United Nations ambassadors from 25 different African countries took part in an event Monday evening to help strengthen Israel-Africa ties.
The event took place with the participation of Sivan Ya'ari, founder of Innovation: Africa, and Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan, as part of Erdan's initiative to boost Israeli relations with different African countries and maintain the Jewish state's observer status in the African Union.
At the event, Erdan and Ya'ari, together with MASHAV – Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation – and other Israeli organizations, presented new initiatives for Africa, such as plans to connect about 2,000 different villages in the continent to running water and renewable energy.
"Israel is constantly investing in and expanding our relationships with African countries. Israeli innovation has already led to the connection of thousands of African villages to water and electricity through many collaborations led by the Foreign Ministry," Erdan said.
"The same spirit and creative energy that made Israel a start-up nation are what makes Africa the continent of the future," he said. "Israel is constantly investing in expanding our relationships and creating new ties with Chad, Morocco, and Sudan, and opening new embassies and trade offices. Israelis and Africans are working together on countless projects. Through MASHAV, we are establishing agricultural centers, building medical centers, empowering farmers, and preserving the environment.
"We are only at the beginning of our journey," the ambassador said. "The strategic alliance between Israel and Africa has the power to stimulate innovation that can change our environment. Unfortunately, there are those who still oppose the strengthening of our relationship and even seek to undo Israel's new status as an observer state in the African Union. This discrimination against Israel – which has a land border with Africa, enjoys relations with 46 African countries and is engaged in development and extensive economic activity – is hypocritical, biased and impairs the progress of our region."
"Tonight's event highlighted the importance of energy in improving the lives of people in Africa," Ya'ari said.
"Through Israeli solar, water and agricultural technologies, Innovation: Africa has already improved the lives of over three million people – and through the partnerships established tonight, we will continue, together, to help millions more."