Decentralize Aden: Its a good start [Archives:2002/10/Viewpoint]

March 4 2002

Every time I visit Aden, I see its great potential. It is a city that built to flourish, not to die and collapse, yet Aden is neglected in many ways. Its people are crushed by economic burdens, unemployment, and worst of all, lack of adequate services.
Another problem is the deadly and overwhelming bureaucracy that makes everything unachievable unless capital authorities in Sanaa are in the picture. It seems the commitment of Adens leadership is not enough to get it out of its problems.
While Adens local officials are doing their best, analysts, economists, and even businessmen also need to help. And certainly a key is to decentralize.
I have personally received many comments by businessmen coming from Hadramout, Aden itself and other areas that they had wonderful memories in Aden, and that they feel they could do a lot if they are given the chance. Why not try give those businessmen a chance to see what they could do?
I think of, for example, how well and efficiently the main Hayel Saeed Factories are run in Taiz. I just cannot help but ask whether this could indeed be implemented on a wider scope.
This era is the era of modern business mentality and thinking, and it requires dedication by businessmen who have a sense of responsibility towards their end goal. If they succeed in developing a neighborhood in Aden for example, then that could be a starting point and an example for other cities to follow.
These things take time. There is no solution on earth that will turn a developing country into a developed one overnight. There must be a starting point, however, and I feel a neighborhood is exactly that. Then we can move to another, then a city, then a district, then provinces and eventually the whole country.
Yemen happens to have donor countries that are also very helpful, and they could serve as observers and consultants. With hard work, good planning and dedication, Aden and other areas could become a better place.
Words are easier than deeds. But action can start somewhere. Any city, in fact, will do. The bottom line is that change is needed, and it wont happen by itself.
Those of us who have the vision need to get together with those of us who have the resources and know-how. And then we need to get to work.