Business In Brief [Archives:2006/957/Business & Economy]

June 22 2006

WB approves country assistance strategy

The World Bank approved the 2006-2009 Country Assistance Strategy for Yemen. The strategy will provide assistance to Yemen by increasing non-oil growth, improving human development outcomes, improving fiscal sustainability, and addressing the natural resource sustainability crisis. The strategy will provide about $400 million (USD) in IDA (International Development Association) credits to Yemen through a selective program of lending operations as well as a strategic program of analytical and learning services.

USAID may increase assistance to Yemen

Mike Sarahan, the director of USAID in Yemen, indicated that the U.S. plans to increase its economic assistance to Yemen to $400-500 million (USD) annually from the current $45 million provided that the government of Yemen continues its economic reform package, and intensifies its efforts towards realizing the Millennium Development Goals.

FAO provides $285,000 for fisheries

A cooperation agreement was signed by Yemen and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations that will create an information system to support the infrastructure of the fisheries industry. The system will assist in the tasks of statistical, marketing, and resource management of Yemen's fisheries in order to better develop the industry.

Saudi Fund for Development funds electricity projects

The board of directors of the Saudi Fund for Development announced the establishment of a funding mechanism to finance electricity generation projects in Yemen. The initial plan is to finance the purchase of two power-generation facilities in Sana'a and Aden, each with the producing 60 megawatts per annum at a total cost of $100 million (USD).

Hodeida Industrial Zone to start construction

Abdullah Hahya Bukari received the finalized illustrations and plans for the Hodeida Industrial Zone, which included a three-phase construction plan. The first phase, that will see 41 percent of the plan implemented, is expected to start immediately and will contain food and textile industries; electric and engineering industries; metal and chemical industries; as well as ancillary industries that will support other industries within the zone.

Red Sea island to become luxury resort

The Yemeni Ministry of Tourism has signed an agreement with the Al-Miqati International Investments Group to rehabilitate the Yemeni island of Entofash located in the Red Sea across from the town of Al-Lohayat. The plan envisions the island becoming a world-class luxury resort. The rehabilitation plan includes the construction of an airport, a seaport, and a resort complex. Minister of tourism Mr. Nabil Al-Faqih, Minister of Tourism, and Rashed Al-Kaff, representative of the Miqati Group, signed the agreement.

SinoPec to start operations in Yemen in July

The SinoPec International Corporation of China will start explorations for oil in Block 69 in the Shabwa governorate in early July. A geological survey over 610 square kilometers will begin operations which are expected to continue for a few months. Progress reports will indicate if the survey has located any deposits that could increase the production capacity of Yemen. SinoPec has already had great success in oil exploration and production operations in several African countries.

YemenMobile announces public offer of shares

YemenMobile announced an ambitious plan to issue shares worth 45 perent of its capital. Shares are to be sold to the public through three schemes at 500 YR per share. The first scheme will sells 10 percent of the shares to employees of YemenMobile and employees of the Ministry of Telecommunications. The second scheme compromises of 14 percent of the total shares and these will be sold to banks, funds, and corporations. These entities will be able to buy a minimum of 4,000 shares and a maximum of 120,000 shares. The remaining 21 percent is to be sold directly to the public at a minimum of 20 shares and a maximum of 4,000 shares.

YemenMobile announced that its number of subscribers reached 500,000 in less than two years of operations, which exceeds their target of 320,000 by 36 percent.

Al-Dar Telecommunications acquires UniTel

Saudi-based Al-Dar Telecommunications acquired Yemeni telecommunication company Unitel, which is the third largest GSM operator in Yemen. The size of Al-Dar's investment will reach $335 million (USD) including a $149 million licensing fee to be paid by Al-Dar Telecommunications. The new GSM service is expected to offer advanced telecommunications solutions with the prospect of launching third generation (3-G) GSM mobile services in Yemen in 2007.

Saudi-German Hospital Group plans to build 29 medical facilities

After the successful launch of their first hospital in Yemen, the Saudi-German Hospital Group CEO Subhi AbdulJalil announced an ambitious plan to establish 29 more medical facilities in Yemen by 2015. These facilities are planned to include a medical training institute. Total investment planned by the Group is estimated at $3 billion (USD) and the facilities are projected to provide employment for over 50,000 people in Yemen.