Last year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made headlines when he visited four African countries in July. “Israel is returning to Africa, just as Africa is returning to Israel,” said Mr. Netanyahu about his trip. Whilst that trip made headlines, there have been many events since then which also demonstrate the growing relationship between Africa and Israel.
One of the most important supranational bodies in Africa is the Economic Community of West-African States, or ECOWAS. This group of fifteen countries, whose populations total around 320 million people, and aim to promote trade and commerce within and between their states. This December, ECOWAS held a seminar outside of Africa for the first time, and that seminar took place in Israel. The seminar was run by MASHAV, Israel’s agency dedicated to International Development, and it focused on agricultural methods of maximizing produce in areas of the world which do not have a high rainfall. The commissioner of ECOWAS also visited Israel this past July, signing a joint memorandum with Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Then, in September, at the U.N. General Assembly, there was an exhibition entitled “Israeli Innovation and Technology in Africa,” which was visited by Prime Minister Netanyahu and many African heads of state.
Additionally, in the past few days, a dramatic new announcement was made by the Togolese Foreign Minister on a visit to Israel. This October, there will be an Israel-Africa Conference, to which all African nations will be invited, and between twenty-five and thirty are expected to attend. “There is a China-Africa conference, there is a France-Africa conference, and Togo thinks there should be an Israel-Africa meeting between the heads of state,” said Togo’s foreign minister Robert Dussey.
The fact that Israel is considered in the same league as powers like China and France speaks volumes about how much Israel has to offer the continent. This relationship will hopefully grow and grow, allowing Israel to help better the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
Contributed by Aron White, CAMERA intern