Israel will launch a hub in Africa and the Middle East to foster high-tech innovation and help it compete with rivals like China and India, according to a document released by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Israel has been looking to expand its role in Africa, which it views as a strategic strategic base for its economy, and has long sought to build a tech hub in the region.
The document, titled “Evaluating Israel’s Strategic Investment in Africa,” also noted that “Israel is also working on establishing a high-speed broadband network in Nigeria, a key strategic partner for the country in the battle against Boko Haram.”
The announcement comes as Israel has been struggling with low foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector, a measure that tracks the amount of foreign investment that enters the country for the purpose of doing business.
It is also being eyed by some analysts for possible direct investments, like a possible nuclear deal with Iran.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has said it wants to diversify its portfolio away from traditional defense industries, which have historically provided Israel with a disproportionate share of the country’s foreign aid, to include technology.
Israel has struggled with high FDI in recent years, partly due to a number of factors, including a slow economic recovery in the wake of the 2009-2011 recession, as well as the imposition of sanctions on Israel in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.
According to the document, the government is currently reviewing its policies in this area, including in relation to investments and foreign direct investments.
According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the announcement is in line with the countrys stated objective of becoming a technology superpower.
“The focus will be on expanding our research and development in high-technology, as it will be the most profitable investment in Israel,” he said at the time.
For the past few years, Israel has sought to improve its tech-savvy foreign-policy credentials, as part of its efforts to build up its technological capabilities and improve its military prowess.
In the document released on Tuesday, the Israeli government also noted the need for a high speed broadband network, which would be vital for Israel’s economic competitiveness.
“We are working on a high capacity Internet and mobile network to serve the Israeli citizens in the future,” the document said.
The report also said Israel would launch a new department of technology innovation and research in 2020, which will focus on developing innovative products and services for Israel.