The Sheikh of al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb said that al-Azhar is completely ready to contribute to the renaissance of Mauritania through supporting education. Al-Azhar will increase the scholarships to students and is pledged to offer the required support. These statements were made by Ahmed el-Tayeb on Tuesday during a meeting with the Egyptian Ambassador Ahmed Fadel Yaacoub. The meeting discussed ways to strengthen ties between al-Azhar, the government and people of Mauritania in the fields of social, cultural, religious and health issues and the role of Al-Azhar in social and health development that Mauritania witnesses now. El-Tayeb said al-Azhar is ready to increase the number of scholarships to fifteen types so students can study medicine, pharmacy and engineering in order to actively participate in a "renaissance". The Sheikh will also host Mauritanian scientists giving lectures in al-Azhar in recognition of their important scientific and intellectual status. He indicated that he was ready to visit Mauritania in his upcoming Arab tour that will include some Arab and African countries. Contrary to claims by the Sheikh, Mauritania continues to be the country with the highest percentage population of slaves (20 percent) despite repeated attempts to outlaw the practise, child slavery continues and is a significant barrier to education for many.