A delegation of Israeli government officials visited the central African nation of Chad this month to discuss bilateral economic ties.

The delegation to Chad—a Muslim-majority nation—was led by Economy and Industry Ministry Foreign Trade Administration export-policy director Itai Melchior, as well as other officials from regional cooperation ministry, the agriculture and rural development ministry, and the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute.

According to the Israeli government, the delegation met with ministers and director generals from the ministries of economy, finance, agriculture, water, energy, communications, education and health. Meetings were also held with international partners such as representatives from the World Bank and the U.S. embassy, in order to consider increased foreign investment in Chad.

The local chamber of commerce invited the delegation to meet with leading local businesspeople in order to consider cooperation with the Israeli business sector. The government mining company briefed the delegation on the relevant economic potential of Chad.

Melchior noted that delegation members were impressed by efforts of the Chadian government and private sector to cooperate with Israel.

“After an intensive two days of meetings, I can say with certainty that there is definitely room for cooperation with both the government and the business sector,” he said. “I assume that we will see Chadian visits to Israel soon in order to continue the dialogue.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a historic visit to Chad earlier this year, where he announced the re-establishment of ties. Late last year, Chadian President Idriss Déby became the country’s first leader to make an official visit to Israel.

The renewal of ties with Chad are part of a larger effort by Netanyahu to forge closer relations with non-traditional allies in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Netanyahu also views it as an opportunity for Israel to assist other countries with humanitarian needs, economic development and water technology, and for Israel to gain support in international bodies like the United Nations, which have traditionally been hostile to the Jewish state.

“The developing ties between Chad and Israel are part of the fabric of Israel’s relations with countries in the region,” said Regional Cooperation Ministry director general Joseph Draznin. “This fabric combines both bilateral and regional cooperation between Israel and African, Mediterranean and Persian Gulf countries in energy, water, agriculture and technology.”

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