– First: My analysis of the statement of the Israeli embassy in Cairo to deny its role in the Renaissance Dam, and its endorsement (indirectly) of Israel’s role in the Renaissance Dam, and a new analysis for the first time on (the relationship of the Israeli statement in Cairo with Washington’s strategy in encircling the Chinese Silk Road initiative in the region and establishing a new security umbrella)
– Second: The role of the United States of America in persuading the African countries to accept the Israel’s membership as an observer within the African Union in the face of Chinese expansion and influence
– Third: The relationship between the discoveries of oil and Gas fields within the territorial waters of the Mediterranean and the Israeli pressure on Egypt through (the water threat), and the new game to distract Cairo by dragging it to (the clash outside its regional sphere of influence in the eastern Mediterranean, not the Middle East)
– Fourth: Analyzing the content of the statements of the former Ethiopian ambassador to Israel (Hilawi Youssef) for the Israeli role in the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
– Fifth: The vision of the Israeli think tanks and their experts for the Israeli benefits from (Israel’s deepening of the Renaissance Dam crisis between Egypt and Ethiopia)
– Sixth: The publication of Israeli military intelligence sites for the Israeli role in the Renaissance Dam, and the reasons for Cairo’s silence about Tel Aviv’s role (according to the Israeli analysis)
Perhaps this analysis is completely different from the previous analyzes circulating about the reasons and significance of accepting Israel’s membership, and the most dangerous (its timing) as an observer within the (African Union) after the session of the (UN Security Council) which was held on July 1, 2021 to discuss the crisis of the Renaissance Dam between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, which decided to refer the file to the African Union once again, and of course everyone was suddenly amazed at the speed of Israel’s penetration of the seat of the (African Union) as an observer in the same month of the Security Council session referred to, despite the postponement of the Israeli membership application for several years past, in addition to linking the Egyptian researcher to Washington’s decision suddenly and for the first time to appoint (a special American envoy In the Horn of Africa region, led by Ethiopia) in the context of (the re-administration of US President “Joe Biden” to read the scene inside Ethiopia and the African Union, and transform the US-Chinese competition on both sides of the Red Sea into (a united security umbrella under the US to confront Chinese expansion with the help of Israel as an ally of Washington within the African Union itself).
It is the same trend that the Egyptian researcher analyzed, with the presence of:
(Some American pressures on African countries to provide an opportunity for Israel as an eye to Washington within the (African Union) itself to confront Chinese expansion and penetration through the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis)
Perhaps the reason that made me adopt this new analysis, regarding (the American role within the African Union to accept Israel within it after referring the Renaissance Dam file to the African Union), is my meeting and discussion with the current member of the Ethiopian Parliament (Mohamed Al-Arousi) in its new session, within a group of researchers and experts to discuss the Renaissance Dam crisis and the Ethiopian viewpoint on it in a clear academic way.
After I have finished my analysis on the development of all potential solutions, including some new innovative solutions that I have analyzed to solve the raised Renaissance Dam crisis, and commenting on the words of other analysts, I have directed the same question that has always occupied me to the Ethiopian Member of Parliament (Mohamed Al-Arousi), as an opportunity to ask him, about: (Why is Israel now being accepted into the African Union?), so the Ethiopian parliamentarian’s answer was:
“Ethiopia is not the lonely one that accepted Israel’s membership, there are 54 other African countries within the African Union, and of course the majority agreed”
Also, my other question to the educated Ethiopian parliamentarian, who read very professionally, astonished me on a personal level as an extraordinary person capable of dialogue in this thorny file in all its aspects and dimensions, which opened to me because of my conversation with him other analytical horizons, about (the Israeli role in the Renaissance Dam).
The Ethiopian parliamentarian’s answer came, that Israel is not greedy for the Nile waters as we promote in Cairo, by referring to (the statement of the Israeli embassy in Cairo about denying the Israeli role in the Renaissance Dam), which I will respond to it as an academic political analyst in a different and detailed way that everyone completely overlooked. With my attempt, as an Egyptian academic, to review all of the Israeli academic studies on Israel’s projects and plans to obtain water, whether through the Jordan River, a project that Jordan has repeatedly rejected, or through the Nile River.
Knowing that the Ethiopian parliamentarian “Mohamed Al-Arousi”, responded to my discussion with him and my question about this matter, regarding (Israel’s desire to partner with the Ethiopian side to obtain the waters of the Nile), and the Ethiopian researcher “Mohamed Al-Arousi” has responded to it, that:
“Israel has already agreed with Cairo several years ago to transfer the waters of the Nile to Israel through the desert or desert of Serapeum in Ismailia and the Sinai lands through the construction of several tunnels that allow the transfer of the Nile waters to Israel”
The Egyptian researcher tried to search for this point in particular, which I did not find any basis for its truth, in addition to my pursuing and referring to (previous statements by the Egyptian military officials), regarding the denial of this matter, about the “Sarabium Desert Project to transfer the Nile waters from Egypt to Israel through the construction of tunnels” to transport water to Tel Aviv.
Accordingly, the Egyptian researcher tried during the last period to analyze the various visions and analyzes of the Israeli, Ethiopian and American think tanks, their experts and politicians to find out the aspects of the Israeli benefits in confronting Egypt from the construction of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, especially since there are accusations leveled at the Israeli side from Cairo about the Israeli benefit from the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis, due to Israel’s strong relations with the Ethiopian side, as Israel owns huge investments in the fields of (agriculture, industry and military defense), and Ethiopia is considered a distinct strategic location for Israel that can be used by Israel as a strong pressure card on Egypt. The Egyptian researcher will analyze a number of the following points:
– First: My analysis of the Israeli embassy in Cairo’s statement to deny its role in the Renaissance Dam, and its endorsement (indirectly) of Israel’s role in the Renaissance Dam, and a new analysis for the first time on (the relationship of the Israeli statement in Cairo with Washington’s strategy in encircling the Chinese Silk Road initiative in the region and establishing a new security umbrella)
I have heard, as many have heard, that Israel has issued a statement denying its relationship with the Renaissance Dam, and the Egyptian researcher made a comprehensive analysis of the statement of the Israeli embassy from an academic and research standpoint, and it became clear to her the following:
1) When the Egyptian researcher returned to the original statement issued by the Israeli embassy in Cairo, the Egyptian researcher found the opposite, regarding that:
“The goal of the Israeli statement is to confirm that Israel’s role in the Renaissance Dam will not affect its relationship with Cairo with regard to the Israel’s management agreement for the Renaissance Dam”
Despite the announcement of the Israeli embassy in Cairo, that:
“Israel has no investments in the Renaissance Dam, and that all the talk in this regard is rumors to spoil the relationship between the Egyptian and Israeli regimes”
2) Although everyone celebrated this Israeli statement, we will note here that the same Israeli statement revealed another, more dangerous part of the Israeli plan with regard to the Renaissance Dam, when it confirmed that:
(All of Israel’s relationship with the dam is administrative only, and that the Ethiopian government signed an agreement with the Israeli Electricity Company, to manage the water projects that will be built on the Blue Nile, including the Renaissance Dam, and the other three dams that will be established later to generate hydroelectric power)
3) Based on the same Israeli statement, what may be understood from it is that:
“Israel will be the controller of the waters of the Blue Nile, and of all dams and projects based on the Nile, especially in Ethiopia, in addition to the Israeli role towards the construction of new dams, which will be established in the future, and perhaps it will determine the proportions of the incoming and outgoing water starting from the source of the dam, starting from (Tana Lake), until the downstream in the Mediterranean Sea”
4) Analysts in the West and the Ethiopian side may go further to explain the reasons for the recent Israeli appearance in the Renaissance Dam project, and whether this has any significance about its attempt to exert pressure on Cairo, in addition to questioning (a matter that is difficult to verify), regarding:
The reasons for activating the Egyptian-Israeli joint action in (the Sheikh Sabah Canal in Al-Arish in Egypt)? And whether this is due to the Israeli role in the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which American and Western experts confirm, as explicitly stipulating the (Egyptian-Israeli cooperation in the Sheikh Sabah Canal in Al-Arish). in Egypt), considering that this was mainly part of the “secret annexes” of the peace agreement between the late Egyptian President “Anwar Sadat” with Israel in 1979.
