Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed President Edgar Chagwa Lungu of Zambia to Israel on Tuesday, offering him assurances “of our friendship and our commitment to our relationship.”
Netanyahu recalled having met Lungu last July in Uganda and expressed his hope that they would meet again in few months.
Lungu is visiting Israel with a contingent of ministers, including from the departments of foreign affairs, agriculture, trade, industry and employment, energy, tourism, water development and environment, transportation, and health.
Netanyahu referred to the opening of the Zambian embassy in Israel a year and a half ago, noting that the two nations have begun cooperating in “water, agriculture, education and also security, defense, anti-terrorism.” He added that Israel will be sending experts in alternative energy to Zambia, and that Zambia is set to open a synagogue and a museum devoted to Jewish history in its capital city. “I hope one day I have the opportunity to visit those institutions and to visit Zambia,” Netanyahu remarked.
The Israeli prime minister pledged that “Israel is coming back to Africa,” a theme he mentioned several times over the past year, and said that he was scheduled to attend a summit in the West African nation of Togo in a few months “to discuss Israeli technology in so many areas, in agriculture, in water, in cyber security.”
The prime minister also praised Zambia for undergoing “an amazing and admirable change in a transition to democracy since the 90s.”
On his Facebook page, Lungu said, “On this official trip to Israel, we revisit our rich history as we seek to work together in various sectors for the mutual benefit of our people.”
— Edgar Chagwa Lungu (@EdgarCLungu) March 1, 2017
Last year witnessed a series of diplomatic breakthroughs for Israel, especially in Africa. After Netanyahu embarked on a historic tour of East Africa in July, Israel restored diplomatic ties with the Muslim-majority nation of Guinea after a 49-year gap. In September, Netanyahu met with 15 African heads of state and ambassadors at the United Nations General Assembly.
In the February 2017 issue of The Tower Magazine, Seth Frantzman highlighted the history of MASHAV, Israel’s international development agency, which has helped numerous African nations make the best use of their often limited resources. MASHAV deputy chief Yuval Fuchs told Frantzman that MASHAV’s advantage comes from the fact that it focuses on implementation. This means that “the countries have the ability to continue with MASHAV-generated projects long after the Israelis have left.”
[Photo: GPO ]