Emerging Democracies Forum’s First Session Starts Today [Archives:1999/26/Front Page]

June 28 1999

Today, the sessions of the Emerging Democracies Forum (EDF) will formally begin. At 9:45, a Welcome Address at the Presidential Palace will be given to all the participants in this event. This conference is the first of its kind, not only for Yemen but for the entire world. The forum will then continue for two more days – see the Work Agenda in the Yemen Times EDF Edition – and will be the focal point of the local media. On this occasion, starting from yesterday, the Yemen Times is publishing a daily edition that will be covering the events of the EDF as they happen on a daily basis. This event is very important for Yemen in many ways. First, it will show the world that Yemen is serious about adopting democratic values and becoming a fully democratic nation. Second, it will open the way for Yemen to learn from the ideas and experiences of the other participating countries. Third, if successful, the forum will encourage investors to think about returning to invest in Yemen now that it has become reasonably stable, and as on the road to security. Fourth, if an intensive tourism campaign were to be launched during the conference, the tourism industry should begin to gain confidence, and gradually return to normal. Fifth, the willingness of the regime to hold and successfully support such an event would bring attention to the region and in the long run would drive developed countries to increase their support, financially, and morally to the country’s development process, hence adding to the strength of the economy.
However, these benefits can only be gained if the government is willing to do all it can to make this forum a success on a local and international level. Only then can it reap the fruits. This forum can signal a landmark in Yemen’s modern history. Making the most of it is a difficult and extremely challenging test for the government. Can the government pass this test? We’ll wait and see!