Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board
Wednesday, 22 September 2021, Windhoek
The Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB/Board) wishes to respond to the theft allegations regarding the Ostora concept.
The NIPDB is aware of two parties who have indicated that the Ostora idea was stolen from them. One party sent a communique to the board through its lawyer on 24 August in which it was indicated that his client sent an email to NIPDB on 23 August 2021 about the idea. Furthermore, two Namibian entrepreneurs who submitted unsuccessful proposals to NIPDB’s July 2020 call for expressions of interest for the Expo 2020 Dubai Startup initiative have alleged that the NIPDB ‘stole’ their ideas. Unfortunately, before the Board could engage and rectify this misunderstanding with the parties directly, media reports were already circulating.
The NIPDB would like to make it clear that the idea for Ostora was aligned to a concept by the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade. It was first put forward by MITSMED in a 2012 initiative and this is the work that the NIPDB plans to build on. The NIPDB included this concept in its strategy that was initially discussed towards the end of April 2021, presented to the Advisory Board meeting of 1 July 2021, approved at the Advisory Board meeting of 15 July 2021 and presented to His Excellency in the presence of the media on 16 August 2021. We hope these dates provide clarity that internal discussions about this concept were held well before receipt of any documents referred to in the allegations.
To further address the allegations of theft of ideas and possible infringement of intellectual property rights, it is important to state that the NIPDB subscribes to the highest ethical principles and these are applied at every level of the organisation. All dealings are conducted in a transparent manner, underpinned by strong corporate values to act with integrity and in good faith at all times. In addition, the organisation understands the responsibility that comes with access to the data and intellectual property of investors and business people, whether large, medium, small or micro.