Throughout his professional life Jolke Oppewal has had a keen interest in development issues in general and in Africa in particular, first as a journalist and later as a diplomat. Jolke has studied development economics and journalism. He started his professional life as a free lance journalist. From 1992 to 1999 he was chief editor of the monthly magasin 'Internationale Samenwerking' ('International Cooperation) and next became speech writer for the Minister for Development Cooperation. He then went on working as a diplomat for the Netherlands in Africa from 2003 to 2023 in consecutively Mozambique, Rwanda, Burundi, Mali and Congo. In the latter three countries he served as ambassador. Jolke has been retired since September.