Stronger Israeli ties a must

Wylbur Simuusa
Wylbur Simuusa

THE announcement by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wylbur Simuusa that Zambia is stepping up bilateral relations and economic co-operation with the State of Israel is most welcome.
There is no doubt that closer relations with the State of Israel will greatly benefit this country, as Mr Simuusa said.
We are referring to remarks attributed to Mr Simuusa in a story that appeared on the front page of yesterday’s edition.
Mr Simuusa was speaking at a press briefing in New York, United States, after holding a meeting with Israeli officials on the sidelines of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
He said Israel is highly advanced in technology, especially in science and agriculture, which can benefit Zambia immensely, which is true.
“The Israelis are very innovative people and we stand to learn a lot from them. We are happy with the way our relations are developing,” Mr Simuusa said.
We are happy to learn that Israel opened a mission in Zambia this year and that our government is planning to reciprocate the gesture as soon as possible.
It is also heartening that the Israelis are willing to partner with Zambia in revamping Mpika College of Agriculture and the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission.
Zambia is placing a lot of emphasis on diversification from a mono to a multi-dimensional economy.
The government has prioritised agriculture, tourism, construction and manufacturing to move the country away from decades of dependence on copper mining.
It is not a secret that the prices of copper are highly volatile because they pander to global political and economic changes.
Already, the metal has reeled from one price fall to another, although it is showing some signs of marginal recovery.
One of the most important lessons Zambia can learn from Israel is how that country has dramatically managed to transform the arid Golan Heights, after annexing the area from Syria in the famous Arab-Israeli war of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Initially, an expanse of rock and sand, Israel covered the area with millions of tonnes of rich, loamy soil and transformed it into the multi-million dollar food production enclave it has become today.
On the tourism front after successfully co-hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly has opened a window for Zambia to attract more foreign tourists.
The country is now a tourist attraction of international repute, as UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai said before he left Zambia.
But the country may not reap the benefits of that feat if it does not come up with innovative strategies of wooing international travellers to see its tourist attractions, especially the mighty Victoria Falls, abundant wildlife in natural habitats and culture.
Israel is one of the world’s busiest tourist destinations because of its religious sites, attracting millions of pilgrims from all the corners of the earth each year.
This traffic translates in millions of dollars in revenue.
Zambia can therefore, through the Zambia Tourism Board, partner with that country to help it strengthen its marketing campaigns.
That should not be difficult because the Israelis have an office here, and are willing to step up co-operation with our government as Mr Simuusa disclosed in New York.
It is also important to note that the Israelis helped Zambia to build its first ever university (UNZA) soon after independence, which has churned out thousands of degree holders in various fields.
The Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education must take advantage of Israel’s goodwill and engage it on how to could contribute to the current roll-out of universities.


  1. And Israel get WHAT? did I miss something in that narrative, or yes, nice words and willingness to accept Israeli help. People and countries are always willing to take what Israel has to offer, and in it matters not, they still vote against Israel, and give assistance, funds, etc. etc. etc. to those who would destroy Israel.