Saudi Arabia gives $50m to Sri Lanka for medical faculty

Updated 19 September 2019

Saudi Arabia gives $50m to Sri Lanka for medical faculty

COLOMBO: Saudi Arabia provided a concessional loa3eeeillion) to Sri Lanka on Wednesday to establish a fully equipped faculty of medicine at the Sabaragamuwa University at Ratnapura.

The agreement was signed between vice chairman and managing director of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), Dr. Khaled Sulaiman Al-Khudairy, and secretary to the Ministry of Finance, Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, in the presence of the Saudi Ambassador in Colombo Abdulnasser Al-Harthy.

Following the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Finance in Colombo, Samaratunge said that the Saudi funding would help to contribute to the government policy of augmenting opportunities for higher education in medicine in Sri Lanka.

The funds will be used to construct infrastructure facilities and to provide undergraduates with state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities (laboratory and other equipment) that will help provide them with a world-class medical education.

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The Muslim World League recently donated $5 million during Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa’s visit to Sri Lanka to help the victims of the Easter Sunday bomb blasts.

Al-Harthy said that this is one of the several projects that is funded by the Saudi Fund for Development. The SFD has given SR1.4 billion to Sri Lanka as soft loans and grants since the 1980s, he said.

“We hope to help Sri Lanka not only in education; we will consider more such facilities in health, roads, irrigation, community development and agricultural sectors,” Al-Harthy said. 

Last year, the SFD granted two concessional loans worth $73 million to Sri Lanka for its higher education and water resource management sectors.

The SFD provided $28 million for the Wayamba University Township Development Project, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Higher Education and Highways. This project is designed to develop the academic facilities and infrastructure of the university as well as support the livelihoods of people who live in the area around it. The SFD also provided a concessional loan of $45 million to implement the Left Bank Development Project in Kaluganga.

The Muslim World League recently donated $5 million during Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa’s visit to Sri Lanka to help the victims of the Easter Sunday bomb blasts.


Saudi military opens first women’s section

Updated 42 min 18 sec ago

Saudi military opens first women’s section

  • The initiative is the first to allow women to climb the ladder towards senior ranks

JEDDAH: Saudi military chief of staff, Gen. Fayyad Al-Ruwaili, launched the first military section for women in the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces on Sunday.

The director general of admission and enlistment, Maj. Gen. Imad Al-Aidan, explained the regulations of acceptance, and allocated locations where the female staff will be stationed.

Under the initiative to incorporate more women into the field, previously announced in October 2019, women can now join the military as lance corporals, corporals, sergeants, and staff sergeants in the Royal Saudi Land Forces, Air Force, Saudi Arabian Navy, Air Defense Forces, Strategic Missile Forces and Armed Forces Medical Services.

The initiative is the first to allow women to climb the ladder towards senior ranks.

Former Shoura Council member Haya Al-Muni’I previously told Asharq Al-Awsat that these new laws support women’s rights and capabilities in the Kingdom’s military.

“Naturally, they will enter a new sphere of work. It’s a reflection of a national belief in the equality between women and men,” she said.

The initiative is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Program, pushing for the empowerment of women and giving them more leadership positions, and highlighting the significance of their involvement across different fields.