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Message from Irene Visser, former Managing Director of NABC

Published on: 12-Dec-2017

Three years ago I started as NABC’s Managing Director. At the time, I had just settled back in the Netherlands after an extended and life-transforming stay in Africa. I have been very lucky to have landed the job of NABC’s Managing Director. It has given me great insights in the ‘Dutch’ side of doing business in Africa, it has given me an incredible understanding of the power of entrepreneurship for development, it has brought me great networks and above all new friends. I entered NABC at a very challenging time for business councils in general. As I stated at our Annual Ambassadors Dinner last week  ‘the traditional models for trade and investment facilitation do not exist anymore. Any member-based organization had to make a choice: innovate or fade out. At NABC we choose to innovate’.

I have, with my incredible team, worked very hard on this transformation. And today NABC’s purpose is two-folded: NABC is a very active networking community of start-ups, SMEs and multinationals, NGO’s knowledge institutes, government representations and sector organizations, with a common interest in doing business in Africa; AND we are a professional organization that implements high-level Africa-focused activities such as trade missions, events and sector programs. These two aspects are equally important for us and go hand in hand – they allow us to add value to our members, to materialize the aid to trade objectives of the Dutch Government, to further the economies of the African nations we work with and are needed for our own financial health and sustainability. And thus allow us to implement our mission: to enable private sector to drive Africa’s growth in a sustainable and inclusive manner.

Our new logo, very well visualizes the new Africa we stand for: it’s resilient and adaptive character, its ability to respond quickly to new developments and demands. African led,  but proudly Dutch. For me the launch of our new logo was a milestone. It was arriving at a destination, after a long and eventful journey, travelled together with my colleagues. This brings me to my position: I believe now is the time for me to take on a different direction in life again. It was a very hard choice, but I believe now is the right time for me to hand over my executive role. To my very capable management team: To Mackenzie Masaki, our head of Agribusiness and to Marina Diboma, our very talented Deputy Managing Director. And to our New Managing Director, Mr Peter de Ruiter. Peter has joined us from PwC where he has been a partner and tax expert in various emerging markets, most recently in Nigeria. Peter has been with us already for a couple of months and through his involvement in other Business Councils we have noticed he understands very well the landscape we operate in and our unique position herein. Peter took on his position from December 1st and I will remain on staff till end of 2017 to ensure a smooth transition. Also after this date, I will remain committed to NABC. Peter, Marina, Mackenzie, I have all the confidence in you to lead our incredible team and community to ever greater levels of African Business. Good luck! 

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