Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Reuters

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived Monday for an historical first-ever official visit to represent his southeast Asian technological powerhouse city-state, which has increasingly been doing business with Israel.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the countries was signed by Ambassador Gil Haskel, the Head of Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV), and Singapore's ambassador to the State of Israel, Ambassador Winston Choo Wee Leong.

The signing of the MOU signifies the successful conclusion of the discussions and development dialogues held by the two sides – a process which began in 2013 in Singapore and subsequently resumed in 2015 in Jerusalem.

The memorandum states that both countries will cooperate and provide funding and training to professionals from developing countries around the world. The training courses will include economic development, innovation, health and sustainable development and will take place in Singapore, in Israel, or in a third country.

The pilot course was successfully held in November 2015 in Singapore with the focused topic being public health. Approximately 20 professionals from countries in the Pacific and the Caribbean participated.

The second planned joint activity is due to take place next month at the MASHAV facility on Mount Carmel, Haifa. The course topic will focus on the empowerment of women in politics, and 15 trainees from Africa are expected to participate.

During his time in Jerusalem, the Singaporean Prime Minister and his wife are to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum, the Old City, and Hebrew University on Mount Scopus where he will receive an honorary doctorate in philosophy.

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