Interview: “My Priority Is To Attract Greater Israeli Investment”
H.E. Ran Gidor, Ambassador of Israel in Cameroon, assesses bilateral relations and states his priority actions.
You are in Cameroon just for a few months but you have shown interest in fostering relations between Cameroon and Israel in the areas of health and agriculture. How do you assess the level of relations between Cameroon and your country?
The bilateral relations between Cameroon and Israel have traditionally been extremely close, indeed, even intimate. We have cooperated in a wide spectrum of domains, e.g. counter-terrorism, technology & high-tech, agriculture, irrigation, water and education. However, our excellent relations have, unfortunately, not yet manifested themselves in the sphere of commerce. Therefore, it is my top priority to promote and increase our bilateral trade and to attract greater Israeli investment to Cameroon.
How is the current security situation in Israel considering that your country most often suffer from sporadic and intermittent attacks from armed groups and terrorists? What advice do you have for Cameroon that also faces security problems?
It is true that Israel has been grappling with terrorism and conflict ever since it had gained its independence (1948). However, we have managed to develop some advanced and ground-breaking counter-terrorism methodology and doctrine, and have largely managed to curb most forms of violence. Indeed, considering the recent turmoil all around us in the Middle East (e.g. Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon etc.), Israel is seen as an oasis of stability, prosperity and scientific progress.
I wouldn’t presume to advise the Cameroonian authorities on how to curb terrorism, especially as they have been doing a fantastic job at keeping the country safe and stable despite the significant regional challenges. Our own experience demonstrates that economic prosperity and improved living conditions are the most effective long-term guarantee against security challenges, and I think the Cameroonian government shares the same assessment.
Taking security and development issues into account, what would be the new orientations and priorities in cooperation ties during your stay at the helm of the Israeli diplomatic mission in Cameroon?
I would aspire to build on the solid foundation laid by my predecessors, and develop even further our existing bilateral projects in the spheres of agriculture, irrigation and counter-terrorism. However, I am hoping also to expand our activities into fresh domains, such as: water exporation, purification and management (especially in the North & Far North regions), solar energy, public health-care, vocational training, and high-tech start-ups. Together with my colleagues at the Israeli Embassy and our local Cameroonian partners, we have put together an extremely ambitious agenda for the next few years. Even if only 25 percent of it is implemented – I will be extremely satisfied.