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Chipeio takes on the world of business and law

Chipeio takes on the world of business and law

By Natasha Jacha

From not imaging taking on the world of business and law, Christoffer Chipeio, now heads Nedbank Namibia’s Legal Compliance, Governance and Company Secretary department.

Christoffer Chipeio, a University of Stellenbosch graduate who completed his articles and worked hard to launch his career in the legal profession.

He started out as Legal Practitioner at a Commercial Law firm before moving on to the roles of Assistant Legal Advisor and then Compliance officer, until he joined the green bank. His first position within Nedbank was that of Risk Analyst as he worked to climb the ladder to be promoted to Legal Advisor and, Head of Legal. He soon felt the need to diversify his exposure within banking and joined the Retail and Business Banking Team as an Area Manager overseeing Windhoek branches and the Nedloans Business.

In April this year he re-joined the Risk division as Head of Legal, Governance, Compliance and Company Secretary.

Often misunderstood, the role of a company secretary in an organisation is a vital component to ensure the smooth running of the business. The Company Secretary is the custodian of the organisation’s governance portfolio and is the principal administrative officer responsible for e.g. ensuring compliance with the companies act, guiding members of the various governance structures, convening meetings and maintaining statutory records.

The responsibility and accountability this role brings with is immense, as failure to execute in this role can have disastrous consequences such as governance abuses which have the potential to erode value and may even lead to statutory, criminal or ethical violations. This profession thus requires a very high level of conscientiousness, versatility, critical analysis, problem solving, verbal and written linguistic competency as well as assertiveness, emotional intelligence and creativity.

For a young person looking to pursue Christoffer’s career path, he advises to study a degree in Law with a background in commerce, i.e. B.Com LLB, B.Acc. LLB. He calls on young people to look at the profession with new eyes.

“Namibia particularly needs ethical and competent governance. A fundamental aspect of financial prosperity is found in the separation between the individual and his corporation. This permits a mitigation of risk and sharing of rewards, which promotes enterprise and the involvement of investors in the innovative endeavours of individuals. Lawyers should be midwives in the process of birthing innovation and prosperity via complex legal mechanisms,” he said.

Chipeio did not always envision himself taking on the world of business and law; in fact, he wanted to become a medical doctor and even applied in a completely contrary field – mechanical engineering.

Today he is thankful for the path he decided to take instead and has his roots firmly planted in the legal profession. As with most disciplines, he anticipates that the discipline he loves will see a change in the future. “With the rise of the intelligent machine, legal careers will experience a revision and redefinition which will increasingly involve a collaborative practice between man and machine. Particularly in legal research, analysis and advise,” he said.

He looks to the future and predicts that human lawyers will take on a more supervisory and empathetic role involving the delivery of legal services to clients in a more personalised manner and to grant the anthropological assurances that people may require, despite their interaction with robots. He also predicts that legal services will become easily accessible via apps and will become increasingly affordable.

In the meantime, the legal profession presents vast opportunities for young people in Namibia to leverage and grow professionally.

Leading Nedbank Namibia’s Junior Exco, his involvement in high value labour matters and commercial transactions, his leadership role at a respected banking institution and the completion of the coveted Management development programme at Stellenbosch University are only some of the milestones in his career thus far. And judging from his personal mantra, “Gratitude builds Attitude and lifts Altitude!”, there is only greater things expected from this dynamic law professional.

His advice to young people in high school, “spend time dedicating yourself to studying the school material exceptionally well, read books that motivate you to succeed, choose friends carefully and put God first.”

He shares a good life hack to stay on course in achieving personal goals, “set five goals each year and write them out every morning as if you’ve already achieved them,” he advised.

With his wife as his greatest supporter, his mother as his compass to his faith and exceptional leaders such as Lionel Matthews to look up to, Christoffer has all the right structures in place to work toward achieving his goal of running his own group of companies and building platforms to launch the next generation of multi sectoral leaders. In ten years’ time, he hopes to accomplish great things for himself and his country.

Until then he is utilising every opportunity to grow at Nedbank and contribute to the green revolution in banking.

“Nedbank is at the edge of a major opportunity to impact Namibia,” he said and he has taken his seat at the table to bring about this culture shift. He hopes to enlarge and bring forth his vision not only in his personal life but also in the society.


About The Author

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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

Promotion

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.