Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Wednesday in Jerusalem with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, with their discussion focusing on strengthening economic and diplomatic ties while increasing bilateral cooperation in the fields of agriculture and food security.
“I’m delighted to welcome President Hichilema to Jerusalem. This is an expression of the tremendous friendship between Zambia and Israel,” said Netanyahu.
“We’re discussing so many ways that we can further improve our relations for the benefit of both our peoples, and also for Israel’s return to Africa. Israel is coming back to Africa; Africa is coming back to Israel. And I think it’s for the betterment of everyone,” he added.
The leaders also discussed ways to encourage expanded Israeli investment in Zambia and improve access to Israeli innovation in order to advance relations between the two countries.
On Tuesday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog hosted Hichilema, with the two men focusing on deepening bilateral trade and cooperation, as well as on the threats posed by Iran.
“Economic success is anchored in trade and investments,” Hichilema said. “That is why I want to explore the opportunities within the relationship between us, in light of the tremendous experience that Israel has in the field of technology in agriculture, health and water and more.”
Hichilema noted that he completed his undergraduate studies at a school in Zambia built by Israel, saying, “This is just one example of our ongoing relationship over the years.”
On Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with his Zambian counterpart Stanley Kakubo, with the two signing several cooperation agreements.
“Africa is blossoming and so is the potential for relations between Israel and countries on the continent,” said Cohen, adding: “Zambia is an important nation for Israel in Africa, which is interested in strengthening relations with us.”
Last week, Cohen and his counterpart from the Ivory Coast, Kandia Camara, signed framework deals in the fields of agriculture, water and technology.
Cohen led a business delegation to the Israel-Ivory Coast Economic Forum in the West African nation.
A day earlier, Cohen met with Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey in Accra, in a bid to strengthen Israel’s position within the African Union.
Earlier this month, Cohen met with a senior official of an African Muslim country with no diplomatic ties to the Jewish state.
The development occurred in the context of Israel’s push to expand the Abraham Accords and counter Iranian influence in Africa. The Foreign Ministry told Ynet News that “normalization contacts are being held with several African countries, including Niger, Mali and Mauritania.”
The meeting took place during a 10-hour visit to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi at the invitation of the African nation’s president, William Ruto, and foreign minister, Alfred Mutua. While there, the top Israeli diplomat attended the African Union’s Mid-Year Coordination Meeting.