Partnership for the Goals
Israel Joins the Global Effort for Underdeveloped Nations
This summer Israel decided to officially join the global effort toward international development. The UN’s 17 development goals set high standards for countries to reach in finding solutions for challenges in water, agriculture, nutrition, health, education and technology. Israel – already a global leader in some of these areas – is prepared to lend its expertise in water management, advanced agriculture, quantitative and universal health services, innovation and advanced energy.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu views Israeli guidance as an opportunity to strengthen economic and diplomatic ties with international markets in India, China and Latin America. In other words, a win-win: Developing countries will benefit from economic and social development, and Israel will increase its exports, accelerate its growth and strengthen its diplomatic standing.
If all goes according to plan, more Israeli companies will begin to come out of the woodwork and realize their potential by offering assistance to developing nations.
An inter-ministerial committee will be established as part of the government effort, with the Director-General of the Prime Minister’s office as its chair. The committee will have the authority to select the targeted countries as well as the type of assistance which will be offered, focusing of course on the areas where Israel maintains a relative advantage over other countries. The committee will likewise determine the extent of the involvement of the private sector. A financial institution for development may quite possibly become part of the effort as well. The committee will be accountable for presenting its conclusions to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister.
Further bolstering the initiative, the Innovation Authority has developed a new incentive program in partnership with Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) and the National Economic Council of the Prime Minister’s Office. The Grand Challenges Israel Incentive Program supports R&D and the development of commercial products focused on the humanitarian health challenges that exist in developing countries. Support of up to 90% of approved budgets will be granted to entrepreneurs and companies targeting markets in areas such as global health (including accessibility of health services and infectious disease treatment), water (treatment and sanitation, access to clean water), and agtech (irrigation in arid conditions, advanced agriculture).
Along these same lines, the U.S. and Israel have entered into Memorandum of Understanding to advance the common goals of reducing energy poverty and increasing access to energy in sub-Saharan Africa. Innovative partnerships between private companies, African governments and foreign assistance will implement the MOU. On the U.S. side, the Power Africa Coordinator’s Office of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will take the lead. On Israel’s side the MOU will be implemented through the the Prime Minister’s Office, in conjunction with the Ministry of Economy and Industry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Energy and Innovation Authority.
As in the case of India, China and Latin America, the collaboration with Power Africa will focus on strengthening economic ties and cooperation with African countries. Specifically, there will be collaboration on the following issues: Exploration of investment opportunities among U.S. and Israeli companies; expanding access to electricity; extending energy across sub-Saharan Africa through grid-renewable as well as off-grid efforts; encouraging partnerships between Israeli and U.S. companies on new projects throughout the African continent. Eli Groner, Director-General of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, made the following statement: “The U.S.-Israel relationship is based on shared values and aligned interests. This is yet another manifestation of our collaboration to make the world a better place.”
An export of a different kind has been submitted by Social Export Israel: “The power of social exports can strengthen Israel’s economic, social and diplomatic strength by exporting social models that have the potential to bring about significant social, civil or economic change in the target countries.” Social Export Israel, through its activity, empowers the social sector in Israel in the field of foreign relations and public diplomacy, and generates additional income streams for organizations, non-profit organizations and the state treasury.
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