FM Liberman sees investment in Africa as important on both the humanitarian and socio-political planes. There are many areas in which Israel can provide assistance and training.
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
On Monday (May 19, 2014), Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman attended the first meeting of the Knesset Lobby for Strengthening the Relations Between Israel and African Countries initiatiated by MK Shimon Solomon.
Addressing the lobby, FM Liberman said that Israel, as an economically strong state and member of the OECD, must invest in foreign aid. In the case of Africa, it will reap both economic and political benefits. Africa is an important objective of Israel’s foreign policy, and we will strive to have Israel accepted during the coming year as an observer in the African Union.
Economic growth in Africa last year was around 6%, compared to 0% in Europe. During the past year, high level visitors to Africa included the U.S. president and secretary of state, and the president, vice president, premier and vice premier of China. All this is indicative of the importance of Africa in the changing international arena.
FM Liberman said that since assuming the post of foreign minister five years ago, he has promoted the broadening of Israel’s diplomatic sphere, and the development of new directions in its foreign policy. Africa is one of the most important of these directions. Today, Israel maintains only 10 diplomatic missions in Africa, out of a worldwide total of 106. In the 1970’s, Israel had 27 missions in Africa out of 80 worldwide. It is sometimes argued that Israel does not enjoy enough support from the African states, but these statistics show that we must invest resources and effort in order to regain this support.
FM Liberman noted that he sees investment in Africa as important on both the humanitarian and socio-political planes. There are many areas in which Israel can provide assistance and training: in agriculture, water management, medicine, combatting terror, and more. Israel cooperates with various countries, among them the United States, Canada, and Italy, in various investment projects in Africa. The most important of these is the joint Israeli-German Africa Initiative established at the last Israel-Germany government consultations in February 2014, a program of development cooperation in Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Burundi, with an investment of 50 million Euro.
In order to further this policy, in early June, Foreign Minister Liberman, accompanied by an Israeli delegation, will be visiting five African states.