World Bulletin / News Desk
Netanyahu, who arrived in the capital Nairobi on the second-leg of a four state trip, said his country wanted to reestablish ties with the continent. Israel supported many African states’ independence struggle in the 1960s until Arab pressure and Israeli links to South Africa’s apartheid regime created a split.
President Uhuru Kenyatta welcomed the prime minister to the State House in Nairobi with a 19-gun salute before the leaders signed a raft of agreements on trade, health, immigration, security, agriculture and economic cooperation.
“Our friendship as two nations stems from way back to our independence and we have consistently acknowledged the support that Israel has given to Kenya,” Kenyatta said in a joint news conference outside the State House. “This visit will begin a new stage of collaboration between Kenya and Israel.”
Part of the appeal for Kenya is Israel’s anti-terrorism expertise in helping subdue the threat from groups such as al-Shabaab.
“We will unite with Kenya to fight the forces that aim to drag us into a dark past,” Netanyahu said. “This means that we want to cooperate with you on development on one side and security on the other side. We have overcome over 100 years of terrorism. We discussed and will continue to discuss how we can help you to battle these enemies of our civilization.”
Later the leaders opened a Kenya-Israel business forum attended by more than 80 Israeli business figures looking for investment opportunities in Kenya.
“You can be part of the yeast in this cake,” Netanyahu told them at the Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel.
Kenyatta highlighted agriculture and trade as sectors offering sizeable profits for investors.
“The phenomenon of Israel’s economic success remains a global inspiration and speaks to many countries, including this one,” he said, emphasizing Kenya’s natural resources, young population and strategic location as an access point to an African market of more than 600 million people.
“Our countries haven’t exploited the full extent of our economic cooperation capabilities,” the Kenyan leader said.