African flags on display
African flags on display

This week’s most important headlines out of and about Africa

In this week’s news, the African Union takes the next steps on its Agenda 2063 plan, and Indian Premier Narendra Modi, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visit the African continent.

With e-passport, African Union Furthers Continental Integration

Just as the European Union faces the challenges of Britain’s exit from the fold, the African Union is taking steps towards further integration of the African continent.

In a round-up of some of top Africa news stories for the week of June 13, my colleague, Gellilla Gebre-Michael, reported about the unveiling of an e-passport by the AU. During the AU summit in Kigali, Rwanda later this month, the organization plans to issue the passport to AU diplomats, heads of state and permanent representatives based in the A.U.’s headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The AU e-passport faces challenges, however, its plan is the opposite of Brexit, the move by the United Kingdom to exit the EU, according to Anne Fruge, writing in the Washington Post.

The point seems to be that while the EU faces disintegration, the African continent is going in the other direction,  with greater integration.

According to Fruge, “The electronic passport initiative grows out of the A.U.’s Agenda 2063, a plan to mobilize Africa’s vast resources to strengthen the region’s self-reliance, global economic power and solidarity.”

Netanyahu Goes to Africa

For more than three decades, an Israeli prime minister has not made an official visit to sub-Saharan African continent. That’s according to this news story from The Washington Post.

So, it is good news Prime Minister Netanyahu will visit Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda respectively, to boost ties between Israel and the African nations.

“Israel is hoping that the visit — the first by an Israeli premier to sub-Saharan Africa in three decades — will usher in a new era in which it provides African states with security and agricultural assistance in return for support in international forums.”

The visit is also especially important as it comes when Israel and countries in Eastern and Southern Africa face greater threats from Islamic terrorist groups in the continent.

“With the rise of jihadism across the continent, from Boko Haram in Nigeria to al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants in Somalia, Israel has found common ground with countries like Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria.”

According to France 24 News, Netanyahu is “seeking new trade partners and marking the 40th anniversary of a hostage rescue in which his brother died.”

Modi Goes to Africa

Just as Netanyahu embarks on a historic visit to sub-Saharan Africa, Indian Premier Modi, kicks off a visit to the continent beginning July 7.

According to the Shanghai Daily, Modi will visit Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya during his trip.

Meanwhile, the Indian Express reports Modi’s visit is designed to improve relations between India and African nations. The visit comes after recent trips to the continent by the Indian president and vice president respectively.

“India had, last year in October, hosted the India-Africa Summit which saw a participation of 41 of the 54 leaders of the African Union.”

Today trade between India and the African continent stands at around $70 billion, far behind the amount of trade between China and the African continent which stands at around $200 billion.


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