Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu: We believe in Kenya, Africa


President Uhuru Kenyatta with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn at State House, Nairobi. PHOTO | PSCU | NMG

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to work with Kenya to fight drought, terrorism, and improve the quality of export cash crops.

Mr Netanyahu asked President Uhuru Kenyatta and other African leaders to absorb Israel to an observer status at the African Union as the security powerhouse seeks to penetrate even more into Africa, a continent it says has great potential.

“I want you to know that Israel is your partner in achieving those goals here in Kenya and everywhere in Africa. We believe in Africa. We believe in Kenya.

"We believe in our friendship. This is something that we translate into actual projects,” said Mr Netanyahu, with 11 African heads of state attending the fete.

PM Netanyahu was speaking when he gave the keynote address at State House, Nairobi, after President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for a second and final term.

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Water technology

Specifically, he said, Israel will work with Kenya on a model farm to produce cash crops for export, as well as centre to fight drought with Israeli water technology.

“Thank you Uhuru for your leadership, thank you for friendship and as we say for ages next year in Jerusalem you are all invited,” said the Israeli PM.

On his third trip to Africa in 18 months, two of them to Kenya, Mr Netanyahu promised to join forces with United States on the ambitious Power Africa to produce 30,000 megawatts (MW) of clean energy and connect 60 million new homes and businesses.

“I have been told a few weeks ago that the United States has asked Israel to be a partner in Power Africa. We would like to work with you and every one of your countries to electrify Africa.

"We believe in Africa. So for every one of your initiatives there will be an initiative on our part to seize the future to make life better and safer for your people,” he said.

Violent extremism

He also pledged to work with the continent to fight violent extremism in the forms of Boko haram, Al-Shabaab, as well as the jihadists in the Sinai that Israel is battling.

“This is a threat to all of us and I believe that we can cooperate with other countries, between us and with others and if we work together we will defeat the barbarians. Our people deserve better, we can provide it for them,” Mr Netanyahu said.

Besides working with them on the individual basis as countries, Mr Netanyahu said, his country could also help on the continental status at the African Union.

“I hope that we all find a way to have Israel become an observer status in the African Union because we can help, we cannot only observe but we can help build together a better future for Africa,” said Mr Netanyahu.