The African Ambassadors’ Dinner 2013 took place last Thursday at Kasteel de Wittenburg in Wassenaar, which was fully booked as more than 25 embassies and more than 130 companies have registered to attend this annual event. The Ambassadors’ Dinner again turns out to be the perfect opportunity to create new business relations with ambassadors and other companies and to enhance the already existing ones. We cannot summarize this event and role of NABC better than one of our members, George Anamolga from Agatrade & Consultancy does: “I attended this event and indeed it was wonderful! The Netherlands African Business Council – NABC is truly promoting business between the Netherlands and Africa. It is the best place to network share ideas and partner with other Dutch companies interested in doing business in Africa. It does not matter how big or small your company is.”
The Ambassadors’ Dinner is characterized by mainly the presence of many African ambassadors or the economic advisors. The entire continent is presented ranging from for instance Algeria and Egypt in the North, to Senegal and Ivory Coast in the West, to Kenya and Ethiopia in the East and to South-Africa and Angola in the South. The first part of the day consisted of a business-2-ambassadors matchmaking session.
The matchmaking session culminated into the cocktail networking reception in the lounge area of the castle, during which there was plenty of time to meet fellow colleagues and have another conversation with the ambassador. During the reception NABC announced the three companies that are nominated for the ‘Doing Business in Africa-ward’: Vencomatic (Agriculture), Portside (Shipping & Logistics) and Intermotive (Cars) were the fortunate nominees of 2013, who pitched there recent activities in Africa. Aside from these sectors, NABC also promotes the cloth and fashion industry in the Netherlands and in Africa. That is why a collaboration established with the African Fashion Week Amsterdam, that presented the audience beautiful models showing the latest African fashion.
Before dinner Bob van der Bijl, Managing-Director NABC, took the floor welcoming officially all the ambassadors and companies. Here after, NABC proudly presented the new NABC magazine and handed over the first copy to Christiaan Rebergen from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After the delicious smoked salmon, Ben Bekkering, rear Admiral and Director of Industry and Trade from the Ministry of Defense, presented the new role for Defense and the Dutch Navy in African economic development. According to Mr. Bekkering, the Navy plays a crucial role in stabilizing and securing the maritime zone of African countries, as this will lead to the opening to international trade. This model has been implemented successfully in several African countries during NABC’s West-African Business Tour, which can be applied to Eastern Africa during the upcoming years.
Afterwards between their red wine and the nice piano music, it was up to Jan-Peter Balkenende to say a “few words” about his experience and his view on Africa. By highlighting corporate responsibility and sustainability, he emphasized that the Dutch private sector is the key to development in Africa. In particular, Africa will benefit from private sector innovations such as the Waka Waka, a highly efficient solar lamp.
The Kenyan ambassador, Her Excellency Mrs. Makena Muchiri, had the honour to be the master of ceremonies. On behalf of NABC, she presented the business award to Bas de Vaal from Portside. Having counted all the votes, Portside has been elected as winner of the award 2013.
In fact, this evening will end up with two winners. Many of the guests were already questioning the purpose of the distributed green en red cards. After dinner, NABC presented a small Africa-quiz in order to find out who is one and only expert on Africa for that Thursday. Will it be an ambassador, an entrepreneur or a governmental representative? In the end, Zeinab Dauda of Deltares turns out to be the winner, who guessed the most closest the fortune of Mr. Dangote. Here after, the African drum dand, Mike Onyange, has set in motion the final part of this gathering where all guests were able to have a chat with drinks and dances.
What about the results of the Ambassadors’ Dinner? First of all, lots of new business creation are created or are intensified. Jan-Willem-Scheijgrond for instance asked a day after the event for contact data, as he had met interested people. Aside from that, all of them, of which Koen Koning from Fast Forward Freight has enjoyed the entire event: “Compliments for the organization, we really enjoyed the Ambassadors’ Dinner!”. Even Dave Kroet who doubted the value added of the Ambassadors’ Dinner for his company CIBT prior to the event, admits that “we are glad having participated at the Dinner, as it was also a very interesting evening for us.”
Of course, we would like to thank all the sponsors for this event. The African Ambassadors’ Dinner was powered by EY, SGS, Steder Group, Smit Lamnalco, Dockwise, Boskalis Westminster and Damen Shipyards. We are looking forward seeing you on the New Years’ Reception (NYR) that will be hosted by Heineken on Friday the 17th of January. This time, it is the Dutch ambassadors accredited to African states who are invited to attend the NYR, which is being organizes closely with SANEC. From 16.30-18.00 they will be available for an informal matchmaking, after which several speakers will take the floor ushering the beginning of a fruitful 2014 for Dutch-African businesses.
|From||December 12, 2013|
|Till||December 13, 2013|