nsnbc : Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Monday, left Israel to visit several African countries. Netanyahu aims at finding new trade partners in Africa as Israel increasingly feels the impact of the international Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Before his departure the office of the Prime Minister released a video in which Netanyahu described his Africa tour as a “historic visit” that was of great importance “from diplomatic, economic and security perspectives”.
Addressing dignitaries in Entebbe, Uganda, Netanyahu said: “I am pleased that Israel is going back to Africa in a big way. .. We are opening Africa to Israel again”.
Netanyahu’s four-day tour will take him to Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. The first leg of his journey takes Netanyahu to Entebbe, Uganda, where he will meet with leaders from seven African nations including Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Zambia and Tanzania.
The office of the Israeli Prime Minister reported that Netanyahu is accompanied by a delegation of over 50 business people from 50 companies “to forge commercial ties with African companies and countries”. Israeli business delegates will participate in economic seminars with their African counterparts in Kenya and Ethiopia.
Israel has, over the past years, increased its focus on Africa with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman touring the continent to meet politicians and businessmen. The increased focus on Africa and Netanyahu’s “historic” visit comes against the backdrop of an increasingly successful international Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
Israel has also tried to reach out to South Africa, one of the strongest supporters of Palestine on the African continent. Until the end of the apartheid regime, South Africa was one of the strongest and closest Israeli partners in Africa.
In March Dore Gold, the Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, traveled to South Africa in an attempt to mend and strengthen ties between the two countries. Among African leaders who have visited Israel in recent years were Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
CH/L – nsnbc 05.07.2016
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