The theme for this issue of CBiZine is Agro Food and I suppose there are several things I could tell you in this foreword about it. However, because it speaks for itself, the issue content will do a far better job of that, so instead I’ll use the foreword to introduce myself. My name is Max Timmerman and I have taken over from Hans Klunder as Managing Director of CBI. Having spent most of my career with the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I am experienced in the management and business sides of development cooperation, with a leaning towards Private Sector Development.
Throughout my career accepting positions in the public sphere, particularly the field of development cooperation, have always been conscious choices for me. My last responsibility with the Dutch Government was one of evaluating its development cooperation policy as it relates to the support given to the private sector in developing countries. I’m no stranger to the work of CBI so, as you might imagine, the opportunity to lead and develop an organisation whose work I am so familiar with was one I could not resist.
I am taking over the helm of CBI at a time when a relatively new Private Sector Development policy is taking effect. For the Netherlands this policy focuses on supporting companies and improving the general business climate. I’m sure there is growing interest in the role played by the private sector in development cooperation, both inside and outside the Netherlands’ borders. And I’m pleased to say that through successive development cooperation ministers these past 10 years we have now arrived at an integrated agenda. The way I see it, the emphasis in CBI is still on supporting individual companies and developing the market by helping to improve the business climate through skills and expertise interventions.
There is no doubt in my mind that in the changing complexion of development cooperation there is still a need for organisations like CBI. Policy-wise in the Netherlands, all lights are green for CBI’s continuation. Indeed, the responsible minister depends a great deal on our ability to keep getting results in the area of aid and trade. My ambition is to help reinforce the cohesion and synergies between CBI and other programmes that advance the role of the private sector in developing countries. I also want to ensure that it’s made a lot clearer just how much CBI contributes towards realising development cooperation policy and objectives.
That then is a brief introduction to me, my initial thoughts on CBI and the important role we play in development cooperation. As I take CBI forward during the coming months and years I hope to get the opportunity to meet and get acquainted with many of you too!