Abu Dhabi: The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) has signed an agreement with Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (SUAD) to support the education sector in a number of African countries.
In a virtual ceremony held recently, the agreement was signed by Sultan Al Shamsi, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for International Development Affairs, and Professor Silvia Serrano, vice-chancellor of Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.
The agreement comes in line with the UAE’s efforts to strengthen and support the education sector in several African nations by providing 60 undergraduate full scholarships for qualified students from French-speaking African countries to pursue their studies at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.
This agreement, which comes against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, is considered an opportunity for such countries to build the competencies of their human capital, which is the primary pillar for development. It will also empower African youth to build a better future and contribute towards achieving the sustainable development of their countries and local communities.
The agreement is expected to take effect in September 2021, allowing students to enrol in the 2021-2022 academic year.
Commenting on the agreement, Prof. Serrano said: “With this initiative, Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi is pleased to be able to contribute to the pivotal role that the UAE plays in developing the global education landscape, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact this cooperation will have on enhancing the educational and professional development of human capital in African countries.”
She added: “I am confident that through this agreement, we will empower youth and contribute to the development of their intellectual capacity by allowing them to receive a world-class education that will have a major impact on their future and the long-term roles they will play in the economic development of their native countries,” she added.
Providing these scholarships for partner countries is part of the UAE’s Foreign Aid Policy, which aims to support governments in building the capacities of countries and developing their national human capital.
Through its Technical Assistance Programme (UAETAP), the UAE works to implement programmes to support developing countries by facilitating technical cooperation activities that draw upon the lessons learnt from the UAE’s developmental experience.
UAETAP provides its services in cooperation with the competent UAE government and business institutions. In addition, the UAE works in close collaboration with donor countries and international partners to provide technical cooperation programmes for beneficiary countries.
Since 2018, approximately 1,694 students from 70 countries, including 650 female students, were registered in scholarship programmes in the UAE’s higher education institutions. Among those were 725 male and female African students in different Emirati universities.