The Liberian President has been on an official state visit to Israel since Tuesday, February 26th, where he met the Prime Minister of the Hebrew State in Jerusalem on Thursday. This was an opportunity for Georges Weah to present to Israeli businessmen the investment opportunities in his country and the opportunity to support his strategy to fight poverty.
Liberia is one of Israel’s few and faithful allies in Africa and particularly in West Africa. In November 2007, Benyamin Netanyahu had already paid an official state visit, at the invitation of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, to attend a summit of ECOWAS heads of state.
Georges Weah, who came to power in January 2018, is still struggling to deliver on his promises of change and, above all, prosperity for the population, which continues to pay the heavy price for the years of civil war that the country witnessed in the 1990s. In search of new support, his visit to Tel Aviv is mainly part of a mobilization of funding for several initiatives he has launched in order to fight poverty.
Netanyahu welcomed Israel’s “return to Africa”
In a meeting on Thursday evening with his Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin, the Liberian President said he had “come to Israel to see how to work together for the well-being of [both] people”, according to a statement by the Israeli Presidency.
For his part, the Israeli president, known for his passion for football, spoke of Weah’s exceptional career in football, stating that his interlocutor “had brought happiness to people all over the world”, including Netanyahu himself. “Our hearts are open to you, let us make sure that this is the beginning of an intense and deep relationship between our countries,” Rivlin added.
The Israeli Prime Minister also welcomed Israel’s “return to Africa”, echoing a formula he has often repeated in recent years. Benjamin Netanyahu has launched diplomatic and economic initiatives in Africa which he has visited several times.
Under pressure from African Muslim nations, accentuated by the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973, a number of African states had severed their ties with the Jewish state in the ’80s. Liberia resumed diplomatic relations with Israel in 1983.
In 2017, Netanyahu had traveled to Monrovia to attend the Economic Community of West African States summit.