5) The Egyptian researcher also linked between the statement of the Israeli embassy in Cairo about denying the Israeli role in the Renaissance Dam and the tour of the new American envoy to the Horn of Africa, whose name is (Jeffrey Feltman), as a Jewish figure close to the Israeli circles, since the first of last June in 2021, and for a period of (Six days), during which “Feltman” toured the Gulf and Africa, which included (the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar in addition to Kenya), with the aim of discussing ways of cooperation in supporting the stability and development of the Horn of Africa, in addition to finding satisfactory solutions for all parties in the file of the Renaissance Dam, as stated in the “US State Department’s statement” on Feltman’s visit.
6) As it became clear to the Egyptian researcher, “Feltman’s visit to the Gulf capitals” came within the framework of the recommendations of senior thinkers of think tanks in the United States of America at the end of October 2020, and these recommendations came as a reaction and a warning to the (American State Department) against the policies pursued by the administration of the former American president “Donald Trump”, which was often controversial because it sparked many whirlwinds in several regions around the world, including the regions (the Gulf and the Horn of Africa, of which Ethiopia is located).
7) The timing of the issuance of the statement of the Israeli embassy in Cairo may have come based on (joint US-Israeli coordination), especially after the escalation of the climate of competition between the Gulf states over the Horn of Africa and Ethiopia, which led to the emergence of security and geopolitical challenges on both sides of the Red Sea in the face of both Washington and Tel Aviv, which seek to allay the fears of the Gulf states and Egypt.
8) Therefore, the recommendations of the American think tanks were represented in the direction of easing the competition of the Gulf countries in the march towards the Horn of Africa, East Africa and Ethiopia mainly in order not to impede the American cooperation with Israel to protect the sea straits in the Middle East such as: (Bab Al-Mandab Strait, Hormuz Strait and Gibraltar.
9) The statement of the Israeli embassy in Cairo, in agreement with Washington, also aims to distract Egypt and the Gulf by (transferring conflicts between the Middle Eastern countries from the Horn of Africa and Ethiopia to another arena, which is primarily the Mediterranean). Therefore, Israel has signed an agreement with Greece and Cyprus to transfer gas and energy to Europe based upon the recommendations from Washington in the face of Cairo, so it is expected that the arena of competition in the coming period will be the eastern Mediterranean region, with Israeli help for Washington’s policies and plans, as we mentioned.
10) Perhaps the most dangerous thing, which is no one paid attention to, is (encouraging Washington and Israel to bring Gulf investments to the Horn of Africa and Ethiopia to achieve balance with China), which is what actually happened with Ethiopia, which received financial packages as aid from Gulf countries estimated at three billion dollars, in addition to opening of several Gulf countries for projects, investments and development projects in a number of countries in the Horn of Africa and encouraging the establishment of industrial centers in those African countries in the east of the African continent in cooperation with the Arab Gulf states under US-Israeli supervision and encouragement in the face of Chinese expansion and penetration in East Africa, the Horn of Africa and Ethiopia.
11) The statement of the Israeli embassy in Cairo considered as an (American-Israeli attempt) according to the recommendations of the American think tanks to (integrate the East African region with both Egypt and Sudan to form a unified security umbrella for the Red Sea), to become one of the seas which completely dominated by the United States of America as a step within the (strategy of encircling China’s giant project “Chinese Silk Road Initiative”)
Accordingly, it is possible to link (the statement of the Israeli embassy in Cairo) to allay Egypt’s concerns about Israel’s role in the Renaissance Dam (by creating a new position by the United States of America of the American envoy to the Horn of Africa), as a considered solution among the other measures encouraged by the specialists in the American and Israeli foreign affairs themselves, as an attempt to (separate the files of the Middle East and the Horn of Africa from each other), and to pay more attention to the region of the Horn of Africa, East Africa, the Nile Basin countries and Ethiopia, and to integrate Egypt, Sudan, and even the Arab Gulf with them, at the expense of the Middle East.
– Second: The role of the United States of America in persuading the African countries to accept the Israel’s membership as an observer within the African Union in the face of Chinese expansion and influence
The Egyptian researcher’s analysis came differently, regarding the fact that the United States of America itself has involved Israel within the (African Union) to serve as (an eye for America) within the (African Union), and thus passing its decisions. And my mentioned analysis referred and based on a large set of indicators and the highest priorities for the United States of America in confronting of China, as follows:
1) The Egyptian researcher based her analysis on the response of the Ethiopian researcher and the current member of the Ethiopian Parliament, “Mohamed Al-Arousi” during her discussion with him and my specific question to him, concerning:
– What is the significance and interpretation of the reasons and “timing” of accepting of the Israel’s membership as an observer within the (African Union), after discussing the crisis directly within the UN Security Council?
So, the response of the Ethiopian researcher and parliamentarian “Mohamed Al-Arousi” to the Egyptian researcher was completely sound and logical, and his assertion:
“It is not only Ethiopia in the African Union that has the right to accept Israel’s membership, but there are more than 54 other African countries, who have agreed unanimously to accept Israel’s membership as an observer within the African Union”
2) Accordingly, this proposition, or rather the Ethiopian defense of itself about the reasons for Israel’s acceptance now within the corridors of the (African Union) to discuss the crisis of the Renaissance Dam, and the approval of the (majority of the 54 African countries) for Israel’s membership, as a:
(Conclusive evidence in itself by the Egyptian researcher to prove of the American pressured role and support for Israel, its first ally, as an (eye) for Washington within the corridors of the (African Union) itself to confront China”
3) Perhaps this dangerous and unprecedented analysis is what the Egyptians and Arabs did not pay attention to, in view of (Israel’s inability alone to pass its request regarding accepting its membership request for many years in the African Union until after a session of the UN Security Council was held and the crisis file was referred to the African Union again), and therefore, it confirmed that (Washington itself is behind Tel Aviv’s game to pass the agenda of the United States of America in the face of Chinese competition in the Horn of Africa and East Africa), which is Ethiopia at the forefront and in the heart of it.
4) The reasons for this (negative role of the United States of America within the UN Security Council) can also be explained during its discussion of the “Ethiopian Renaissance Dam” project, and the analysis of how Washington managed its talks from the beginning in favor of Ethiopia and Israel, with some other privileges granted to Sudan without Egypt. As well as the importance of East Africa and the Horn of Africa for the American and Chinese influence in the Horn of Africa and East Africa.
5) We also find the attempt of the United States of America to exert pressure on Ethiopia and the countries of the Nile Basin region mainly through (facilitating the penetration and penetration of the Israeli dimension to the security of Ethiopia and African countries in several files in order to serve Washington in the face of China).
6) The United States of America is trying to apply American pressure through Israel not to Ethiopian technological cooperation with China, in view of (the partnership project between the Ethiopian government with the Chinese e-commerce giant “Ali Baba Group”, to create the (electronic global trade platform) (eWTP), which is believed that:
“It is such a Chinese initiative to change the rules of the game in the digital economy within Ethiopia, East Africa and the Horn of Africa in the face of American influence and penetration”
7) In the face of (Chinese technological penetration into Ethiopia), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a project in Ethiopia, known as (Digital Health), with the aim of enhancing digital information about the Ethiopian health sector, and improving the quality of health system services in Ethiopia within five years.
8) Also, the (US Agency for International Development) announced the work of (American technology partnership with local Ethiopian universities) to provide training courses to develop competencies in health innovations and digital electronic solutions, in the face of China.
9) In addition, immediately after Ethiopia announced its first digital strategy in May 2020, “Beilin Seyoum” the spokeswoman for the Ethiopian Prime Minister, confirmed that:
“Ethiopia welcomes the Chinese support for the implementation of this strategy, which means more technological cooperation between Ethiopia and China”
10) This also coincided with another (technological competition) between China and the United States of America within Ethiopia, especially with the announcement of the US Embassy in Addis Ababa that the (US Agency for International Development and the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance) signed a (development partnership agreement with the aim of supporting the education, health and digital agriculture sectors), as well as Washington’s support for Ethiopia’s efforts to move to the “middle-income countries” category, which means more US-Chinese competition within Ethiopia.
11) The United States of America used its allies in Ethiopia to confront China, which was represented in the cooperation of the (Japanese International Cooperation Agency) (JICA) to enhance the American penetration in the field of technology in Ethiopia. On March 2020, a competition was held in cooperation with the (Ethiopian government, the US Agency for International Development and the Japan International Cooperation Agency), entitled: (Solve IT 2020), with the aim of supporting Ethiopian youth to develop innovative projects and ideas, promote entrepreneurship, and find solutions to local problems through the dependency of the digital technology sector.
