference.

The places that I have recently frequented include El Barrio and Stellenbosch, known for their diverse cuisine, especially the fish dishes.

Although I am a big health fanatic, which requires high levels of greens and liquids, I cannot deny my heritage as a Namibian and therefore would often order a portion of our great Namibian beef.

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