PM Netanyahu meets with leaders of African countries in Nairobi, Kenya. (Haim Zach/GPO) (Haim Zach/GPO)
Netanyahu Africa

During his visit to Kenya, PM Netanyahu announced that Israel will open an embassy in Kigali, Rwanda, declaring that Israel wants to work with African countries to “electrify” the continent. 

Prime Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame while in Nairobi, Kenya, and informed him that Israel will be opening an embassy in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

“We are opening a new embassy in the Rwandan capital Kigali as part of Israel’s expanding presence in Africa and the deepening of cooperation between Israel and the countries of Africa,” Netanyahu sated.

The leaders also discussed the possibility of opening a direct air link between the two countries.

This is Netanyahu’s third visit to Africa in 18 months, and his second visit to Kenya, where he arrived to attend the inauguration of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Israel Wants to Electrify Africa

During a celebratory lunch at the Presidential Palace, Netanyahu told the African leaders in attendance that Israel would like to help bring electricity to Africa. Netanyahu told the gathering, “We believe in Africa. So for every, every one of your initiatives, there will be an initiative on our part to seize the future, to make life better and safer for your people. It’s good for you, it’s good for us, it’s good for Africa.”

Netanyahu called on the African leaders to “contend with the various challenges facing the region, including Islamic terrorism. “If we work together we will defeat the barbarians. Our people deserve better, we can provide it for them,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu also referred to Israel’s attempt to become an observer to the African Union. “I hope that we will all find a way to have Israel become an observer in the African Union because we can help, we can not only observe, we can help build together a better future for Africa. This is our goal,” Netanyahu concluded.

Netanyahu also met on the sidelines with the presidents of Gabon, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda, South Sudan, Botswana and Namibia, as well as with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

Netanyahu was last in the African country in July 2016 and has made improving relations with African nations a priority.

In his address to AIPAC last March, Netanyahu observed that Israel has “diplomatic relations with 161 countries, more than at any time in our history.”

Last July, he made a historic trip to East Africa, where he visited Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia. Weeks later, the Republic of Guinea, a Muslim-majority African nation, restored diplomatic ties with Israel after a 49-year break.

In August, Senegal and Guinea, two Muslim-majority West African nations, sent their first-ever full-time ambassadors to Israel.

Israel has a long history of sharing its expertise with African countries, and Jerusalem hopes that stronger ties will lead to a shift in voting trends at the UN and other global forums, thus reversing what Netanyahu has labeled the “automatic majority against Israel.”

By: United with Israel Staff