The Republic of Yemen’s international development partners have pledging up to $2.3 billion in support of the government’s objectives over a three-year period. The government responded with a reassertion of its commitment to a full implementation of its new Poverty Reduction Strategy.
The international donor community and international financial institutions concluded a two-day consultative group meeting with representatives of the Government of Yemen in Paris last week. The donor community expressed its support for the government’s development agenda and assured their continued assistance.
Opening the meetings, Yemen’s Prime Minister Abdulkader Ba Jamal told the meeting that poverty in Yemen, with a per-capita income of only $450, is inextricably linked with security. “Last week’s attack on the French tanker hurt Yemen most,” the Prime Minister said.
“Yemen is on the front line against terrorism, and events like this limit private investment and tourism. In addition, the volatility of oil prices makes long term planning difficult, the world financial system is under stress, and protectionism in the rich countries hampers its efforts to diversify exports,” said World Bank Vice President for Middle East and North Africa, Jean-Louis Sarbib.
Development partners noted that the government’s track record since 1990 has been impressive especially in view of the shocks it suffered from the merger of North and South Yemen, the Gulf War, a civil war, the world recession of 1997, and the fallout from the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. They commended the government for sticking to its far-reaching modernization program begun in 1995, taking tough decisions to stabilize the economy, and using the windfall from recent high oil prices so responsibly.
The meeting endorsed the government’s new Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, which lays out its plans for the next three years to accelerate economic growth and ensure progress towards meeting the human-centered Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the world community.
The government made the case that although it has been steadily increasing the share of its budget devoted to education, health, and its social safety net for the poor, it simply does not have the resources to meet the MDGs without much more help from the international community. Yemen has been receiving only about one-fifth as much aid per capita as the average for other low-income countries.
The meeting discussed as well the investment climate in Yemen. The government explained its broad program to make Yemen attractive to private investors, which includes a new investment law, plans to join the WTO, and numerous other measures.
With diminishing supplies of oil and water, the government agreed with donors on plans to diversify its economic base away from oil. Stress was also placed on a greater role for small and medium enterprises in the development process. Above all, the Government plans to secure Yemen’s future by improving the education, skills and health of its people, and equipping them with essential roads, electricity and water. The donors pledged to support the government’s strategy with a higher level of aid than at any time since 1990.
Participating nation states included representatives from France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Oman, Poland, Qatar, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Participating institutions included the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), the Arab Monetary Fund, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), the OPEC Fund for International Development, the European Commission (EC), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )