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Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman visits 200 business people in Rwanda to enhance economic ties between the 2 nations

By Mason White 3:58 PM June 12, 2014
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Rwanda (center) 

By: Aryeh Savir
The Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, is currently in Rwanda, to forge closer business ties between the two countries, the Tazpit News Agency reported.

As part of his tour to strengthen ties with Africa, Lieberman inaugurated the Rwanda-Israel Center of Excellence for Horticultural Development along with Rwandan Minister of Agriculture Agnes Kalibata.

Lieberman opened the Israel-Rwanda joint economic seminar with the participation of 200 business people. Afterwards, he met with President Paul Kagame, and with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Louise Mushikiwabo, with whom he signed a memorandum of understanding to upgrade relations between the two countries.

The Center of Excellence for Horticultural Development was established by MASHAV (Hebrew acronym for Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation) following a request made by the Minister of Agriculture of Rwanda to set up a special center for advanced horticulture designed for all levels of the farming community, from smallholder farmers to commercial farmers.

The design and implementation of the project were carried out by CINADCO, MASHAV’s main professional and operational affiliate for international agricultural rural development cooperation. The center is based on the Indo-Israel model of “Centers of Excellence in Agriculture,’’ and includes production of 4 main products, transfer of knowledge, capacity building and demonstration, agro-inputs (nurseries for better seedlings and varieties) and fresh produce.

The center will display a wide range of technologies for horticultural productions, and will be made available for applied research and development, training and exhibition. Lieberman also placed a wreath at a memorial to the victims of the Rwandan genocide.

Lieberman and the accompanying Israeli delegation will continue the official visit in Cote d’Ivoire where Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan will inaugurate a palm oil production plant partly owned by an Israeli company.

Lieberman’s visit to Rwanda is part of a 10-day “strategic visit” to Rwanda, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Ethiopia and Kenya. Lieberman is accompanied by a delegation from the Israel Export Institute that will include representatives from some 50 Israeli companies, with the goal of developing the economic ties between Israel and those countries.

Lieberman will meet with the presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and other ministers of the countries he will be visiting, and will hold collaborative financial-business seminars.

Prior to the visit, FM Lieberman stated: “I see great importance to investment in Africa, in the humanitarian, economic and political spheres. There are many areas where Israel can help with aid and development: Agriculture, water management, medicine, and more. We have established partnerships with various countries for investment in Africa, including the United States, Canada, and Italy, and the highlight is the African Initiative, a joint project with Germany that was decided upon during the last meeting of the Israeli and German governments.”

“The relationship with African countries is of prime strategic importance for the State of Israel, from the security, diplomatic and economic standpoints as well as on many other levels. At the beginning of the term of the previous government, I visited Africa – the first time in many years that an Israeli foreign minister visited the region – and since then, we have seen the positive outcome that has resulted in the strengthening of cooperation in fields that are important to both Israel and the African countries. I will continue to strengthen these ties and extend them to other countries and issues. Africa plays an important role in Israeli foreign policy, and we will make a diplomatic effort to ensure that Israel will be accepted in the coming year as an observer in the African Union.”