In a bid to strengthen international partnerships and boost economic growth, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen is set to lead a trade delegation of Israeli businesspeople to Ghana and Ivory Coast (officially known as the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire) from 24th to 28th July.
The visit marks the promise of cooperation between Israel and West African nations and forms a part of a broader initiative to enhance relations in the region. The delegation will comprise companies from Israel specializing in agriculture and water, solar energy, cleantech, off-grid solutions, waste management, cybersecurity, fintech, and health.
Last week, the Israeli Foreign Minister held a meeting in Nairobi with a leader from an African Islamic country that does not currently have diplomatic ties with Israel. Cohen’s presence in Nairobi came at the invitation of Kenyan President William Ruto and his Kenyan counterpart Alfred Mutua, on the backdrop of the biannual meeting of the African Union. Such engagements hold the potential for mutual benefits through collaborative efforts in various fields and can serve as catalysts to strengthen business relations between Israel and Sub-Saharan countries.
Presently, trade between Israel, Ghana, and Ivory Coast remains relatively limited, illustrating the untapped potential that awaits exploration. In 2022, Israeli exports to Ghana amounted to $21 million, while imports stood at $6.11 million. Similarly, exports to Ivory Coast reached $32.33 million, with imports at $25.5 million, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.
The opportunities for cooperation between Israel and Ghana are concentrated in several key fields:
· Agriculture and Agribusiness: Ghana and Ivory Coast possess rich agricultural resources. Israel’s expertise in irrigation, crop management, and agricultural technology can revolutionize the region’s agricultural productivity. By exchanging knowledge and investing in modern farming practices, Israel can bolster sustainable agriculture and address food security challenges.
· Water Resource Management: Given the threat of climate change and its impact on water availability, Israeli solutions for water conservation, desalination, and wastewater treatment can significantly benefit both nations. Such collaborations can improve access to clean water and contribute to economic and social development.
· Renewable Energy: By fostering investments and knowledge-sharing in solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, Ghana and Ivory Coast can work towards energy independence, reduce carbon emissions, and create job opportunities in the growing green energy sector.
· Healthcare and Medical: Forging partnerships in the healthcare sector can provide Ghana and Ivory Coast with cutting-edge medical equipment, research collaborations, and capacity building in healthcare infrastructure.
Information Technology: Collaborating in the technology sector can grant Ghana and Ivory Coast access to technological innovations, entrepreneurial expertise, and support for nurturing their tech industries.
The forthcoming trade delegation represents a crucial step towards fostering collaboration between Israel, Ghana, and Ivory Coast, holding tremendous potential for mutual growth and prosperity. This venture sets the stage for unlocking the untapped trade potential between these nations and marks a new era of economic cooperation and development in the region.
The writer is the Co-Founder of the Israeli Interest and Awareness in Africa Association (2I3A) and a board member of the Israel-Africa Chamber of Commerce.