Occasional Papers | Africa & The World, African Initiatives, Foreign Policy, Governance

Israel’s ties with Africa: focus on Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa

This paper approaches Israel’s push into Africa from an African perspective in an effort to highlight what the continent’s leaders can gain from Israel, and vice versa.

Despite close ties in the 1950s and 1960s, an almost complete rupture in relations between Israel and African states occurred around the oil crisis and Yom Kippur War in 1973, over Israel’s captured land and the Palestinian issue. Relations had gradually been restored by the 1990s, but Africa was still generally neglected by Israeli policymakers. Since 2016 Israel has pursued a more visible and vigorous African engagement strategy; a diplomatic drive that was to culminate in the first Africa–Israel Summit in Togo, in October 2017 (since postponed). Despite successfully courting East African countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda, Israel has a long way to go to show African leaders how they will benefit from closer ties.