Dollar Inflow Over the Last 20 Years: WHERE DID IT GO? $22,500,000,000 [Archives:1998/45/Front Page]

November 9 1998

Not many people can readily read the above number? 
It represents the total amount of hard currency the Yemeni authorities have received over the last twenty years. The US$ 22.5 billion or YR 3,260 billion, yields an average of nearly one and a half million riyals for every Yemeni family. 
The main question Yemeni citizens ask is where did all that money go? 
Of course, some of the money was used for development projects. There is visible evidence to that all around. But a good part of the money was pocketed by crooked government officials and military/security officers working for the state. Also dipping into the bounty are tribal sheikhs and other civilians who are part of the entourage of our political leadership.      The largest source of dollar revenue to the state during this period has been the export of oil. Total Yemeni oil output, so far, is roughly one billion barrels. On average, if the Yemeni authorities’ net income is US$ 10 per barrel, total revenue for the authorities from oil exports is roughly US$ 10 billion. 
From the donors’ side, the largest donor is Saudi Arabia. Though Saudi aid to Yemen stopped some nine years ago, it is still the largest, representing over 10% of the total inflow of hard currency to the country. 
Today, the West (Germany, the Netherlands, Japan) as well as the UN bodies and multilateral donors (e.g., World Bank, EU, etc.) are the largest and most important donors to Yemen. Total annual revenue from Western bilateral and multilateral loans and grants nearly match the annual revenue of US$ 600 million the country gets from oil exports. 
  Main Sources of Revenue to the State Over the last 20 Years in million US$ Cumulative Revenue from Oil 10,000 Saudi Arabia 2,400 The World Bank 1,160 Germany 720 Japan 586 The Netherlands 541 UN Bodies (UNDP, WFP, etc.) 453 Kuwait 362 International Monetary Fund 350 Abu Dhabi Development Fund 297 The European Union 256 Others 5,375 TOTAL  22,500  
  The issue of how the resources available to the Yemeni state is used is expected to be a major issue in the 1999 presidential elections, although it will not affect an already pre-determined result. But it will no doubt touch a few nerves here and there within the ruling oligarchy.