PM travels to Kenya following summit with seven heads of state in Uganda; Summit focused on future cooperation and development and counterterrorism
Prime Minister Netanyahu met with heads of state from seven African countries Monday evening in Uganda at a summit centered on increasing ties between Israel with African states as well as cooperation in counterterrorism.
Heads of state from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda were part of the summit. The meeting was described by the media as productive and “emphasized the need for increased regional and international co-operation in all fields, including cyber security and information gathering to confront this scourge,” in reference to global terrorism. A joint statement released referred to the summit as “heralds the opening of a new era in relations between Israel and the countries of Africa.”
Netanyahu, who is currently on his second day of his four-day visit to Africa, referred to the summit as a “monumental change in the relations between Israel and Africa”, giving an address in which he stated that the meeting “underscores the fact that we are in a monumental change in the relations between Israel and Africa, beginning here. It is warranted by the great changes that are taking place in the world. We at once have an enormous boost and jump towards development, towards the possibilities of this new century, with all the promises of technology; but at the same time, we have a savage medievalism that seeks to take all our societies back, to destroy them, destroy our freedoms and destroy our hopes.”
The Prime Minister referred to two objectives, those of development and counterterrorism. He stated that improving relations and increased cooperation would “Develop our countries into the future, and fight back the forces that want to take us to a dark past,” expressing that “I believe that we see opportunities in expanding this to Africa as a whole.”
He spoke of Israel’s advanced capabilities in fighting terrorism and innovation and resolve in the fields of water, agriculture and food, stating “we’ve solved our water problem, even though we’re a very dry land. We’ve solved our agricultural problem. We produce, with great productivity, vegetables, dairy…”
Netanyahu stated that Israel is “eager to share this technology in so many fields with our African friends, “ and how “We think that Israel now is the best partner that the countries of Africa could have, and it’s something that is dear to our hearts,” quoting Theodore Herzl who stated “After I liberate the Jewish people, I will go to Africa to help liberate the black people.” The Prime Minister then spoke of Ethiopian Israel stating, “We have our African brethren, the Ethiopian Jews, who are in our society, and I personally work every few weeks to help integrate more and more and incorporate in our society.”
He finished his address expressing his strong belief and commitment for future partnership between African states with Israel stating, “I believe in Africa. I believe in your future and I believe in our partnership for this future. And I believe that this meeting will be seen as a turning point in Israel’s ability to reach a broad number of African countries, which is our goal. We want a better future for you, a better future for all of us, and we think we can be your perfect partners… Israel is coming back to Africa; Africa is coming back to Israel.”
Upon leaving Uganda to travel to Kenya, Netanyahu stated to the press “We want this alliance, this alliance can gradually change. It will take time but we have set a goal, and we will change.”
The Prime Minister will meet with officials in Nairobi and then travel to Rwanda and Ethiopia, where he will meet with Jewish communities and address the Ethiopian Parliament.