By Aryeh Savir
As part of his tour to strengthen ties with Africa, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman visited Rwanda on Wednesday. The highlight of the visit was the inauguration of the Rwanda-Israel Center of Excellence for Horticultural Development by Rwandan Minister of Agriculture Agnes Kalibata and Foreign Minister Lieberman.
Earlier in the morning, Minister Lieberman opened the Israel-Rwanda joint economic seminar with the participation of 200 business people. Afterwards, he met with Rwanda 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 Kalibata to set up a special center for advanced horticulture designed for all levels of the farming community, from small holder 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 horticulture productions, and will be made available for applied research and development, training and exhibition.
FM Lieberman also placed a wreath at a memorial to the victims of the Rwandan genocide.
Today (Jun. 12) FM Lieberman and the accompanying Israeli delegation will continue the official visit in Cote d’Ivoire where FM Liberman and Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan will inaugurate a palm oil production plant partly owned by an Israeli company and will participate in other events.
FM Lieberman’s visit to Rwanda is part of a 10-day “strategic visit” to Rwanda, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Ethiopia and Kenya. FM Lieberman is a 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.
FM Liberman will is to 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 Liberman 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, in 2009, 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 is an important goal of 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.”
Tazpit News Agency