Members of Parliament urge more business cooperation with Africa

The new government of the Netherlands should increase its efforts to stimulate trade with Africa. This recommendation was made during a debate between Members of Parliament and representatives of the business community, in which NABC’s chairman of the board Frank Nagel participated on Thursday.

31st of May 2021 News item

While political parties in the Netherlands are engaged in talks about forming a new coalition government after the March elections, during a high-level debate about international trade, Africa was placed on the agenda prominently.

‘Most African countries are fed up with being approached as needy. Instead, they want an equal trade relation,’ said Mustafa Amhaouch of the CDA party. Following a parliamentary motion of Mr. Amhaouch in 2019, an ‘Africa Taskforce’ consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the business community was set up. ‘But we are not moving fast enough,’ he added. We need to seriously invest in the Dutch trade relation with Africa.’

Member of Parliament Marielle Paul, of the VVD party, referred to the plan of a group of private sector organisations, including NABC, to set up consortia of Dutch companies in 15 African focus countries. ‘The plans are there. They now have to be carried out,’ Ms. Paul urged. Also, the other Members of Parliament, representing GroenLinks and D66, supported the need for trade with Africa. They underlined the need for sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for companies doing business with Africa.

NABC chairman Frank Nagel made a comparison with neighbouring countries. ‘The French and the Germans are investing billions in getting good trade relations with Africa. Here in the Netherlands, we are good at agriculture and water solutions. If we work together, we can achieve a lot.’

This view was shared by Joost Oorthuizen, the designated CEO of Invest International, an organisation that is currently being set up – while awaiting formal approval from the Dutch senate- and that focuses on stimulating Dutch investment worldwide. ‘We’ll have the capacity to support the private sector doing high-risk but much-needed investments in infrastructure and industries in emerging countries in Africa. It is important for the new Dutch government to come up with a comprehensive Africa strategy.’