AFRICANGLOBE – Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel will support Ethiopia to develop its water resources by enhancing its agriculture systems.
During his brief speech in front of the Ethiopian parliament, Netanyahu said: “Ethiopia is moving in the right direction, and we will support it by enforcing its development projects.”
The Israeli prime minister also said that he discussed “the danger of terrorism” with the leaders of seven African countries.
Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that his country supports the Israeli request to join the African Union as an observer.
“Israel works hard in several African countries, and there is no reason to prevent it from being a supervisor,” Desalegn said. “We want Israel to be a part of our African system,” he added.
Netanyahu said that all African countries can benefit from cooperating with Israel.
Ethiopia and Kenya supported the Israeli request to become an observer in the African Union, while many other African countries opposed it.
Nader Noureddine, a professor of water resources, believes that the media exaggerated the effect of Netanyahu on Africa. “This is the most unsuccessful visit of an Israeli official to Africa,” Noureddine told reporters.
According to Noureddine, the visit was racist, as Netanyahu asked the seven African leaders to hold a meeting against “Islamic terrorism”.
Regarding the Israeli request to enter the African Union as an observer, Noureddine said that the law will prevent this as it stipulates that to qualify as a supervisor the country must not be occupying any other country’s lands.
Israel previously decided to support agriculture in Africa and is now ready to pump $13m into the sector.
This amount is below what Egypt is investing in Africa’s development, which ranges between $20m and $50m.
Israel owns 400,000 acres in Ethiopia, used to produce flowers that are exported to the Netherlands, according to Noureddine.
“The Israeli experts are helping Ethiopia move from the rain-fed agriculture to irrigation,” he added. The irrigation agriculture will depend on rivers, including the Nile and other rivers in Ethiopia.
Israel is not directly participating in supporting the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), but it has signed contracts with Ethiopia to transport the electricity to be produced by the GERD inside Ethiopia.
The GERD has strained relations between Ethiopia and Egypt since construction began in 2011, with relations reaching their lowest point in 2013.
Arab-African relations are “good” and should not be negatively affected by the recent visit of Netanyahu, the newly elected Arab League secretary general Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Tuesday, as reported by state media.
Aboul Gheit addressed reporters saying that the African Union is supporting the Palestinian cause, while adding that Netanyahu’s visits to Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda aim to “break Israel’s international solitary status which is there due to its occupation of Arab lands, and its racist actions”.
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