Business In Brief [Archives:2006/955/Business & Economy]

June 15 2006

– Yemen's stock exchange

operational by the end of 2006

Dr. Saif Al-Asali, Minister of Finance, announced plans to launch Yemen's first stock exchange by the end of 2006. He indicated that preparations for the stock exchange's inauguration are on-going. The stock market is planned to open after the conclusion of the donors conference scheduled to be held this November in London. The conference aims to recruit donor countries to assist Yemen in drawing level to other economies in the region.

– IFC and Central Bank Conduct Financial Leasing Workshops

On June 11, two workshops were held to promote financial leasing as a means to increase access to finance for small and medium enterprises in Yemen. Held in Sana'a, the workshops provided government officials and representatives from financial institutions with a review of key issues related to legal, tax, and accounting aspects of leasing as it can spur economic growth and job creation by increasing the productive sector's ability to finance new investments.

The workshops were organised by the Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa (PEP-MENA), which is affiliated to the International Finance Corporation – the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. The focus of the PEP-MENA is on improving the business enabling and regulatory environment; strengthening the financial sector; promoting the growth of small and medium enterprises and their support services, such as business organizations and consulting firms; helping restructure and privatize state-owned enterprises; and developing viable private sector and public-private partnership projects, especially in infrastructure.

– Yemen to expand gas production

Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Khalid Balhah announced that his ministry plans to increase the production of natural gas either through the expansion of the current YLNG project (in partnership with Total), or through the establishment of an additional independent gas production facility. Balhah made his comments at the 23rd World Gas Conference held in Amsterdam from June 5-9. The current YLNG project plans to begin the export of Yemeni natural gas by 2008 through a dedicated export facility located in Belhaf – Gulf of Aden.

– OMV starts oil exploration

in Block 2 – Shabwa

Austrian OMV announced it will start immediate oil exploration in Block 2 – Al-Mabar, Shabwa governorate, after the receiving ratification from the Yemeni parliament. OMV will start with two explorations with a financial obligation of over $14 million (USD). OMV has had earlier success in Yemen and currently operates two oil producing wells. This move comes as a part of a strategy to expand their activities in Yemen and consolidate its position as one of the leading oil exploration and production companies.

– Yemen to reconsider

Dubai-Aden port agreement

The Yemeni government formed a committee to reconsider the agreement terms under which Dubai Ports will operate the port of Aden. The parliament has not ratified this agreement yet and has submitted over forty inquiries on the terms indicating that Yemen's interests have been undermined and ignored. President Saleh has publicly expressed that his main concern was the unreasonably long duration of the agreement)35 years)with the economic interests of Yemen not receiving priority.

– Yemeni Fisheries

receive European grant

The Ministry of Fisheries has received a European grant of $ 7.6 million (USD) to improve the quality of production and export processes at fisheries as a part of the European project to support competent management of the fishing sector. The grant plans to improve the efficiency of fishing and rehabilitate packaging plants and export mechanisms.

– Preparations for November's

donors' conference start

The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation plans to head a five-day technical cooperation program with development specialists from the General Secretary's office of the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) in order to prepare for the November's donors' conference to be held in London. Yemeni officials need the help of their counterparts in the GCC in order to take advantage of their expertise for this conference as well for the investment opportunities conference to be held in Yemen in February 2007.

– Star Cement to build

a cement plant in Aden

UAE-based Star Cement plans to build a cement factory in the Al-She'eb area in Alburyqa-Aden at a total cost of $ 40 million (USD). The plant is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2007, and will run at a capacity of half a million tons of cement, expandable to one million, annually. The company will employ 110 personnel.

– Saudi-German Hospital & Moevenpick Sana'a inaugurated

President Ali Abdullah Saleh officially inaugurated the Saudi-German Hospital on June 11. The 300-room hospital is equipped with state of the art facilities and will be capable of undertaking advanced procedures including open heart surgery and cancer treatment. President Saleh also inaugurated the Sana'a Moevenpick Hotel owned by the International Company for Touristic Investments. The 338-room luxury hotel plans to cater to both business and leisure travellers.