Thursday, 20 Jun 2019 - 17 of Sivan, 5779

Opening of an Israeli embassy in Rwanda reflects deepening ties and cooperation between the two countries

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The inauguration of the Israeli embassy in Kigali, brings the total number of Israeli embassies in Sub-Saharan Africa to twelve.

KIGALI—Israel  has opened an embassy in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, an opening which reflects the unprecedented cooperation and ties between the two countries.

While Israel and Rwanda re-established diplomatic ties in 1994, the inauguration of the embassy marks the first time that Israel will maintain a resident ambassador in Kigali.

Since 1994, Israeli-Rwandan relations have grown in nearly every field, from agriculture, to public health to tourism.

Israel and Rwanda share many similarities and goals. Both countries have thrived in the face of adversity, rebuilding in the aftermath of tragedy.

In recent years, there has been an increase in high-level state visits between the two countries. In 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Rwanda and in 2017, Rwandan President Paul Kagame visited Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Kagame also met in Nairobi in November of 2017.

“The cooperation between our countries is thriving in many fields, including technology, agriculture, energy and security. We appreciate what Israel has to offer us in these areas and in other areas, and we are very happy to work with you.”- said President   Kageme in 2017.

On Monday, Israel’s Ambassador to Rwanda, Ron Adam and the head of MASHAV, – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, Gil Haskel, inaugurated the Rwanda-Israel Horticulture Center of Excellence in Kigali. The Center of Excellence which is a joint project of MASHAV and the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, will train local farmers in Israeli agro-technologies and methods. The center is the first of its kind in Africa.

Since 1994, more than 500 Rwandans have participated in MASHAV agricultural courses.

In the coming months, Rwanda’s National air carrier, Rwandan Air will launch direct flights between Tel Aviv and Kigali, increasing business and tourism ties between the two countries.

This milestone will not only bridge between the Israeli and Rwandan people, but will connect Israel to the larger African continent and help further strengthen ties between Israel and other African nations, the Israeli foreign ministry said.

The inauguration of the Israeli embassy in Kigali, brings the total number of Israeli embassies in Sub-Saharan Africa to twelve.

Israel’s relationship with the African continent began in the years following Israel’s independence. When many African countries including Rwanda established independence in the early 1960s, Israel which was a young country at the time, viewed these countries as partners and was eager to share its experiences in development and capacity building.

More than six decades later, ties between Israel and the African continent continue to reach new heights. Since 2016, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has traveled to Africa four times and Israel has established official diplomatic relations with Chad and Guinea (Conakry). In addition, four African countries, Rwanda, Zambia, Tanzania and South Sudan have inaugurated embassies in Israel in recent years.

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