After 14 year of the unity, poverty still preoccupies Yemen [Archives:2004/740/Business & Economy]

May 24 2004

Poverty in Yemen is at the present time a big economic title preoccupies Yemen though fourteen years have elapsed since the unification of the two parts of Yemen- the north and the south- in one state. The Yemeni Socialist Party that ruled the southern part for a certain period has disappeared and the General People's Congress is presently ruling the state via parliamentary, presidential and local elections.
Poverty is nowadays occupies a large proportion of the population for various reasons, most prominent of which are the high rates of population growth, the increasing volume of unemployment and increased outputs of official and private university education without planning to be parallel to requirements of the labour market. Despite that Yemen has in the past 14 years achieved accomplishments in the infrastructure and in reforming economic shortcomings, liberalization of external trade and pursuing the free market policy; the social situations have seen a retreat in the proportion of families' income and those of limited income. For that reason the government has sought help of donors who pledged to support a strategic plan for combating poverty with around $2.3 billion at a conference held in Paris. The government has embarked on implementing that strategy for approximately a year with participation of civil society organisations, local councils, donors and the private sector. After a year of the plan which is still being implemented till 2005, the ministry of planning and international cooperation headed for evaluation of the level of achievement n the strategy to get acquainted with the weak points and hindrances impeding the success of its goals.
The people say the unitary achievement of Yemen is something very great but the economic situations and living conditions have got much worse due to great shortages in job opportunities and employment and some defects existing in the state's administrative machinery. There are every day long queues of unemployed people waiting at the free labour market and those looking for job opportunities usually gather at certain main places inside the capital Sana'a and the major cities. The government, however, confirms that its policy adopted for combating poverty and unemployment has realized positive results for the interest of the poor and those of limited income.
The national strategy for fighting poverty admits that there is a shortcoming and defect in the economic and educational performance in addition to failure in performance related to providing health services, drinking water, electricity and qualification and training; all of which contribute negatively to aggravation of the poor problems. Thus and for those reasons the strategy puts solutions for the existing problems through engaging and involving the private sector, civil society organisations and local councils in the bid for combating poverty. The poor say that under circumstances of the unity state established since 22 May 1990, the living conditions have been witnessing steady deterioration in a way he poor families have become unable to buy their necessities of food and medicine because of the decline in their purchasing power. According to the economic reform program the Yemeni government has implemented, the state subsidy has been lifted from food stuffs and prices of fuel, and electricity and telephone bills were raised a matter which caused the aggravation of the poverty problems in YEMEN.
The dollar exchange rate in the Yemeni currency market jumped from 12 riyals in 1990 to 184 riyals in this year and against that prices of consumer goods have risen by three times proportions which have been reflected negatively on the life of those of limited income. Nevertheless, the poor in Yemen love their unified state but waiting for the final solutions for the problems of poverty surrounding them presently.