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Ben Zwinkels grew up in the greenhouse family business in the West of the Netherlands and has more than forty years of experience in banking and business development in Africa. After horticultural secondary education and working at the family horticulture business, Ben studied Accountancy and Business Administration in the evening hours for more than 7 years. After working for Stork Industries in Amsterdam and his graduation, Ben first went to live in Africa during the seventies and worked for the Dutch volunteer service (SNV), promoting cooperative banking in Cameroon and SME’s in Tunisia. While living in Cameroon Ben fell in love with the continent. In 1982 Ben started his carrier at FMO, the Dutch Development Bank and entered the world of finance. He gathered a wealth of experience while travelling to 62 countries in Africa. During more than 30 years of employment for FMO, Ben realised investment transactions in more than 40 banks and 35 SME investment funds. During this time, Ben became an authority of Private Equity in Africa and initiated the African Venture Capital Association and was instrumental in reviving Netherlands Africa Business Council (NABC) a promotion institute for Dutch Companies in Africa.
After retiring from FMO in 2012, Ben became Chairman of the Board of Group AfricInvest and continued his Board Memberships within the Group Bank of Africa (Madagascar, Kenya and Djibouti) and the Group First Afriland Group. In May 2015 he ended his Board Seat with the Group Bank of Africa, which he occupied for 22 years on behalf of FMO. During this period he played a key role in the expansion of the BOA Group to 17 countries, bringing four East-African countries to the Group, which had operated solely in Francophone countries. Ben also helped to develop BOA’s activities in Madagascar, Burkina Faso and Senegal. The two mentioned banking groups cover banking activities in more than 25 African countries. His profound experience was key for the nomination as Board Member for DOB a charitable private wealth in The Netherlands. Ben combines these board positions with further Board Memberships in some other banks in Africa and a Micro Finance Group: Microcred. In his capacity of Chairman of the Board for AfricInvest, Ben remains active in the financial sector of Africa. Finally Cameroon is Ben’s favourite country in Africa. Ben has three adopted children there and joined forces with his wife to develop the local tourist sector through her travel agency: www.zwinkelstourscameroon.com.
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