12) Experts agree that this (American-Japanese) competition in Ethiopia is a kind of competition with the annual competition held by (the Chinese Huawei Company) to discover and nurture talented youth at the technological level in Ethiopia.
13) Here, it seems that the political aspect in the US-Ethiopian relations largely overshadows the competition between China and the United States in Ethiopia, especially in the (technological and digital) sectors.
14) All of these factors, in addition to Washington’s own desire to be present within the African Union in the face of Chinese influence and penetration itself, and Beijing’s expressing its intention to “support the issue of technical negotiation in view of China’s experience in the management and construction of dams between the Egyptian and Sudanese sides in the face of Ethiopia within the African Union”.
15) The United States of America supports its Israeli ally to be directly involved in the issue of the “Renaissance Dam” linked to the Nile River, in order to impose its political and security presence, which will authorize it at a later stage (the revival of Israeli projects aimed at delivering the waters of the Nile to the settlements in occupied Palestine lands), giving up the seriousness of what Israel is currently suffering from with regard to its “water security”, in light of its increasing desire to expand and bring more settlers to Israel.
16) It is mentioned in this context that America and Israel’s project to transfer the Nile waters to occupied Palestine was one of the most important projects presented in the (multilateral talks), which were held in the “Vienna round” in 1992, where “the Israeli negotiators insisted not to give up on that, under the pretext of Israel’s need for water in the future, including the waters of the Nile”.
17) We find here that one of the Israeli negotiators at the time, (Dan Salazevsky), said it explicitly, that:
“If anyone means true peace between Israel and Egypt and its neighbours, one should not argue about water”
18) The most dangerous analysis of the Egyptian researcher is:
“The United States of America sought to make Ethiopia a corridor towards Africa, and a strategic outlet for it that would allow it to open political, security and military channels in the Horn of Africa that would be supportive in its ongoing conflict with China, through American cooperation with the countries of the region in East Africa through its ally of Israel, through their cooperation with countries, such as: (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti) from within the (African Union) itself, and this was reinforced by developments in the Red Sea region, especially Yemen”
19) The validity of the Egyptian researcher’s analysis regarding the United States’ assistance to the Israeli side to accept its membership as an (observer within the African Union) can also be inferred through direct and explicit statements announced by former Israeli Prime Minister “Benjamin Netanyahu” before the Ethiopian Parliament on July 2016, during his visit to “Addis Ababa”, with “Netanyahu” literally confirming that:
“We will support Ethiopia with technology to benefit from its water resources”
20) Here, we find that Netanyahu’s statements are a clear support for Addis Ababa in the issue of its dispute with Egypt regarding the Renaissance Dam, especially since it coincided with the opening of the first phase of the dam on the waters of the Blue Nile by the Ethiopian authorities in the same month for his visit on July 2016.
21) We find a succession of Israeli public statements in support of Ethiopia, where the Deputy Director-General for African Affairs in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs “Ainat Shelin”, announced, in December 2019, about:
“Tel Aviv’s readiness to “share its extensive experience in water management” with Addis Ababa”
22) Previously, the former Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia “Raphael Morav”, announced that:
“Israel is working to introduce a modern irrigation system in Ethiopia to participate in water, irrigation, agriculture, hydroelectric power generation, dam management, and all Ethiopian water projects”
Throughout this comprehensive analysis by the Egyptian researcher of the path (the US-Chinese competition in the Ethiopian interior, and Washington’s alliance with Israel), the Egyptian researcher approaches the perspective that the US-Chinese competition in East Africa and the Horn of Africa, and the intensive Chinese investments in Ethiopia, as well as (the convergence of interests In this context, both the American and Israeli parties may have pushed to coordinate between them and put severe pressure on African countries to ensure Israel’s participation in water projects in Ethiopia and Africa, which comes through the back gate of American pressure on African countries to accept Israel’s membership as an observer within the African Union to confront The growth of Chinese influence itself.
– Third: The relationship between the discoveries of oil and Gas fields within the territorial waters of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Israeli pressures on Egypt through (the water threat), and the new game to distract Cairo by dragging it to (the clash outside its regional sphere of influence in the eastern Mediterranean, not the Middle East)
A number of the same Israeli academic analyses pointed out to the Israel’s desire, and later inform the Egyptian researcher under the administration of President “Biden” on several reports of American think tanks closely related to the political circles in Washington, which aimed to chart a path (limiting the increase in Egypt’s influence in the region The Middle East) and distracting Cairo by dragging it to (the clash outside its regional sphere of influence in the Eastern Mediterranean, not the Middle East), to create a kind of (regional balance), which allows for Israel’s regional superiority, especially after the discoveries of oil fields within the territorial waters in the Mediterranean, which may lead to (Egypt’s leadership regionally and making it a center for gas export), and with the Egyptian government buying heavy weapons and aircraft carriers.
Israel found its insignificance in putting pressure on Egypt through the (water threat), which hits the Egyptian economy, as we know that the lack of water quantities may cause a mass exodus in addition to the collapse of the economy. Here, we find that the most prominent Israeli pressures on Egypt through the “water threat” to it, through:
1) What many data and leaks indicate that “the negotiating mechanism that Ethiopia follows with Egypt was laid by (a negotiating team in the Israeli Foreign Ministry), including former Israeli Foreign Minister “Shaul Mofaz”, and the Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iraqi origin, who is said to be of Iraqi origin, besides he is a key partner in managing the Qatari Al-Jazeera channel, whose name is “David Kimhi”, who was working as a former agent in the Israeli intelligence service, known as “Mossad”.
2) The Israeli government also opened a “popular subscription” in the Central Bank of Israel to collect donations directed to bonds and permits to serve the “Renaissance Dam” project, leading to the Ethiopian government bringing in many Israeli experts and technicians to work in the trial and implementation stages throughout the second phase of building the dam.
3) This was already reveals by the former undersecretary of the Sudanese Ministry of Irrigation “Haider Yousef”, with his assertion, about:
“There is an entire floor in the Ethiopian Ministry of Water dedicated entirely to Israeli water experts”
4) Tel Aviv seeks, through this, to push towards recognition as a “Middle Eastern state in the first place,” and as a party to the waters of the Nile from the Ethiopian gate, which Israel sees as a right after that to benefit from the waters of the Nile.
5) The announcement of (Israel, Cyprus and Greece) in January 2020, the signing of (an agreement to extend a pipeline under the Mediterranean, to export gas to Europe), a wide debate in Cairo about: (the reasons and feasibility of establishing this Israeli line with Cyprus and Greece in the face of Cairo), and the extent of its impact on Egyptian planning to transform into a (regional gas center in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East).
6) Here, we find that the new (Israeli-Greek-Cypriot) line, which was called “EastMed”, will extend under the sea for a long distance in order to (transfer natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean region to Europe through the Israeli gate), with indications about “Israel deliberately did this, so that Egypt would not turn into a regional power in the region vis-à-vis Israel”
7) The signing of this Israeli agreement with the eastern Mediterranean countries, namely (Greece and Cyprus), comes at a time when competition for natural gas is raging between (the eastern Mediterranean countries and Turkey in the face of Egypt as well), with the presence of (Turkish efforts and plans to establish a foothold and a foothold for Turkey). In the agreements concluded regarding gas exploration and its export to Europe), and disputes over the demarcation of the maritime borders between (Ankara, Cyprus and Greece), which also explains the reasons for Turkey’s support for Ethiopia in the file of the Renaissance Dam, the intensity of the presence of Turkish companies inside Ethiopia and the increase of Turkish direct investments inside Ethiopia in the recent period as a powerful pressure card in the face of Cairo, which is the same Israeli way of thinking as well.
8) The Egyptian researcher analyzes this matter as:
“The Israeli announcement with Greece and Cyprus of the agreement to establish the new gas pipeline, called “EastMed”, opened the door to doubts about the real reasons behind this Israeli agreement, which was signed by three countries that have close relations with Egypt, and the (impact of this Israeli line between Greece and Cyprus to transport gas and energy to Europe), is based on Egypt’s project to be transformed into a (regional energy center) in the eastern Mediterranean, which mainly depends on the export of gas to Europe”
9) Also the analysis of Israel’s intentional entry into competition with Egypt over natural gas and energy in the eastern Mediterranean, with Egypt’s advantages related to its proximity to gas fields discovered in both (Cyprus and Israel), as well as Egypt’s possession of a strong gas infrastructure, and its uniqueness in owning Two natural gas liquefaction stations in the areas of (Idku and Damietta) in Egypt.
