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israel showcases its innovation technologies

The Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN hosted an event in New York on September 22, 2016, on Israeli Innovation & Technologies in Africa & Developing Countries, with the participation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Madeleine Brecher, ICJW Representative to the UN, attended and sent this report.

Each year, in September, the UN welcomes the leaders of 193 member states to the opening session of the General Assembly. The traffic and police presence around the UN are, as you can imagine, mind-boggling. This year, after a terrorist bombing took place a few days earlier only a mile away, the situation was more intense. Nevertheless, I fought my way through the crowds, the closed off streets and security to attend this unique event as the Jewish state, dubbed the StartUp Nation, showcased Israeli Innovation and Technologies in Africa and Developing Countries.

Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed a packed crowd of heads of state, foreign ministers and ambassadors from African and developing countries. Senior UN officials and representatives from the private sector also took part. The Prime Minister spoke about his recent tour of four African countries… Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia….. a visit that was aimed at strengthening the burgeoning ties between Israel and rapidly developing African region. Holding back tears, he related his stop at the old airport in Entebbe where his brother Yonatan was killed in action during Operation Entebbe in 1976.

Ambassador Danon spoke of his hope that the technology and innovations that Israel’s Trailblazers were going to describe would bring people together. “Israel’s diplomatic and economic ties with Africa and the developing world are undergoing momentous growth and we are encouraging Israeli companies to continue to invest in these important markets.”

The innovations were presented in a creative manner with a very brief 5 minute description of each that included a demonstration for the participants. The event was very exciting and I was proud to be hearing about these marvels in the halls of the UN where the talk about Israel is not always so pleasant. We learned about a mobile soil-less “mini farm”, a low cost atmospheric water generator which converts air into water, solar energy for power and water pumping, and a cancer-detecting medical app used on a cell phone that saves lives quickly and economically… to name a few.

In December, 2012, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly passed an Israeli-sponsored UN resolution titled “Entrepreneurship for Development”. This marked the first time that the UN formally recognized that entrepreneurship should be a major tool in reducing poverty, creating sustainable development and reinvigorating the environment. The event at the UN on September 22nd was a fine opportunity for Israel to show off its visionary startups in front of a global audience.