African royalty in Israel: The Ashanti King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who is considered to be the strongest traditional ruler in Africa with 8 million subjects, is set to arrive in Israel
next week for a week long visit.
The visit will be private but will include some official engagements. The king will be a guest of the Foreign Ministry and the Ghanaian embassy in Israel. During his visit he will meet with President Shimon Peres,
tour Jerusalem, Nazareth and the Dead Sea
and try to convince venture capital funds to invest in his kingdom.
The Ashanti kingdom was once independent but is currently a region in Ghana that enjoys extensive cultural autonomy. Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is the Ashanti's 16th monarch and has been in power since 1999.
The king lives in a palace in the city of Kumasi. Though officially his role is that of a ceremonial monarch, he has a great deal of political and economic power. He controls land and quarries and has the power to influence his subjects' voting patterns so politicians seek his council and include him in major decisions.
In February the king met with a delegation of Israeli diplomats led by the Director of the Israeli Development Agency (Mashav) Daniel Karmon and Israel's ambassador to Ghana Sharon Bar-Li.
At the end of the visit the king said: "We are interested in encouraging cooperation and ties with (Israel) in the fields of finance and development."