10) Here, it is possible to link (the Israeli competition with Egypt to acquire natural gas and energy fields in the eastern Mediterranean and the Israeli influence in the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam), with the analysis that the “EastMed agreement between Israel, Greece and Cyprus”, may represent a harmful alternative to the Egyptian plans to export gas to the eastern Mediterranean region through the liquefaction stations owned by Cairo in (Idku and Damietta), with Israel deliberately entering into a competition with Cairo in the eastern Mediterranean region to prove its influence.
11) From the Egyptian researcher’s point of view, (Egypt’s only pressure card against Israel is Italy), given that Italy has not yet agreed to the project to transfer natural gas and energy pipelines to Europe through Israel, Greece and Cyprus, given that Italy is the last point in the aforementioned line to connect it to Europe.
Hence, we find that these challenges related to the implementation of the Israeli line in the face of Egypt came in light of an Israeli competition with Cairo to set its foot as a major player in (exporting eastern Mediterranean gas to Europe), which is another analysis of the existence of a real Israeli competition with Cairo to play a major regional role, whether in Eastern Mediterranean or the Middle East in general.
– Fourth: Analyzing the content of the statements of the former Ethiopian ambassador to Israel (Hilawi Youssef) for the Israeli role in the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
Analyses indicate that Israel is using the Renaissance Dam (as a pressure and profit card) at the same time, and the contents of the speeches, messages and statements of (Hilawi Youssef), the former Ethiopian ambassador in Tel Aviv, and its indicators can be analyzed, according to the incident today from the great Israeli role in “Addis Ababa” and its various investments, especially In the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, through the following:
1) The Ethiopian ambassador (Youssef Hilawy) confirmed in some previous statements that there are more than 240 Israeli investors in Ethiopia.
2) As well as his most dangerous assertion, with (the ideological link) between Ethiopia and Israel, where Israel has ideological relations with Ethiopia, through the Ethiopian Jews, as Ethiopia includes a large number of (the Falasha Jews), and a large number of them are active in the service of the Israeli army after their emigration to Israel.
3) In confirmation of the statements of Ambassador (Hilawi Youssef), we find that in 2016, the visit of the Israeli Prime Minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) to Addis Ababa, which coincided with the opening of the (first phase) of the Renaissance Dam, which raised many questions about the coincidence of the matter.
4) Most importantly, following Netanyahu’s visit to Ethiopia, several reports were issued in 2017, which indicated that Ethiopia had concluded (aircraft defenses with Israel to protect the Renaissance Dam) from any external aggression, but Israel did not comment on these statements until October 22, 2019, however, when negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan were complicated, and the United States entered the negotiations as a party, the (Israeli Embassy in Cairo) issued a statement denying Ethiopia’s use of any Israeli air defense systems to protect the dam, or participating in its construction from near or far.
5) However, there are indications that refute the Israeli defense of the crisis. In 2016, the former Ethiopian ambassador (Hilawi Youssef) to Israel revealed the truth of the matter, saying:
“Israel manages the electricity project in the Renaissance Dam and provides consultations related to power stations built on the waters of the Blue Nile, in addition to launching agricultural projects within the dam’s plan with Israeli investments in more than 240 Israeli projects”
6) The Ethiopian Ambassador (Hilawi Youssef) also confirmed in previous statements to the official Ethiopian “Walta News Agency”, that:
“Ethiopia and Israel are intensifying their cooperation together in the field of combating terrorism, which is a global threat, and Israel is helping Ethiopia in various development activities, including the transfer of modern Israeli agricultural technology to the country”
7) As confirmed by Ambassador “Youssef Hilawy”, about:
“The Ethiopian embassy in Israel is working to promote the investment possibilities available in Ethiopia, with the aim of attracting a larger number of potential investors from Israel to the country, and the Ethiopian embassy in Tel Aviv is working in partnership with Ethiopians residing in Israel to attract larger potential Israeli investments into Ethiopia”
Here, by tracing all the contents of the speeches and messages of Ethiopian officials, especially Ambassador “Youssef Hilawy”, about Ethiopia’s relationship with Tel Aviv, we can conclude the extent of the complexity of those relations between the two parties, to the extent that Israel has penetrated into the Ethiopian interior and participated in water management projects and dams with the Ethiopian side, and providing the Ethiopians with all the necessary technical studies on the Renaissance Dam, which eventually culminated in the acceptance of Israeli membership as an observer within the African Union with Ethiopian and African blessing and with American encouragement to confront Chinese penetration and influence.
– Fifth: The vision of the Israeli think tanks and their experts of the Israeli benefits from (Israel’s deepening of the Renaissance Dam crisis between Egypt and Ethiopia)
There are many Israeli academic studies that explicitly dealt with how the Israelis benefit from (the Nile water) taking advantage of the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel in 1979, which stipulated cooperation between the two sides to maintain regional security and the security of the region, which are (water delivery projects to Israel, specifically to the settlements. This is the basis that Israel has always sought, whether with regard to benefiting from (the Jordan River or the Nile River), which was strongly rejected in earlier periods by the Egyptian and Jordanian sides.
– In general, the Egyptian researcher was able to summarize the most prominent of those Israeli academic think tanks and the research studies related to the Israeli benefit from the Nile waters in the first place, as a historical reference that the Egyptian researcher had to mention, to respond to all the Israeli justifications and defenses that say that Israel does not fully view the Nile waters, the most important of these Hebrew studies are:
1) In 2018, the (Israeli National Security Research Institute) “INNS” published a report in which it explicitly referred to (the political benefit accruing to Israel from deepening the Renaissance Dam crisis between Egypt and Ethiopia).the Israeli researcher “Ofir Winter” said in his article, that:
“The crisis of the Renaissance Dam and Egypt’s openness to foreign aid in dealing with the water crisis, along with the practical line taken by President Sisi, creates a window to expand the policy of normalization between Egypt and Israel in the field of water management, desalination techniques and huge possibilities for cooperation between the two countries”
With the Israeli researcher’s assertion, that:
“This is in the way in which the water resources crisis contributed to strengthening relations between Israel and Jordan”
2- The most important thing is what the Israeli researcher (Ophir Winter) referred to in his subsequent analyzes, regarding: (the prospects for the State of Israel benefiting from the Renaissance Dam crisis), where he sees that:
“The idea of reducing the water deficit that Egypt will suffer from in the future will lead it to resort to Israel, which is pioneering in desalination techniques and improving its consumption in irrigating agricultural lands, and thus improving relations between the two countries and enhancing cooperation, and away from the cold policy that Egypt used to deal with Israel”
3) With the assertion of the Israeli researcher (Ophir Winter), in his important analysis of the extent and how Israel benefits from the Nile water, asserting that:
“This will serve a variety of interests, including: enhancing Egyptian recognition of the benefits of peace with Israel, and expanding bilateral relations between the two governments and the Israeli and Egyptian parties in both countries”
4) The researcher (Winter) also indicated in his analysis that:
“The supreme dream that has been haunting Israel for many years, which is (connecting the Nile branch to Israel and the Israeli benefit from it), this demand, which was met with a categorical Egyptian rejection”.
5) The Israeli researcher (Ophir Winter) also confirmed in his studies on Israel’s benefit from the Nile waters, that:
“In the early days of peace, and in the wake of the Camp David agreement, there was interest and negotiations with the Egyptian side about the idea of a project to flow the Nile waters from Egypt to Israel, and here the conditions of the two countries at the present time provide an opportunity to revive the stolen hopes by reversing the roles”
6) The Israeli think tanks have repeatedly put forward this Israeli desire on how to bring about Israeli rapprochement with the Egyptian side, and to make partnerships and cooperative relations to benefit from the transfer of water from Cairo to Tel Aviv, based on articles and studies that dealt with projects through which it is possible (transferring Nile water to the Israeli settlements).
