Israel’s Development Plans in Africa
By admin June 29, 2017

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Over the past few years Israel has ramped up its effort to expand its economy into emerging markets in the developing world.  In May 2016 the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry visited the Ivory Coast and Ghana to meet with officials to discuss development efforts.  Israel received aid from the World Bank until the 1979’s and has since become a global leader in technology and attracted hundreds of multi-national corporations into its borders. One of Israel’s goals is to move its limited capital into sectors of the African economy through partnerships with governments and other NGO’s that are already established in the continent.

Zafrir Asaf, the Director of Financial Institutions and Emerging Markets at the Ministry of Economy and Industry, recently had an interview discussing Israel’s development ambitions.  Asaf states that there are three primary assumptions that Israel bases its development strategy on.  The first is the fact that since Israel is a small country it cannot put out hundreds of millions of dollars in resources to advance development. Secondly, is the notion that the Israeli public is out of the loop when it comes to development. Currently the general public has not reached a general concensus on foreign development and the government needs to educate and inform the public to gain greater support for development.  Finally, since Africa is such a large continent, development efforts need to be focused on certain countries which have been primarily identified in East Africa and sub-Saharan West Africa.

One of the major industry’s that Israel hopes to put its efforts toward is the high-tech industry.  Over the past couple of decades Israel’s booming high-tech sector has pushed the country into the frontier of technological innovation.  Although much of the development effort comes from the government, the private sector has also played a large role in expanding the Israeli development strategy.  The Israeli energy company, Energiya Global, recently announced it would invest $20 million in a new solar field to supply energy in Liberia.  Last September, Israel hosted the “Israeli Technology and Innovation for Africa” event at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The goal of the event was to showcase emerging technology and Israeli companies at the forefront of research to African delegations to the UN.

With Africa’s population expected to account for 50 percent of the global population by 2050, the use of technology will continue to grow exponentially.  According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), there was a 58 percent mobile broadband growth rate in Africa between 2015 and 2016.  This surge in broadband will only continue to expand as Africa has one of the fastest-growing middle classes in the world.  Israel’s development efforts, although not as large of a scale as other industrialized countries, will be an integral part of providing technological innovation to a rapidly industrializing Africa.

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