CAIRO – Egypt, and Somalia signed on Monday a number of MoUs in various fields of cooperation, including higher education, media, and cultural and religious cooperation.
Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and his Somali counterpart, Hamza Abdi Barre, witnessed the signing of the MoUs during an official visit by Barre and a high-level delegation to Cairo.
Egyptian Higher Education Minister Ayman Ashour and his Somali counterpart, Farah Sheikh Abdul-kadir, signed an MoU on the executive programme for higher education cooperation from 2023 to 2026.
The MoU aims to boost cooperation between Egyptian and Somali higher education institutions and universities and to exchange educational delegations, an Egyptian Cabinet statement cited Ashour as saying during the signing ceremony.
According to the programme, Egypt will offer 450 scholarships annually for Somali students, the minister noted. He added that under the MoU the two countries will set up research teams.
Furthermore, Egypt is willing to provide Somalia with experts and doctors to revamp the Somali National University and its medicine faculty.
Egyptian Minister of Culture Nevine Al-Kilani and her Somali counterpart, Daud Aweis Jama, signed an MoU on cultural cooperation.
As per the MoU, the two sides will hold exhibitions for fine arts and traditional crafts and festivals and will organise visits for artists in the fields of theater, music, and folklore, Al-Kilani said.
Furthermore, Egypt and Somalia will enhance cinema cooperation by exchanging movies and visits by those who are working in the field of cinema. They will also work on intensifying participation in film festivals.
Somalia will also be welcomed to participate in book fairs held in Egypt every year, Al-Kilani noted. She added that the two sides agreed on holding cultural weeks and translating Somali literary works into Arabic and Arab literary works into Somali.
Somalia’s Jama also signed two MoUs to promote media cooperation with both the Egyptian National Media Authority and State Information Service (SIS).
Another MoU was signed between Egypt’s Ministry of Religious Endowments and the Somali Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs.
The MoU, which will be effective until 2026, primarily aims to enhance cooperation between the ministries in the two countries in the cultural and religious spheres.
As per the MoU, the two sides will exchange invitations to participate in international Holy Quran competitions. The Egyptian side will also provide the Somali side with the publications of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
The Egyptian ministry will also offer scholarships to a number of Somali students in line with the admission criteria set by Al-Azhar. Somali imams and preachers will also receive training at the International Awqaf Academy (IAA).
Madbouly and Barre co-chaired a session of talks to discuss means of fostering bilateral cooperation in various fields. The session saw the participation of a number of Egyptian and Somali ministers.
Madbouly emphasized the importance of building on the positive momentum in bilateral relations between Egypt and Somalia.
Egypt closely follows political developments in Somalia, Madbouly said. He expressed the Egyptian State’s solidarity with Somalia in the challenges it is facing, particularly those involving living conditions in the country, amid the acute drought crisis, and Somalia’s efforts to combat terrorism, the Egyptian PM added.
Cooperation to face challenges
Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry also received his Somali counterpart, Abshir Omar Jama.
Shoukry reiterated Egypt’s full solidarity with Somalia in combating terrorism and addressing difficult developmental and humanitarian challenges facing Somalia due to the drought wave in the country.
The meeting stressed the two countries’ joint desire to promote bilateral relations and coordinate regarding files of joint interest, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The two ministers also discussed the security situation in Somalia and Horn of Africa region.
Egypt and Somalia have exchanged high-level visits and phone calls since Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in June last year.
In July, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi received Mohamud in Cairo, during which they agreed to work together to enforce security and stability in the region, especially in the Red Sea.
El-Sisi also affirmed Egypt’s full support for Somalia’s efforts in achieving security and stability as well as eliminating terrorism in the country.