In a sign of their strengthening ties, the nations of Rwanda and Israel began an official political dialogue this week that marks the first such meeting in the history of the relations of the two countries.
“Today in Kigali, many of my partners in promoting Israel’s ties with Africa took part in the first ever formal diplomatic dialogue between Israel and Rwanda,” said Israeli Ambassador Arthur Lenk in a social media post. Lenk is ambassador to African nations including South Africa and Swaziland.
“Great job by the Israel in Ethiopia team led by my good friend, Ambassador Belaynesh Zebadia,” Lenk added.
The regional Israeli diplomats joined a high-ranking delegation from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led by Israeli ambassador to Rwanda Yoram Elron, as well as Gil Haskel, the head of MASHAV Israel and a deputy director general for the international development aid agency.
The group on Monday toured Rwanda’s Centre for Excellence in horticulture, as part of an overall discussion focused on innovation and entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector.
Talks with the Rwandan National Agricultural Export Development Board and Ministry of Agriculture are meant to solidify the collaboration between the two nations.
Rwanda and Israel have in recent years forged a new relationship that reflects both Rwanda’s interest in economic and technology leadership, as well as Israel’s renewed interest in Africa.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visits to sub-Saharan Africa, including Rwanda, were the first since the late Yitzhak Shamir visited four western African countries in 1987.
Image: NAEB Rwanda