Israel builds up its networks in Africa to ensure Red Sea outlet, African Union status

By Olivier Caslin
Posted on Tuesday, 4 January 2022 11:49, updated on Monday, 21 February 2022 14:33

Rwandan President Paul Kagame, right, speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in Kigali on 6 July 2016
Rwandan President Paul Kagame, right, speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in Kigali on 6 July 2016 © CYRIL NDEGEYA/AFP

Under the impetus of Benyamin Netanyahu, Israel has renewed its ties with the continent. After having normalized its relations with many countries, Tel Aviv continues to develop its security and economic cooperation. And hopes to get its AU observer status confirmed.

For several years, Benyamin Netanyahu has hammered the theme: “Israel is back in Africa”.

The former Israeli Prime Minister announced it for the first time during his historic tour of July 2016 in the east of the continent (Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia), then repeated it a year later at the 51st summit of ECOWAS held in Monrovia. He then completed the hat trick in November 2018, following visits by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, his Togolese counterpart Faure Gnassingbé and former Chadian head of state Idriss Déby Itno.

Netanyahu has spared no effort to see his country regain at minimum the influence it had in Africa before its military exploits in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War. The very young Jewish state enjoyed then a certain amount of sympathy with the newly independent African countries.