Israel rediscovers Africa

As Dov Zerah wrote in a column Benillouche : “From 2004 to 2005, Africa is experiencing exceptional growth of over 5%, against 2.6% in the 80 and 2.3% in the 90’s afro optimism has taken over the indifference to the continent, or the Afro pessimism. Titles, adjectives and superlatives continue to flourish, “The Vibrant Africa”, “Africa emerging,” “Revenge of Africa”, “The Eldorado of the XXI century”, the potential breadbasket of the world the future workshop of the world, the emergence of made in Africa … Africa has become the darling of officials, observers, economists, investors … and most of all those who had forgotten Africa for fifteen years, attracted by the light of Asia. “

 

Netanyahu’s trip to commemorate the Entebbe operation puts Africa to date. Flourishing after their independence, African countries had reduced their relations to a level almost nonexistent for political reasons. Admittedly, the former foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, was the first in 2009 to try to reconnect with the continent by focusing its policy on economic issues that were consensus. 

 

From 2 to 10 September 2009, he visited successively Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda to strengthen economic relations with Africa in the fields of energy, agriculture, irrigation, infrastructure or security with the underlying idea of fighting Iran attempting to establish themselves.

 

The Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni, had summarized in its own way in 2007 this question: “The beginning of relations between Israel and Africa dates from the mid-twentieth century. 1957 to be exact, with the opening of a diplomatic representation in Ghana. In fact, one could say that they were born there three thousand years, when the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon. It is true that they have had their ups and downs – they flourished in the 1950s and 1960s, non-existent in the 1970s and reborn in 1980 and 1990. Today, relations between Israel and the vast majority African countries can be described as excellent. “

 

Israel was in a common destiny with Africa because they had to get rid of colonial rule and highlight dryland, plus they had a slave past. The Israelis need Africa to break their isolation from the Arab countries in the United Nations. They would return to the idyllic years in 1960 when Israel opened over thirty embassies in Africa through the provision of experts, training of elite military units and sale of weapons. Indeed, ten countries received an Israeli military aid.

 

The war of the 1967 Six Day gave a sudden stop to these relationships as a victim of colonialism, Israel became a state for Africans  “conqueror.” The Yom Kippur War in 1973 decided a real break with all African countries. With the exception of Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland, all countries had severed diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, which was then returned to racist South Africa. Everything became reason to condemn the Israelis with the inadmissible resolution 3379 UN equating Zionism and racism, which has since been canceled. The tolerable limit was exceeded.

In the name of realpolitik, the absence of official relations did not prevent the economic and especially military ties. In the 1970s, Israel exported 35% of its arms in Africa. Trade with Nigeria, Kenya and Zaire had increased. Businessmen replaced the diplomats in the embassies. Security pharmacies ensured the close protection of some African leaders like the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Zaire, Togo and Gabon.

 

The Camp David Accords in 1978 opened new prospects in 1982 and Mobutu Sese Seko in the former Zaire, was the first to restore diplomatic relations, followed by Liberia (1983), Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon (1986) and Togo (1987). For the repatriation of Ethiopian Jews, Israel agreed to supply weapons to Marxist dictator Mengistu. But smarting from the African ambiguous behavior, Israel preferred to look to Europe, the United States and the countries of the former USSR. 

 

However, despite the vicissitudes of official relations, the private sector continued its particularly with the diamond trade and security companies often work in agreement with the Mossad. Africa buys some sophisticated weaponry but Israel gets progressively foot on the African continent. All countries have resumed their relations with the exception of Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

 

Today, the business is paramount in the fields of agriculture, industry, telephony and security and surveillance. South Africa is the largest trading partner of Israel in the continent since the end of apartheid. 800 Israeli companies are present there without any ideological concern. Across the continent, trade is growing strongly. They went from $ 430 million in 1990 to over 2 billion in 2013. Avigdor Lieberman was accompanied by about twenty businessmen whose expertise is recognized.

 

Israeli Prime Minister took the commemoration of the Entebbe operation to revive relations with Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda. Despite repeated gaffes Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni, Netanyahu did not hold it against him for his ignorance of the Balfour Declaration nor its persistence to consider Israel as Palestine. diplomatic interest requires. Israel refuses to intervene in the internal affairs of States and for proof, one measures the gap between the energetic democracy in Kenya and the brutal and technocratic dictatorships of Rwanda and Ethiopia, but their high growth rate on account balance . Democracy is a relative concept in Africa. Museveni has been in power for 30 years in Uganda as President Paul Kagame in Rwanda

 

Netanyahu, however, chose a visit to countries that are not the closest friends of Israel. On the contrary, their leaders had opposed Israeli policy well before they come to power. But Israel seeking new international partners and is interested in the emerging economies of Africa who need the kind of advanced technology, development and security assistance in which Israel excels. This is the pragmatic side that emerges from this diplomacy. It is also often refers to trade with China is not a model of democracy.

 

The names of Israeli groups in Africa are less known than those of Dan Gertler and Benny Steinmetz, mining magnates who have long considered the African continent as a land expansion for Israel that sells its expertise in engineering, the agronomy, irrigation and security. Among the biggest current projects include the power plant to natural gas Songon-Dagbe built in Abidjan by the Israeli group Telemania for $ 500 million.

 

Israelis have long disdained Africa in favor of more promising opportunities in the United States, Britain and China. Besides reading the statistics IEICI (Israel Export Institute and International Cooperation) Africa is part of the “rest of world” alongside Turkey, Canada and Brazil, the rest representing 24 % of Israel’s foreign sales.

 

 In 2013, South Africa, Togo, Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya were ranked among the major trading partners. Togo, ranked second, imported from Israel for $ 191 million dollars against 64 million in 2012. South Africa, head of the partners with the diamond industry, imported goods and capital goods equipment for $ 425 million in 2013 (including 147 million of diamonds). Sales of ores and precious metals from South Africa to Israel amounted to 721 million dollars (283 million diamonds).

The flow of diamonds between the two countries can be explained because the diamond Tel Aviv import raw gems and export of cut stones. The remaining information regarding agro-technology and information technology, renewable energy and water treatment.

The trade balance is mostly in favor of Israel. Nigeria, which only sells for $ 10 million to Israel imported $ 155 million of Israeli goods in 2013 (against 368 million in 2012). Egypt bought 120 million of goods to Israel in 2013 (against 97 million in 2012) and sold it for $ 108 million. Kenya imported $ 91 million (against 120 million in 2012), but has sold its products only up to $ 27 million.

 

Israel has particular friendships in Africa with Togo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who also had returned to Israel in the 1980s, long before the members of the Union Africa who had broken in 1973.

 

The Israeli audience, which began in Ivory Coast with Laurent Gbagbo, was extended with Alassane Ouattara who has maintained good relations with Jerusalem because he had Stanley Fischer, Governor of the Central Bank of Israel among his friends after having coasted the IMF (International monetary Fund). The safety of the Autonomous Port of Abidjan and the international airport Felix Houphouet-Boigny is provided by subsidiaries of Israeli-Canadian company Visual Defence.

 

In September 2009, Avigdor Lieberman, had favored English speaking countries, especially those engaged in the fight against the Islamists in Somalia. The result was expressed in June 2012 with a delegation of five Governors of African Central Banks (Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Swaziland and Zambia) which is thus made in Israel to have its own perception of Israel .

Israel seems to have rediscovered Africa.

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