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PMs Modi and Netanyahu Embark on Separate Africa Tours,
Both Seek Increased Ties with Continent
Left: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) walks with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni (R) after arriving to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Operation Entebbe at the Entebbe airport in Uganda, 04JUL16. Reuters
Right: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and South African President Jacob Zuma (R) stand at an arrivals ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria South Africa, 08JUL16, on the second leg of his four nation African tour. AP
This week’s snapshot focuses on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s simultaneous but separate trips to Africa. PM Modi’s five-day tour includes visits to Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya. Ranked high on the agenda were trade, energy, food security, maritime cooperation, diaspora interactions and New Delhi’s efforts to garner support to become the newest member of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group. Observers argue that while the Indian PM was keen to fulfull these objectives, the ultimate purpose of the tour was to jump-start New Delhi’s overall geostrategic position vis-a-vis Beijing.
PM Netanyahu’s East Africa tour, the first visit of its kind for an Israeli leader in over quarter of a century, included Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia. The tour was timed for the PM to visit Entebbe Airport on the 40th anniversary of Operation Entebbe, in which the Israeli leader’s brother was killed in action. PM Netanyahu sought to strengthen ties particularly in the economic arena. He also attempted to begin a mending of diplomatic relations, which have been strained over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Jerusalem’s past Africa policies, such as its support of South Africa’s Apartheid regime.
News summary of events during the week of 04JUL16 – 11JUL16
04JUL: PM Netanyahu arrived in Uganda, marking the 40th anniversary of a hostage rescue in which his brother died. (AFP)
04JUL: Indian Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said PM Modi will visit South Africa, beginning from 08JUL to boost bilateral ties. (Xinhua)
05JUL: PM Netanyahu arrived in Kenya and promised to share intelligence and provide counter-terror assistance. (AFP)
06JUL: During his visit to Rwanda, PM Netanyahu visited a memorial to the 1994 genocide and expressed his sympathies. (AFP)
06JUL: PM Netanyahu toured Nairobi with dozens of Israeli executives, hoping to sell a variety of goods and services while also seeking to win support from AU members for crucial United Nations votes. (NYT)
07JUL: PM Netanyahu secured Ethiopian support for Israel’s application for observer status in the African Union. (AFP)
07JUL: PM Netanyahu denied reports of an attempt on his life in Kenya. (AP)
07JUL: PM Modi left India on his official five-day tour. (Kyodo)
08JUL: PM Modi took his Africa tour to South Africa, seeking to boost trade between two countries that he said “shared values, suffering and struggles”. (AFP)
08JUL: Modi planned to continue his tour with a trip to Tanzania, where he would begin a two-day official visit to enhance historical relations between the two countries. (Xinhua)
09JUL: PM Modi was marking a historic train journey by Indian independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi during the final day of his South African visit. (AP)
10JUL: Tanzania called on Indian investors to invest in large-scale farming and other potential sectors for the east African nation to realize its ambition of becoming a middle-income country before 2025. (Xinhua)
11JUL: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi and agreed to further expand investment ties between the two countries and diversify trade. (AP)
Sample of Twitter handles tweeting about the PMs’ Africa Tours
@petertinti – Peter Tinti, Journalist. Senior Research Fellow at Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime
@vcuonbi – Prof. Peter M.F. Mbithi, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi.
@GabRosenberg – Gabriel Rosenberg, Political adviser, Member of the World Jewish Congress’ Jewish Diplomatic Corps and the World Zionist Organization Sweden.
@LahavHarkov – Lahav Harkov, Senior Knesset Reporter & analyst for The Jerusalem Post.
@AsafRonel – Asaf Ronel, World News Editor, Haaretz
Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the PMs’ Africa Tours
Angelo Izama, Ugandan analyst and co-founder of Fana Kwawote think tank
“Israel has been on a mission to repair its image globally and more specifically within the U.N. where the Africa group has for decades now supported the Palestinian cause, and vote in general toward that end.”
‘Israel’s Netanyahu in Uganda to start 4-nation Africa tour,’ AP, 04JUL16
Na’eem Jeenah, head of the South Africa-based Afro-Middle East Centre
“The manner in which Israel has presented itself to these governments is in terms of huge opportunities [and certain countries would be especially keen to benefit from Israeli agricultural and water technology].”
‘Netanyahu looks to Africa for new allies,’ The Times of Israel, 06APR16
Manish Chand, editor of Africa Quarterly
“The visit marks an unprecedented diplomatic outreach to the African continent and underlines the importance that India places on forging a multi-layered relationship with a rising continent…The visit is not going to be just about the optics. It is underpinned by a substantive agenda encompassing all areas of interest — economic as well as strategic.”
‘India’s Modi heads to Africa with an eye on China,’ AFP, 06JUL16
Anil Gupta, professor of strategy and globalization at the University of Maryland
“This visit is about trade but it’s also about investment and geopolitical connections…India wants to be a maritime leader in the Indian Ocean and because these countries are strategically located on Africa’s east coast, they are of great importance to New Delhi.”
‘Modi begins Africa tour to attract trade, investment, and to offset China,’ CNBC, 06JUL16
Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, chief executive of South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)
“While India and Africa are developing ever closer links in the economic terrain, and share interests in reforming the system of global governance, Indian ‘exceptionalism’ in the nuclear space [i.e. its effort to join the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group] will continue to present obstacles in its African diplomacy.”
‘Modi’s African safari,’ SAIIA, 04JUL16
Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the PMs’ Africa Tours
1. UPDATE: Israel’s Netanyahu starts landmark Africa trip
Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Date: 04 July 2016
Entebbe, Uganda, July 4, 2016 (AFP) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commemorated the 40th anniversary Monday of the Uganda hostage rescue in which his brother died, as he started a “historic” tour seeking new trade partners in Africa.
2. Israel wins Ethiopian support for AU ‘observer’ role
Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Date: 07 July 2016
Addis Ababa, July 7, 2016 (AFP) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s push for his country to be granted “observer status” at the African Union gained the backing of continental heavyweight Ethiopia on Thursday.
3. India’s Modi leaves on 4-nation tour to Africa
Media: Kyodo (Japan)
Date: 07 July 2016
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi left on an official five-day tour of four African nations late Wednesday night.
He is due to arrive in Mozambique Thursday morning and then travel to South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.
4. India’s Modi meets Zuma on Africa tour
Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Date: 08 July 2016
Pretoria, July 8, 2016 (AFP) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took his Africa tour to South Africa on Friday, seeking to boost trade between two countries that he said “shared values, suffering and struggles”.
5. India’s Modi marks Gandhi’s historic South African ride
Media: Associated Press
Date: 09 July 2016
DURBAN, South Africa (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday was marking a historic train journey by Indian independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi during the final day of his South African visit.
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