Arne Doornebal (1983) works with the Netherlands-African Business Council (NABC), where he organizes trade missions to and from Africa, as well as conferences and workshops about doing business in Africa, occasionally moderating them. Doornebal joined NABC early 2016, initially focusing on media relations and writing press releases, tasks that are still part of his duties. These press releases get often picked up by the larges newspapers and websites in The Netherlands. Arne Doornebal has travelled to 19 different countries in Africa, and lived in Uganda and South Sudan between 2007 and 2014, while working as a freelance journalist and photographer in the region.
As a former correspondent, he is still being approached to comment on breaking news developments in Africa, for example by BNR news radio, Radio 2, Nieuwsuur or De Wereld Draait Door. He also writes op-eds, mainly for NRC Handelsblad and OneWorld, and occasionally analysis or interviews.
“Events I remember most from my time as a correspondent are the 29 days I spent on a boat travelling 1,730 km on River Congo, witnessing a ‘coming of age’ ritual in South Sudan and being the personal driver of Ugandan Olympic Marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich for a day. Standing 30 feet away from Muammar Ghadaffi was also quite an experience, just like interviewing his presumed girlfriend in Kampala,” Mr. Doornebal said.
It's the economy, stupid!
“In Africa I met with many different people, from governments, NGO’s and business people. In the end I came to realize that most people don’t want to receive aid, what they want is to have a proper job with a decent salary, so they can sustain their families. The ‘Ugandan dream’ can be summarized in the numbers 1 to 4, several men told me. 1 Wife, 2 Children, a 3-bedroom house and a 4-wheel drive. This is why I joined NABC, because I believe that more trade and business between Europe and Africa is crucial,” Mr. Doornebal continued. “Personally, I’d like to add the business has to be fair, so try to pay liveable wage instead of the minimum wage, if that even exists.”
For NABC Doornebal organized events about doing business in Ethiopia, South Africa, Tunisia and Mozambique. The Mozambique Business Forum, of May 2018, hosted Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi as a keynote speaker. Arne Doornebal also co-organized the incoming visit of a group of senior government officials and captains of Industry from the Senegalese oil and gas sector in October 2017.
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