South African President: Israel has shown it can lead

A month after confirming intention to downgrade Tel Aviv embassy to liaison office, Cyril Ramaphosa hails Startup Nation as leading by leaps

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Quantum technology
Quantum technology

The president of South Africa this week hailed Israel’s startup economy as “leading by leaps and bounds,” saying that his country has much to learn from the Jewish state.

Addressing a Women in Business Conference in Johannesburg, President Cyril Ramaphosa discussed so-called challenge funds, a tool he said Israelis had successful used to boost their tech sector.

“In many ways, that is what has gotten Israel to lead in the technology space,” he said. “They are leading by leaps and bounds, and they are actually innovative in a number of sectors of the economy, in agriculture, in maritime and in a number of other areas. They have shown that they can lead. And we can learn a lot from what they do.”

The prowess of Israel’s tech industry has been widely acknowledged, but Ramaphosa’s comment is noteworthy because the South African government has long been publicly vowing to downgrade its embassy in Tel Aviv to a mere “liaison office.”

“The government remains engaged with the modalities of downgrading the South African Embassy in Israel,” he stated just last month in a written response to a parliamentary query about the matter.

“We have recalled our ambassador and intend to retain a liaison office in Tel Aviv, which will oversee our continuing provision of consular services and any trade and economic relations,” Ramaphosa said.