African Parks Network

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African Parks Network

"In the year 2000 a group of experienced conservationists, who were concerned about the decline of many of Africa’s national parks, established The African Parks Network as a visionary and innovative approach to conservation that involved taking on the management and financing of national parks. Working in the sector, they were all too familiar with the inadequacies and inefficiencies associated with the traditional approach to park management and anticipated the benefits of a more commercial approach with parks being run on business principles.

"The group, namely Mavuso Msimang, Dr Anthony Hall-Martin, Michael Eustace and Peter Fearnhead approached Paul Fentener van Vlissingen who, as a multinational businessman with a strong interest in conservation, was immediately intrigued and they joined forces. Only six years later, The African Parks Network has established a meaningful presence on the continent and demonstrated that national parks can be managed responsibly by a private organisation in partnership with governments, and that the results can be remarkable.

"The African Parks Network went through a number of institutional changes in its early years, designed to assist the organisation to be more effective in achieving its objective. These changes included a shift of the legislative base and Head Office to the Netherlands in 2004, and back to South Africa in 2007...

"The Board of The African Parks Network is supported by a number of affiliate organisations, whose primary role is to facilitate the establishment of partnerships with individuals, institutions and companies in their respective host countries, who are willing to become involved in and support the work of African Parks. Currently these affiliate organisations include:

Financial Partners

Major funders include the likes of the Walton Family Foundation, while minor funders include Africom. [1]


Accessed December 2011: [2]

People (2007)

Catched 2007: [3] "Paul Fentener van Vlissingen (Dutch, 1941–2006) was a member of one of the best- known families in the Netherlands involved for many generations in business as well as wildlife activities. He founded the African Parks Foundation in 2003 and stepped down as Chairman of the Board in January 2006.

African Parks Foundation Board

  • Piet Klaver – Chairman, former Chief Executive SHV Holdings NV
  • Mavuso Msimang – Vice Chairman, former Chief Executive of South Africa National Parks
  • Rene Hooft Graafland – Banker
  • Dick de Kat – retired, former Board Member SHV Holdings NV
  • Nico Visser – Counsellor for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality at the Dutch Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa.
  • Winnie Sorgdrager – Member of the Council of State; former Minister of Justice, The Netherlands
  • Caroline Tisdall – Professor at Oxford Brookes University; author of many books and films on a wide range of subjects

African Parks Senior Counsellors

  • Lord Simon Cairns – United Kingdom; former Chairman of the BCEC
  • Valentine Chitalu – Zambia; Chairman of Zambian Breweries
  • Michael Eustace – South Africa; retired Banker
  • Walter Kansteiner – United States of America; former Secretary of State for Africa
  • Wim Kok – The Netherlands; former Prime Minister of the Netherlands
  • Mavuso Msimang – South Africa; former Chief Executive of South Africa National Parks
  • Cyril Ramaphosa – South Africa; former Secretary General of the ANC and former Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly that drafted the South African Constitution
  • Rene Hooft Graafland, Jr. – the Netherlands; Member Executive Board/CFO of Heineken N.V.
  • Michel Barnier – France; former Minister for Foreign Affairs and former EU Commissioner for Regional Policy
  • Ian Johnson (COR) – United Kingdom; former Vice President, Sustainable Development of the World Bank

African Parks Executive Committee



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. History, African Parks Network, accessed October 20, 2007.
  2. Board, African Parks Network, accessed December 15, 2011.
  3. African Parks Foundation, African Parks Foundation, accessed October 20, 2007.