For the first time in decades, an Israeli prime minister will visit Africa in an effort to improve and strengthen Israel’s relations with the countries there. Prime Minister Netanyahu will visit Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah embarked on Monday on an historic visit to Africa, after decades in which no Israeli prime minister has visited the continent. Netanyahu has set improving and strengthening relations with African countries as a prime objective. He will visit Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
Before taking off from Ben Gurion Airport, Netanyahu said that the trip was important “from diplomatic, economic and security perspectives and I am pleased that Israel is going back to Africa in a big way. We are opening Africa to Israel again.”
“All Africa is excited by this visit and I am very excited as well,” the Israeli premier declared.
The four-day visit will begin with a summit meeting attended by leaders from seven African countries in Uganda, where President Yoweei Museveni will welcome Netanyahu and his entourage in an official ceremony with a 19-gun salute.
In Entebbe, an official ceremony will be held to mark 40 years since the Entebbe raid to rescue Israelis held hostage by PFLP and German terrorists. Soldiers who participated in the operation as well as some of those who were rescued will be in attendance.
Netanyahu will also meet with East African heads of state and make an historic speech before the Ethiopian Parliament.
The prime minister is accompanied by approximately 80 business people from over 50 Israeli companies who are seeking to forge commercial ties with African companies and countries.
Economic seminars will be held in Kenya and Ethiopia with the participation of the accompanying business people and their local counterparts. The seminars are under the auspices of Kenyan President Kenyatta, Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn Boshe and Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Last week, Israel’s Cabinet passed an approximately NIS 50 million plan to strengthen economic links and cooperation with African countries.
“The African continent constitutes vast potential for Israel in many areas. Many countries seek to open their gates to Israel and we will realize this desire for their benefit and for the benefit of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu stated when the plan was approved.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
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