Arne Doornebal (1983) organises 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. Doornebal has travelled to 20 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.
In December 2020, Doornebal published the book (in Dutch) ‘Oeganda onder President Museveni,’ describing Uganda’s recent history between 1980 and 2020 and focusing on the strong relations between the Netherlands and Uganda.
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 realise 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 summarised in the numbers 1 to 4, my friends used to tell 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 that the business has to be fair. European Companies operating in Africa should not only look at the minimum wage but should aim to pay a ‘living’ wage – so a salary which can actually support your employee to live a decent life.”
For NABC, Arne Doornebal has organised high-level events about doing business in Ethiopia, South Africa, Tunisia and Mozambique. The Mozambique Business Forum, of May 2017, was graced by the presence of Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi. Doornebal was also the project manager of the EU-Ethiopia Business Forum, held in May 2019 in Brussels, in the presence of EU Commissioner Jyrki Katainen. In his role as community manager, Arne Doornebal is responsible for keeping close contact with the NABC network and talking to potential new members.
Arne Doornebal is NABC’s first point of contact for questions relating to Uganda, Tunisia and Algeria.