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By Amira Sayed

With more African students flocking to the country, a new club was established earlier this month with the aim of giving them a chance to immerse themselves in the distinctive Egyptian culture that is different from their own.

The aim of the newly-launched club is to unleash the full potential of around 30,000 African students who are pursuing their studies in Egypt.

At the launch ceremony, Head of the AU Permanent Observer Mission to the Arab League, Ambassador Abdelhamid Bouzhaher, said that the club reflected Egypt's keenness on supporting other Africans living in the country.

He added that Egypt's chairmanship of the African Union in 2019 would give the club “added value''.

"It is to be hoped that the club will be the mainstay of a continent-wide student movement that will help engage African students in diverse activities inside and outside their universities," the Vice president of the Pan African Youth Union, Hassan Ghazali, told The Egyptian Mail.

“The club will also help implement Egypt's 2030 Vision and Africa's 2063 Agenda through boosting integration among African students,” he added.

“It is called a club,” Ghazali continued, “since it will focus on cultural activities apart from academic ones. Students are ambassadors. As well as pursuing their studies here, they can deliver a true picture of Egypt to their homelands. That's why boosting their knowledge of Egypt's history and culture, through various trips and programmes, is our top priority. We want to show them Egypt's rich civilisation," he said.

Ghazali pointed out that any African student can join the club. "The club's rules and agenda will be announced soon.”

The African club, according to Ghazali, will help create a link between the African students living in Egypt and the Egyptian students.

"Through the club, they can exchange knowledge and opinions regarding the key challenges facing our beloved continent. Regular workshops, field trips and other activities organised by the club will help hone the students’ leadership skills. All the activities will have the African spirit," he said.

Speaking on behalf of the African students, Zakariya Dibateh, the head of the General Union for African Students in Egypt, told the Mail that he hoped the club would help African students with some of the obstacles they faced in Egypt.

"We hope the club will offer students support in issues related to residency and academic life," he said.

Dibateh, who is from Cote d'Ivoire, said that African students in Egypt need training programmes that would help them reach their full potential.

"We also need more seminars that focus on African affairs, at which students can voice their opinions and more. I hope this club will leave a positive mark on the lives of students,'' he said.

Regarding cultural trips, Dibateh said the union had already organised many trips but the club could organise trips to distant places like Luxor and Aswan.

"Through these trips, the students can further discover the beauty of the country. I think the club will strike a balance between the academic and social life of African students in Egypt."