Netanyahu meets African leaders to discuss closer ties, tech cooperation


Israel’s Prime Minister hosted an event with leaders and representatives from at least 15 African countries yesterday on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

The meeting was followed by an associated event at which Israeli technology leaders were given the opportunity to present their products and showcase how they could benefit Africa. They included Energyia Global Capital, which develops affordable solar projects worldwide and launched an East Africa solar field in Rwanda last year.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his guests: “I believe that Israel can be an amazing partner for your countries. Technology changes everything. And technology is related to so many areas: to healthcare, agriculture, education, and so much more. We want to share our knowledge and technology with the world.”

Also at the UN General Assembly, Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry Dore Gold met South Africa’s Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who three years ago had pledged that South African officials would not engage with Israel. Gold said that they were “[e]xploring the ties between our nations”.

This week’s activities in New York come as part of a wider Israeli diplomatic effort to bolster ties with African states. In July, Netanyahu became the first Israeli head of government to visit Africa for decades, visiting Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda, in an attempt to strengthen diplomatic, security and commercial ties. Several of the leaders he met pledged to push for Israel’s reinstatement as an observer at the African Union regional bloc.

Meanwhile, last month Gold visited Guinea and met the country’s president. He also recently travelled to Chad, a country with which Israel has no formal diplomatic relations.

Netanyahu recently announced that he intends to visit several West African countries by the end of the year. It is hoped that this will include a summit with leaders of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States, which includes Mali and Niger, two more states which have no ties with Israel.