Sharon Bar-Li, Deputy Director-general, African Department, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
By Lizzy Okoji
The State of Israel has reaffirmed its commitment to support Nigeria in driving its technology, innovative sectors, building entrepreneurship among the youths to boost the nation’s economy.
Some Officials of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs made this known during meetings with a delegation of Nigerian journalist on a tour of Israel on Tuesday in Jerusalem.
They said that Israel is known for its high technology, innovation which it successfully used to transform its nation to a developed one irrespective of its numerous challenges.
Sharon Bar-Li, Deputy Director-general, African Department, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Israel’s aim is to transfer knowledge to a society and ensure sustainability of such programmes by training and empowering local partners.
“We have continued working with African countries making the Israeli technology available.
“Here, it is really not about the know-how, transferring knowledge, transferring technology, but the idea of working with Israel is about the do how because we have the experience.
“Just several years ago we were a developing country and therefore we are in a very good position to work together with your countries.
“One of the fields that Israel have decide to master, and if you like to use as a spearhead in its activities in African countries is around a sector of innovation and entrepreneurship.
“Israel is described as the start-up nation, country of innovation. This restlessness that we have is the key engine to innovation.
“Although the traditional sectors of agriculture, water and health are still very relevant when working with African countries, we have realized that many African countries have entrepreneurial elements in which Israel and Israeli can connects with naturally.
“And this is where we identify a good area, a common denominator where we can work together,” Bar Li said.
Bar-Li said that one of Israel’s sustainable development programmes in Africa is the establishment of its Development Agency, MASHAV’s Innovative Hub (Innov-Hub) in Abuja for aspiring researchers.
She said that Israel will be replicating the innovative hub for young entrepreneurs in every capital country of Africa where it has a Mission.
She said that the policy is geared at entrepreneurship and innovation touching different fields in so many different sectors to create cohorts of young entrepreneur, and a network that can contribute to their economy, their communities, with Israeli’s support.
“This is the direction we have been taking in serval years in Africa, the MASHAV laboratory outside Abuja.
“Following the success, we emulated and established one in Accra and now we are looking at putting another one in Dakar Senegal.
“And the vision is to have such centers of excellence and innovations in each of the countries in which we have an Embassy,” Bar-Li said.
Mr Emmanuel Nachshon, Deputy Director-general, Public Diplomacy, Israeli Foreign Ministry said that Israel have specialists going to different part of the world and helping them build a better economy.
He explained that what makes the Israeli phyilisopshy very special as opposed to other countries is that they come to build projects that the people can understand, train them on it to be dependent and not reliant on them.
“What we are looking for is partnerships at which local people are part of the project. That they are not just recipients of the projects because that is the only way to make it work.
“If you are a rich country, the easiest thing to say is that I will buy them fish but it is a big mistake because if you buy them fish, people will not fish themesleves.
“So what you need to do is help them create better sources of nourishment to catch those fish and this is what we try to do.
“What is unique about Israel is that we have no colonialist past, so it means we come with clean hands. These results are successful and they contribute to humanity,” Nachshon said.
Amb. Eynat Shlein, MASHAV’s Deputy-director said that MASAHAV’s activities are visible in Nigeria with more projects and programmes to be facilitated by MASHAV.
“We worked in Nigeria on various projects in recent years. I hope you have heard of the I fair, the innovation workshop that is going on for the third year.
“There were a lot of participants in the training that is going in for the third time and it is a very successful model.
“Israeli government holds hands with the Israeli private sector and of course with Nigerian partners and offer innovative training for young Nigerians. More collaborations on trainings in the coming years,” Shlein said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Sadiya Hamza