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An Egyptian delegation consisting of government and private sector officials came to Addis Ababa move a proposal forward in regards to the establishment of an educational city comprised of an Egyptian international school, a clinic to be a basis for an Egyptian hospital and an invitation to 50 young Ethiopian to a youth camp in Alexandria, Egypt so that they can interact with their Egyptian counterparts.
The delegation was led by Amr Mohamed Helmi Khaled, a well-known figure in Egypt and the Arab world as a preacher-turned-politician with a party called ‘Egypt Party’. Amr Mohamed Helmi Khaled has a leading charity organization, “Life Makers”, which has been undertaking major projects in the field of electricity, eradicating illiteracy and other charitable endeavours.
Mostafa Ahmady, Press and Information Officer at the Egyptian Embassy, said the delegation has also proposed settling 10 of their members in Ethiopia, in a new approach to observing and studying the Ethiopian way of life to enable them to table a proposal in the future for a literacy project, similar to the one “Life Makers” conducts in Egypt in an effort to eradicate illiteracy.
He also said that part of the delegation consists of members of the Arab Medical Union known for its medical convoys to the Arab world and Africa. The medical union has bases in Africa and is intending to establish an Egyptian medical clinic in Addis Ababa to be staffed by their member doctors with various qualifications.
Amr Khaled stated that the intended purpose of their visit was to strengthen the ties between the two countries, especially in the field of Medicine.
“Our first message is we want to build with you; our second message is, for many years, in Egypt, we were looking to the north but now it’s time to look for and look out for our brothers in the south; our final and third message is for the youth of Ethiopia, in which we want to say: ‘we respect you as partners and we respect your needs,’” declared Amr.
“Some people might say you came, you talked, you made promises, but when will you deliver?” Amr said, adding that the delegation came here with concrete proposals that will be acted upon right away. He also affirmed that he will be having follow-up discussions on the progress of the projects with the Egyptian Embassy in Addis Ababa and the Foreign office back in Cairo, Egypt.
Dr. Hassan El Kalla, who came with the delegation as part of an initiative for an educational city in Ethiopia, said he has agreed with the Ministry of Education to establish an Egyptian international school, a training institution for Ethiopian teachers, school leaders and school administrators in the proposed educational city. It will also offer students a wide variety of curricula to choose from.
The institutions to be established are also expected to benefit children of Egyptian expatriates, who are mostly business people, to help them grow up in an environment where they can relate to their Egyptian heritage.
Doctor Mohammed Suleiman, the project’s and external office’s manager at the Arab Medical Union, said he came with the delegation as part of the drive to promote medical cooperation between the two countries.
The medical union represents 400,000 doctors in Arab countries of which more than 200,000 are Egyptians working in emergency and relief projects in nearby countries. Currently, it operates in hot spots such as the Gaza strip, Darfur in the Sudan and in war-torn Somalia where it has built a hospital in the capital city Mogadishu and another hospital for the treatment of the wounded in the Syrian crisis along the Syrian-Turkish border.
An Egyptian unit for Endoscopy has started work at Saint Paul’s hospital l and another unit for Nephrology is already in operation there. (Nephrology is the branch of medicine concerned with the physiology and diseases of the kidney). Another Egyptian unit for Endoscopy is also hard at work in the main hospital in the city of Bahir Dar in northwest Ethiopia.
Dr. Mohammed stated that consultants in the fields of Neurosurgery and surgery for vascular disorder have previously been sent to Ethiopia; their inclusion in future medical convoys has been discussed, he affirmed.
“We can help in treating patients from Ethiopia since Egypt is nearer than places like Thailand, Japan, the US or Europe where some Ethiopian patients go for treatment,” said Mohammed.
Mohammed Edrees, Ambassador of Egypt to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU and UNECA in Addis Ababa, said both countries are combating common diseases such as liver and renal disorders and cooperation is well underway to treat such ailments together.
It was stated that Ethiopian authorities have requested assistance in the field of cancer treatment and that Egypt will be providing doctors who are experts in this area to operate out of Saint Paul’s Hospital. Plans are also underway to have a unit of Tele medicine to be connected to Cairo University.
The delegation reportedly met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of education, Demeke Mekonnen, to discuss the concept of an educational city. They also met with the Minister for Government Communications, Bereket Simon, as well the political advisor to the Prime Minister, Ambassador Mehdi Ahmed at the Foreign Ministry.
During its ten-day trip, the Egyptian delegation also visted Kigali, Rwanda, Kampala, Uganda and Juba, South Sudan before arriving in Addis Ababa.
Egypt’s relationship with Ethiopia is growing at a fast pace with Egyptian investment in Ethiopia currently estimated at more than two billion dollars.