7) The most prominent of these Israeli studies was what was known as the “Elisha Kali Project”, which the Israeli engineer Elisha Kali thought about, and to the effect:
Israel put forward the idea of a water transfer project on the Egyptian side, which included the transfer of a part of the Nile water estimated at 1% annually to supply the Israeli settlements in the “Negev, Gaza Strip and the West Bank”, through pipes that pass under the Suez Canal next to the Egyptian Ismailia region, with a length of up to 200 Km”
8) In the same vein, the Israeli expert, “Arlo Zorov”, put forward a project for the Israelis to adopt to transfer water from Cairo, through:
“The Israeli side must work on a project with Egypt, which includes (digging 6 channels under the Suez Canal) working to (push fresh water to a main intake point), to then pump the water to (the Sinai coast) and through sub-channels and tunnels that reach out to the Negev desert in Israel”
9) We find that most of the Israeli academic and research studies focused on (the issue of securing the delivery of Nile waters to Israeli settlements) as a basic and urgent need for Israel’s security.
10) Several studies in recent years have shown that Israel is going through a crisis that Israeli experts consider to be (very dangerous with regard to water resources), threatening the economy of the occupation entity in an unprecedented manner.
11) Most of the Israeli Center for National Security Studies (INNS) analyzed that in recent years it became clear that many of (the lakes of occupied Palestine, its river basins and groundwater), have reached their lowest level ever since the establishment of the Hebrew state, where they approached (Tiberias Lake) is dangerously off the “black line”, the level below the intake pipes from the water pumps that send the lake’s water to neighboring towns in Israeli settlements.
12) We find the confirmation of all Israeli studies that to improve the standard of living and build settlements in Israel, it is imperative to secure an increase in water by (600 million cubic meters) each year. If this percentage fails to be obtained, it will be necessary to secure Israel’s share of water, which will be at the expense of (agricultural projects), which will lead to an economic and social crisis, and will lead to the deterioration of the “population distribution” program in Israel, due to the desire for internal migration and population movement from one place to another, due to, the lack of (water supply in a number of settlements) at the expense of some other settlements.
Finally, we find that through the Egyptian researcher’s previous presentation of the most prominent of those Israeli academic and research studies on the necessity of coordinating with Cairo to transfer the Nile water to Tel Aviv, this is a (real and tangible evidence of Israel’s use of the Renaissance Dam crisis as a policy of pressure on Egypt) to deliver the Nile water to its lands through The “policy or theory of reversing the roles”, means putting Egypt in an existential threat position due to the lack of water, and the only solution remains in the hands of Israel, which will become a lifeline to implement its demand to reduce the danger of the dam in exchange for delivering water to the Israeli lands.
– Sixth: The publication of Israeli military intelligence sites for the Israeli role in the Renaissance Dam, and the reasons for Cairo’s silence towards Tel Aviv’s role (according to the Israeli analysis)
What caught the attention of the Egyptian researcher most frankly, reading and analyzing was what (the Israeli DEBKA website) confirmed, that:
“Ethiopia’s choice of the Israeli (Spider) air defense system came after Ethiopia was convinced of its performance in the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan”
With the aforementioned site, which is known for its close proximity to (Israeli military intelligence departments), it is claimed that:
“The Israeli installation of the missile system around the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was completed after the Israeli work began in May 2019, considering that it is the first Israeli air defense system abroad that can launch (two types of missiles), the first with a range of 5 km, and the second with a range of 50 kilometer”.
Several published Israeli studies, referred by the “Israeli DEBKA website”, confirmed that:
“Ethiopia was, and still is, the spearhead (the Israeli political, economic and military penetration into the African continent), at the expense of the decline of Egyptian influence before the era of President El- Sisi”.
Israeli analyses on several websites also explicitly indicated that the latest evidence of (the close Israeli relationship with the dam) is the signing of an Israeli company contracts to distribute the electricity that will be generated by the dam to (Kenya and South Sudan), and communications are underway to reach similar agreements with other countries in the (Nile Basin region).
The most dangerous point from my point of view referred to (the Israeli military intelligence DEBKA website), and its analysis of the reasons for Israel’s focus on Ethiopia in the face of Egypt, by listing the following reasons:
1) Because Ethiopia’s water share represents more than 85% of the quantities of water in the Blue Nile Basin from the Nile’s water.
2) Therefore, Israel stood behind the incitement to construct the Renaissance Dam to control water sources under the heading of the (electricity generation).
3) In the same context, Israel submitted studies to (Rwanda and Congo) to build (three dams) to tighten control over (the waters of the Great Lakes), which supplies the Nile with about (15%) of the water sources.
Finally, the (Israeli military DEBKA website), concluded the matter, by saying that:
“The Egyptian official silence towards these published Israeli news reports may be due to Cairo’s desire to avoid detonating a crisis with the (Hebrew state), given the war that the Egyptian forces are waging in the Sinai, and it depends in one way or another on the Israeli security and military cooperation in this war, but this does not mean that the Israelis will stop their plans to encircle and strangle Egypt, despite their repeated praise for their close relations with the Egyptian President (Abdel Fattah El-Sisi) and the Egyptian government”
Hence, the Egyptian researcher concluded, in view of her comprehensive analysis of the (Israeli role in the Renaissance Dam), with the help and supervision of the United States of America to confront its competitor to (China), as its archenemy in the African continent, that Washington exerts intense pressure on its African allies to accept Israel’s membership as an observer within the African Union to discuss The crisis of the Renaissance Dam, and missing the opportunity for China, which wants to play a (technical negotiating role) during the discussion of the Renaissance Dam file within the (African Union), given also the Israeli ambitions (which were originally published), about the Israeli desire to share the Nile waters with Cairo, and the intensity of the Israeli academic and research studies which are all thrown and poured in this previous direction.
Thus, we find here (the convergence of the Israeli-American desire and interests to play a role inside Ethiopia), given the (American-Chinese rivalry inside Ethiopia), considering that:
(China is the largest investor and the largest source of foreign direct investments (FDI) in Ethiopia as well, while the USA is the largest source of aid to Ethiopia)
Hence, we understand this new final analysis reached by the Egyptian researcher, regarding (the US-Israeli alliance within the African Union in the face of China) that the management of the (file of the Renaissance Dam issue), and the desire of each party to acquire the largest share of interests within this most dangerous file related to Managing water within the countries of the Blue Nile Basin and Ethiopia, and controlling (Egypt and Sudan), as the two countries downstream of the Nile River.
The new role of formal and informal academic diplomacy for the China-Africa Forum
Chinese think tanks and research centers play an important role in political decision-making by developing general visions for formulating important political and development decisions in the Chinese and western states. In the recent time, there are seven Chinese study centers entered the global ranking of the best Chinese think tanks around the world, and occupied the first global ranks, most notably:
(China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China Institute of International Studies, Development Research Center of the State Council, Institute of International and Strategic Studies of Peking University, Center for China and Globalization, Shanghai Institute of International Studies)
The (Union of Cooperation of Research Countries for the “Belt and Road” initiative) was established on April 8, 2015, which cooperates with most research centers in China to study the “Belt and Road” initiative and its projects. The Chinese side has officially announced the inauguration and opening of (a committee for the cooperation of international research centers for the “Belt and Road” countries) in the capital, Beijing, under the joint sponsorship of 15 Chinese, foreign and African research centers. Here, the strength of the research centers working on studies of the “Belt and Road” initiative projects in achieving Chinese development around the world and facilitating academic, research and knowledge communication between China and the world increases. There is no doubt that these research centers are now playing a greater role in deepening political communication and popular communication in building the “belt and the Chinese Road” in the future.
At present, Chinese think tanks and research centers play a new and influential role, especially after the announcement of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, through its new practice of what is known as “academic diplomacy”, which is entrusted with sending Chinese experts and academics working in think tanks. Chinese scholars with different disciplines, by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs or others, either to find out the prospects for a settlement or to participate in mediation or negotiations about certain political crises, and this is formally or informally, in an announced way or in a parallel track, and sometimes these Chinese researchers and academics are assigned to participate in international conferences to learn about the latest political information and theses to serve the goals of the political decision-maker in Beijing.
The most applicable example of this is what was announced by the ruling Communist Party in Beijing in 2015, to develop between 50 to 100 Chinese research institutions by the year 2020, in addition to the Chinese Communist Party’s call in particular for the development of think tanks specialized in strategic issues and policies related to studies of the Belt and Road. China is also currently working on a large scale to open think tanks outside the geographical scope of the Chinese state in order to enhance international cooperation within the framework of its huge Belt and Road initiative.
Chinese think tanks and research centers are now playing a new role, known as the revolving door policy between diplomats, officials, or senior positions in the Chinese state and its ruling Communist Party, and between experts and workers in those think tanks for research and studies, in terms of alternating various positions in order to assume senior leadership positions within the party. The ruling communist and its various grassroots and party branches in all Chinese provinces and cities. In addition to its most important role in political and partisan education of the masses.
