Israel’s premier environmental organization is lending its knowledge to Kenya, helping the African country to restore forests in dry areas.

The Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), an Israeli charitable organization specializing in the development of Israeli land and infrastructure, signed a memorandum of understanding with Kenya to help the African nation restore forests in dry areas, the Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

The agreement will govern how KKL-JNF will assist Kenya in forestation and optimal water utilization efforts.

At the signing ceremony in Jerusalem, KKL-JNF chairman Danny Atar said the memorandum “illustrates the great importance KKL-JNF holds as an international environmental organization in sharing its knowledge and experience with the world.”

“Through support in and development of arid and semi-arid regions in Kenya, which suffer from a lack of food security, KKL-JNF helps prevent climate refugee emigration and radicalization in the area,” he added.

Dry land ecosystems often do not get the attention they deserve, even though they comprise roughly 40 percent of habitable land and are home to some 30 percent of the world’s population, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, said at the ceremony.

Because these areas face significant ecological challenges, they are often populated by some “the most disenfranchised and marginalized people in the world,” she noted.

“As we proceed to implement the MoU, we shall come up with designs and appropriate mechanisms for restoration of degraded dry land spaces and the establishment of forests in the dry lands,” she stated.

Israel has helped Africa technologically in a number of sectors, particularly in agriculture by introducing techniques such as drip irrigation, which is especially useful in arid climates.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made improving relations with African nations a priority. In his address to AIPAC last March, he observed that Israel has “diplomatic relations with 161 countries, more than at any time in our history.”

Last July, he made an 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.

Israel has a long history of sharing its expertise with African countries. 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: The Tower and United with Israel Staff