Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, landed on Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He continued on to Uganda and Kenya, where he will inaugurate two Israeli-cooperation projects in agriculture and health. According to Gil Haskel, Israel’s ambassador to Uganda, the Jewish state is interested in strengthening agricultural cooperation and collaboration with Uganda.
Agriculture and water are becoming the foundation for a new era of Israeli relations with African states. In July, South Sudan made its first official agreement with Israel, a pact to cooperate on water infrastructure and technology development. Some of these programs involve the Nile. Neighboring Arab nations are concerned but preoccupied. In his recent Al Jazeera editorial, Ramzi El Houry alluded that Israel’s new involvement with the hydro-politics of the Nile might give the Jewish state leverage over Egypt.
Director of the African Division at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Avi Granot, recently told Ynet that many African leaders visited Israel this year, seeking to revive the ‘golden era’ of close relations with Israel.
“This last year they expressed disappointment at the promises made by Arab nations in the ’70s and ’80s, when African countries were pressured to cut off diplomatic ties with Israel in exchange for development aid,” he said.
Granot believes that recent revolutions in the Middle East have made Africa more open to Israel. There are also an increasing number of Israeli businesses investing in African agriculture.
Israel recently launched a mission to Ghana and is considering reopening its embassy in RDC Congo. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s trip to Africa, cancelled three months ago, has now been rescheduled for the coming summer.
Image of the Nile flowing by Juba, South Sudan, via Shutterstock
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