In this context, we note that Chinese think tanks have now become one of the most important actors influencing the decision-making process, and we see this through the arrival of many researchers of these centers to work in various sectors related to the Chinese Communist Party, in addition to their most important role in looking forward to the future by completing future studies, or forward-looking, especially with the emergence of the science of futurism in the world, the results of which have become one of the basic requirements for strategic planning and for making the most correct decisions in the Chinese state.
In analogy to this, the Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum through a number of researchers and academics associated with Chinese think tanks and research centers, led by: (The Chinese African Institute, the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University, the Peking University Center for African Studies) that have been played a major role On advancing the spirit of friendship and cooperation between China and Africa and working together to implement global development initiatives and achieve the following three goals, as follows:
- First: Enhancing the level of comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Africa
- Second: Accelerating the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
- Third: Enhancing coordination between the vision of Chinese-African cooperation 2035, China’s vision 2035, the United Nations Plan for Sustainable Development for the year 2030, and Africa’s Agenda 2063.
The China-Africa Forum for Think Tanks has played a major and important role in the new Chinese academic diplomacy, whether formally or informally. Majors, the most prominent points of convergence between China and the African continent and activating this through the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, in light of this delicate and sensitive time, in which peace in the world is threatened, and development faces great challenges, especially after the Coronavirus pandemic caused waves of shocks that swept the global economy, and caused the largest global economic crisis, and led to a sharp increase in inequality within and between countries.
Therefore, the role of Chinese experts and academics associated with the Chinese Belt and Road think tanks came to discuss China’s role and its effects through a round table with their African counterparts after the formation of what is known as the China-Africa Think Tank Forum, which is a major quantum leap in the field of academic and research cooperation between Chinese think tanks and their African counterpart in the new era, according to the vision of Chinese President “Xi Jinping”. This was evident as well, through China’s hosting of the meetings of the eleventh session of the China-Africa Forum for Think Tanks, which was hosted by the Chinese capital, Beijing, under the title of:
“Strengthening the spirit of friendship and cooperation between China and Africa through joint action on the Chinese global development initiative”
Through my analytical vision as an expert in Chinese political affairs, I found that the role of Chinese think tanks and research in African affairs has become significant in advancing cooperation and coordination between the two sides, through the China-Africa Forum for Think Tanks, which was officially launched and publicized to activate research and academic cooperation between the two countries. China and Africa. What stopped me most, on a personal, analytical, and academic level, was the fruitful and extensive meetings and discussions that took place in November 2021 between the experts of the China-Africa Forum for think tanks, both Chinese and their African counterparts, which was discussed at length over two full days of dialogues and discussions between the two parties, in the presence of More than 200 participants of African and Chinese officials and specialists, in addition to the participation of about fifty experts, academics and specialized researchers representing all Chinese and African think tanks and research related to the topics of discussion, from about 19 African countries and regions via the Internet. Several important issues were discussed between Chinese and African experts in the context of the comprehensive strategic cooperation relations between China and Africans, and the results of the eighth ministerial conference of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, which was held in the Senegalese capital “Dakar” in November, discussed the important results, and what Beijing put forward, with new programs and initiatives for the future development of the world.
This has been confirmed by Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister “Ding Li”, that the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, the China Global Development Initiative and the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC) are a Chinese response to contribute to global development, as well as the development of the African continent, and this was discussed at length through China and Africa experts through several meetings, meetings and round tables between the two parties, and convey what was agreed upon to the decision makers of the two parties.
Hence, we will find that Chinese thought and research centers linked to Africa have a major role in making and influencing the political decision of Beijing and the leaders of the ruling Communist Party with regard to the development component of the African continent, as Africa is for the Chinese an important model for promoting cooperation between the countries of the South, as well as being a model for global development cooperation promoted by China in Africa and the world.
Sergey Lavrov to Choose between Illusions and Reality for Africa
Late January, four African countries – South Africa, Eswatini, Angola and Eritrea – officially hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. He went visiting these African countries, as part of laying the groundwork and testing the pulse, ahead of the forthcoming second Russia-Africa summit set for late July in St. Petersburg. The first such summit was held in Sochi from October 2019 under the motto “For Peace, Security and Development” which attracted a large number of African representatives.
As Russia prepares to strengthen its overall corporate economic profile during the next African leaders summit, many Russian policy experts are questioning bilateral agreements that were signed, many of them largely remained unimplemented, with various African countries.
At the prestigious Moscow-based Institute for African Studies, well-experienced policy researchers such as Professors Vladimir Shubin and Alexandra Arkhangelskaya have argued that Russia needs to be more strategic in aligning its interests and be more proactive with instruments and mechanisms in promoting economic cooperation in order to reap the benefits of a fully-fledged bilateral partnership.
“The most significant positive sign is that Russia has moved away from its low-key strategy to vigorous relations, and authorities are seriously showing readiness to compete with other foreign players. But, Russia needs to find a strategy that really reflects the practical interests of Russian business and African development needs,” said Arkhangelskaya, who is also a Senior Lecturer at the Moscow High School of Economics.
Currently, the signs for Russia-African relations are impressive – declarations of intentions have been made, important bilateral agreements signed – now it remains to be seen how these intentions and agreements entered into these years will be implemented in practice, she pointed out in an interview.
The revival of Russia-African relations have to be enhanced in all fields. Obstacles to the broadening of Russia-African relations have to be addressed more vigorously. These include, in particular, the lack of knowledge or information in Russia about the situation in Africa, and vice versa, suggested Arkhangelskaya.
While answering questions from the “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin” television programme, December 25, 2022, Lavrov explained that Russia’s motto is the balance of interests. “This balance is the core of our foreign policy. It is the only approach that has prospects in international affairs,” he reiterated, so Russia should balance its interest (not to describe them as enemies) with other external players in Africa.
Lavrov has been in the ministerial seat these several years and, of course, seems to be up to the existing challenges and the comprehensive policy tasks in continental Africa. In Pretoria, Lavrov held discussions with South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor. While talking later about Russia-Ukraine crisis at the media briefing, Lavrov said Moscow appreciated “the independent, well-balanced and considerate approach” taken by Pretoria. South Africa has refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia has been hit by unprecedented stringent sanctions, suffers from isolation.
South Africa has now assumed the chairmanship of the BRICS, a grouping that includes Brazil, Russia, India and China. It will, however, host joint maritime drills with Russia and China in February 17 to 27, off the port city of Durban and Richards Bay. Some experts say BRICS grouping, especially in the emerging new geopolitical world, throws many challenges to United States and European-led global governance structures.
In August 2023, South Africa will host the BRICS summit. In this context, the sides expressed confidence that Pretoria’s upcoming chairmanship of this group opened up new opportunities for its future development, including in the context of expanding the partnerships between the five BRICS countries and African states.
Currently, South Africa has little trade with Russia but champions a world view – favoured by China and Russia – that seeks to undo perceived U.S.-hegemony in favour of a “multipolar” world in which geopolitical power is more diffuse.
Nevertheless, Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor called for greater economic cooperation between South Africa and Russia at the start of her meeting with Lavrov. “Our countries share growing economic bilateral relations both in terms of trade and investments,” she said. “It is my view that both countries can and must do more to develop and capitalize on opportunities to increase our cooperation in the economic sphere.”
Besides that as indicated above however, Lavrov mentioned peaceful space, high technology, smart cities, and nuclear energy as promising areas of collaboration with South Africa. Pretoria expresses readiness to collaborate, but the question is how to build a supply chain and financial services for collaborative projects in the face of Western sanctions imposed on Russia.
The two are members of BRICS, a grouping of major emerging economies, although they remain relatively insignificant markets for each other: Russia ranked as South Africa’s 33rd-largest trading partner in 2021, with two-way flows amounting to just $1.46 billion. In comparision, South Africa trade with the United States were $10.2 billion in 2021.
Reports have also pointed to the negative effects of Russia’s opaque transactions with South Africa under Zuma administration. “There is a split in the South African establishment between the ruling ANC party and the opposition, which is fiercely against Russian-South African collaboration. There are fears that the country’s frenetic anti-Russian media campaign may gradually tip the scales against Moscow. Nonetheless, for the time being, South Africa is interested in broadening its foreign relations, particularly through the BRICS,” Researcher at the Institute for International Studies at MGIMO, Maya Nikolskaya, told local Russian daily Kommersant.
