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 Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

  • “I was transported into a completely different world”: Jay Kay

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”