Maya Nikolskaya underlined the fact that 2022 was generally not an easy year for Russian-African relations. Majority of African countries found themselves under tremendous pressure from the West. However, Moscow still has great potential in Africa: Russia is a major grain exporter and in turn, “Moscow is interested in new sales markets, so building alternative value chains is in the interests of both parties,” the expert explained about Russia’s relations with South Africa.
On his second stopover in the Kingdom of Eswatini, Lavrov expressed deep worriness about the Western dominance, and situations guided mostly by the orders of the former colonial powers. “We understand the painful feelings of the US and Europe, as the structure of international relations is changing, becoming multipolar, polycentric. We cannot change our Western friends and make them polite, behave democratically,” Lavrov said at a news conference following talks with the Kingdom of Eswatini’s top diplomat, Thulisile Dladla.
Reports indicated that King of Eswatini Mswati III has been invited to the Russia-Africa summit to be held this year in St. Petersburg. And Moscow plans to deepen its interaction with Eswatini in the area of Russian grain supplies, the construction of irrigation systems, energy and mineral resources mining. “We stated that efforts should be focused now on the economic sphere, which by its indicators so far lags far behind other areas of our cooperation, above all the excellent level of political dialogue,” the Russian top diplomat said.
About 50 Swazi nationals are receiving military education at Russian Defence Ministry colleges, further agreed to step up cooperation in the field of security. Tongue-twisting Lavrov repackaged a long list of projects, nearly all the sectors including industry, agriculture, information communications technology, digital, education, culture and many others. With a small population of 1.2 million, Eswatini is a the tiny landlocked country in Southern Africa.
During the media conference, he made references to his previous tour in Africa (Egypt, the Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Ethiopia) and also to the Arab League headquarters. He also discussed BRICS at length, particularly proposals for its expansion, as well as its role in the global economy, globalization and global finance. “BRICS is not planning to shut the door to the rest of the world. On the contrary, we would like to cooperate with all countries as much as possible, equally and based on the balance of interests. The BRICS countries’ approach to global affairs is winning the sympathy of more and more countries across the world, including in Asia, Africa and Latin America,” he asserted.
Wrapping his “business-as-usual” meetings in Eswatini, Lavrov referred to countries as China, India, Turkey et cetera that are emerging together as new multipolar world. But these countries have good economic footprints in Africa. For Russia to recognizably play dominating role similar to China, India and Turkey, it has to make a complete departure from frequent rhetorics and work seriously on its economic policy dimensions in Africa.
The Kingdom of Eswatini, officially renamed from Swaziland in 2018, is a constitutional monarchy with the current constitution in force since February 8, 2006. The country is a member of the British-led Commonwealth. Eswatini, with an approximate population of 1,2 million (2021), is bordered by South Africa and Mozambique. It has had diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation since November 19, 1999.
Upon his arrival on January 24, Lavrov and his delegation were welcomed by his Angolan counterpart, Tete Antonio. On the next day, he held an in-depth discussion with President João Lourenço. According to the transcript, the focus was on the preparations for the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, and Scientific-Technical Cooperation and Trade in Luanda in late April. Both, however, outlined steps to advance strategic partnership across all areas.
With Minister of External Relations Tete Antonio, there were questions relating to the launch of Angola’s AngoSat-2 satellite and that allows to continue cooperating in the peaceful exploration of outer space and other high-tech areas. Lavrov and Antonio have ultimately agreed to expedite the coordination of several new intergovernmental agreements, including those on the opening of cultural centres and on the nuclear power industry, humanitarian missions and merchant shipping.
Eritrea was Lavrov’s final working station. With an estimated population of 5.8 million, it is located on the Red Sea, in the Horn of Africa region of Eastern Africa. Russia and Eritrea have had diplomatic relations since May 1993. President Isaias Afwerki has ruled Eritrea with an iron fist since independence from Ethiopia in 1993. Eritrea was one of the countries that voted against a UN resolution condemning Russia over the situation in Ukraine in March 2022.
In April 2022, Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed made a visit to Moscow. Both Lavrov and Mohammed reaffirmed Russia’s strategic interest to make coordinated efforts aim at building logistics hub along the coastline. During their meeting, Lavrov promised Moscow’s contribution towards stronger stability and security in the Horn of Africa.
As far back 2018, Lavrov spoke extensively about economic cooperation. According to him, Russia’s truck maker KAMAZ was already working in Eritrea, supplying its products to that country, as was Gazprombank Global Resources, which was building cooperation in the banking sector. The same year 2018, concrete talks were held to build a logistics centre at the port of Eritrea, that makes world’s class logistics and services hub for maritime transportation through the Suez Canal and definitely set to promote bilateral trade.
According to the transcript posted on the website, Lavrov said: “we cooperate in many diverse areas: natural resources, all types of energy engineering, including nuclear and hydroelectric energy, and new sources of energy, infrastructure in all its aspects, medicine, the social sphere, transport and many more.”
Still that same year, Eritrea was interested in opening a Russian language department at one of the universities in the capital of the country, Asmara. Lavrov further indicated: “We agreed to take extra measures to promote promising projects in the sphere of mining and infrastructure development and to supply specialized transport and agricultural equipment to Eritrea.”
As always, Lavrov’s discussions with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki focused on “strengthening bilateral relations as well as regional developments of interest to the two countries.” He, however, reaffirmed Russia’s unconditional commitment to fulfilling all of its obligations under export contracts to send critical food supplies to African countries in need, including under the package agreements reached with the participation of the United Nations.
Isaias Afwerki further listened carefully as Lavrov listed mountains of proposals including those relating to the economy, mining, information and communication technologies, agriculture, infrastructure projects, the possibilities of the sea and air ports of Massawa, as well as Russian proposals for the development of industry in Eritrea. “All these are topics for the upcoming consultations between our ministries of economy. We agreed to start them soon and give them a regular character,” he convincingly assured.
In summary, Lavrov’s trip to Africa, which has become a renewed diplomatic battleground since the Ukraine war began, has taken him to Angola, Eswatini and South Africa. As previously, not a single development project was commissioned in any of the those African countries he visited. It was the usual diplomatic niceties, “dating and promising” but, at least, with a bouquet for the bride.
During his four-African country visit, Lavrov did not hold meetings with any youth and women groups neither did he address a gathering African entrepreneurs. He did not visit any Russian-funded project facility sites to first-hand assess developments and progress there, not any educational establishment especially those dealing with international relations. His meetings were state-centric and mostly office-centered. Throughout his speeches, not a single reference to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). While exploring more opportunities, there was absolutely nothing on Covid-19 and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines or offer practical proposals to develop vaccines for other deadly diseases across Africa.
Lavrov left Moscow the next day after his three-hour media conference, summing up foreign policy achievements and the way forward on 18 January. During that conference, Africa only appeared at the bottom of the discussions. And yet Africa is considered as “a priority” in Russia’s policy. Lavrov made a sketchy response about Africa, and then reminded the gathering of the forthcoming summit planned for late July 2023. He, however, mentioned that there were drafted documents to reset cooperation mechanisms in this environment of sanctions and threats, and in the context of geopolitical changes.
“There will be new trade and investment cooperation tools, logistics chains and payment arrangements. The change to transactions in national currencies is under way. This process is not a rapid one, but it is in progress and gaining momentum,” he told the gathering in quick remarks, then swiftly closed the media conference that day.
Nevertheless, African leaders are consistently asked to support Russia against Ukraine. Since the symbolic October 2019 gathering in Sochi, extremely little has happened. With high optimism and a high desire to strengthen its geopolitical influence, Russia has engaged in trading slogans, and many of its signed bilateral agreements have not been implemented, including all those from the first Russia-Africa summit. The summit fact-files show that 92 agreements and contracts worth a total of $12.5 billion were signed, and before that several pledges and promises still undelivered.
Since his appointment in 2004 as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov has succeeded in building high-level political dialogues in Africa. But, his geopolitical lectures have largely overshadowed Russia’s achievements in Africa. Throughout these several years of his official working visits to Africa, unlike his Chinese counterparts, Lavrov hardly cuts ribbons marking the completion of development projects in Africa.
That however, he needs simultaneously to understand how to approach ideas from inside Africa. These ideas could offer Russia hopes for raising its economic cooperation to a qualitatively new level and ultimately contribute to the building of sustainable relations with Africa. The new scramble for Africa is gaining momentum, therefore Russians have to face the new geopolitical realities and its practical existing challenges. But in the nutshell, Russians seem to close their eyes on the fact that Africa’s roadmap is the African Union Agenda 2063.
For more information, look for the latest Geopolitical Handbook titled “Putin’s African Dream and The New Dawn” (Part 2) devoted to the second Russia-Africa Summit 2023.
Janet Yellen: U.S. Focuses on Business Investment and Infrastructure Development in Africa
United States officials, at least, are strategically moving to reset multi-dimensional relations with Africa after the last African leaders summit held in Washington. President Joseph Bidden and Vice President Kamala Harris, in well-coordinated working agenda, with the White House, the Department of African Affairs and the U.S. Treasury are up to the task. This challenging task is backed with $55 billion budget publicly announced during the African leaders gathering.
It all began with series of working visit to Africa late December and early 2023, which underscored the message delivered by Biden at last summit: “The United States is all in on Africa, and all in with Africa.” The $55 billion budget and along with private sector investment for Africa, well-built institutionalized structures and the African-American diaspora are distinctively linking together the United States and Africa.
On January 20, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen went for a 10-day trip to three African countries that aims to revitalize and expand U.S.-African ties and address challenges such as climate change, food security and debt in Africa. After decades in which China has dominated investment on the continent, the U.S. is pitching itself as a more sustainable alternative. In the sub-Sahara, Yellen visited Senegal, Zambia and South Africa.
That will be followed by the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who travelled to three Republics of Ghana, Mozambique and Kenya starting Jan. 25 and another round trip by Secretary of State Antony Blinken official visits to Eastern Western and Southern Africa.
In Dakar, Yellen had an extensive and fruitful discussions with Senegalese President Macky Sall, who is also the rotating Chair of the African Union. The African Union is a 55-member continental organization with headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. With President Macky Sall, she highlighted United States efforts to boost economic ties with the region “by expanding trade and investment flows,” according to official reports.
Later, she also interacted with Senegal’s Minister of Economy, International Planning, and Cooperation Oulimata Sarr, who, like Yellen, is also the first woman to serve in her current role. In a meeting with Finance Minister Mamadou Moustapha Ba, Yellen said the two officials had “much to discuss on how best to meet the challenges both of our countries face, including in the context of global financial tightening and an increasingly uncertain global economic environment. The U.S. is committed to working with Africa to realize that promise, because we know that a stronger African economy is good for the world, and good for the United States.”
In a speech delivered at a business event in Senegal’s capital Dakar, Yellen mapped out the United States vision for strengthening African relations, eyeing the massive economic opportunities created by its demographic boom.
Currently, Senegal is participating in a G-20 programme that helps finance a shift from fossil fuels to clean power generation, it’s also on the verge of becoming a significant fossil-fuel producer. A new offshore project straddling its border with Mauritania is projected to bring Senegal $1.4 billion of oil and gas revenue from 2023 to 2025. The project may also provide Europe with energy relief as it turns away from Russian gas and oil.
Reports indicated that Treasury Yellen gave the concrete go-ahead on rural electrification project in Senegal. The new rural electrification project estimated to bring reliable power to 350,000 people while supporting some 500 jobs in 14 American States.
Our monitoring shows that Yellen traveled to the site of the project, headed by Illinois-based engineering firm Weldy Lamont. The new project received technical assistance from the U.S. Power Africa initiative, capacity building through the U.S. Agency for Trade and Development, and a $102.5 million loan guarantee from the Export-Import Bank.
“Our goal is to further deepen our economic relationship and to invest in expanding energy access in a way that uses renewable resources spread across the continent,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen underlined in her remarks. Senegal has among the highest rates of electrification across Sub-Saharan Africa – between 70% and 80% – but access to electricity remains far more limited in rural areas.
Such disparities can hinder opportunity for households and businesses in areas otherwise ripe for economic development, Yellen said. The project includes an important renewable energy element with a solar grid to power 70 villages. “This groundbreaking will create a higher quality of life in many communities, and it will help Senegal’s economy grow and prosper. It will also help Senegal get one step closer to its goal of universal electricity access by 2025,” she said.
Yellen, who met women and youth entrepreneurs in Dakar, said the electrification project would allow Senegal to rely on energy sources that are within its borders, cost effective and not prone to the kind of volatility in energy prices sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. Power Africa project has helped connect 165 million people to reliable electricity across Africa. Its goal is to add at least 30,000 megawatts (MW) of cleaner and more reliable electricity generation capacity and 60 million new home and business connections by 2030.
Yellen, then, travelled to Zambia to meet President Hakainde Hichilema as well as other finance officials. President Hichilema, who took office in 2021, has promised to restore the copper-rich nation’s credibility and creditworthiness after inheriting a cash-strapped economy. Here, she spoke on efforts to improve global health and prepare for future pandemics, as well as on food production.
Yellen cited $11 billion in commitments by the U.S. Development Finance Corp and $3 billion in programmes by the Millennium Challenge Corp in 14 African countries, with more in the pipeline. On a wider scale, the G7 group of wealthy Western nations also planned to mobilise some $600 billion for global infrastructure investments over the next five years.
“We are saying that African countries firmly belong at the table. Their communities are disproportionately vulnerable to the effects of global challenges. And any serious solution requires African leadership and African voices,” she said.
In South Africa, which recently assumed the chairmanship of the BRICS emerging economies group, Yellen held talks with Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana and South Africa Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago. She also visited the Ford assembly plant to showcase successful examples of U.S.-Africa economic relations.
Washington provided about $13 billion in emergency aid and food assistance last year, and was now setting up a U.S.-Africa strategic partnership to address the short-term food needs of more than 300 million Africans, Yellen said. It is also helping to build more resilient and sustainable systems for the future.
In practical terms, Yellen focused on building relationships and understanding the barriers to investment and business in Africa. Our monitoring shows that Chinese trade with Africa is about four times that of the United States, and Beijing rapidly expanded its lending by offering cheaper loans, although the opaque terms and collateral requirements are now being questioned by some African countries.
United States is currently looking to broaden investment in South Africa, which is developing new legislation to speed up energy projects. There are a number of external players showing interest in the energy sector, these include Russia, China, United Arab Emirates and others in the Arab world.
Former US ambassador Susan Page told AFP that despite positive developments like the major summit in Washington last year, “the proof is in the pudding” when it comes to pledges of support for African countries. “Are they really going to come up with the serious money… Or is it going to be a trade-off?” asked Page, now a professor at the University of Michigan. She added that while US moves have been largely framed as countering China’s advances, it “is a shame because African countries want to be treated as Africa, and not as a wedge between great power competition.”
Joseph Siegle, who leads the Africa Center for Strategic Studies research programme, said the scope of Yellen’s visit was far broader than the matter of China’s influence. “From an emerging market standpoint there is a lot going on there – with its resources and growth and a large African diaspora in the U.S. Arguably the U.S. has not paid enough attention to Africa with the rigor that’s warranted,” he said. “I think the significance of this trip is trying to rectify there hasn’t been enough high-level engagement on the part of the U.S. in Africa.”
In fact, despite criticisms especially over neo-colonialism and unipolarism, the United States and Africa are culturally, and by biological blood, are inseparable. According to the latest World Bank report, remittances from the African diaspora to the continental was $49 billion in 2021.
With rivals China and Russia competing for influence and opportunity in Africa, the United States has been working to stave off an erosion of its once-powerful position in the region. But as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen strongly noted the histories of the United States and Africa were “intimately connected” by the “tragedy” of slavery, as Washington seeks to strengthen relations with the continent. Speaking at Goree Island off the Senegalese capital of Dakar, the largest slave trading centre on the African coast.
For their part, many African countries say they are keen for increased investment and financial support for infrastructure development across Africa. And that Africa is only ready for potential credible investors, and not for active sloganeers and ideological choristers. Africa is not a field for confrontation, but for cooperating on transforming the economy and operate the single continental market.
In the emerging multipolar world, the United States still shares cultural values and democratic principles with Africa. The trans-Atlantic slave trade is an integral part of both American and African history. United States is their second home, nowhere else. United States and Africa are ‘intimately connected’ by slavery, have culturally indivisible bondage, and currently with the growing African-American diaspora it is completely absurd and awkward for external geopolitical rival countries asking African leaders and Africans to abandon their history and the United States.
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