Governor of Aden to YT: “What has been achieved since Unity is much more than what was achieved before in both Yemens in a 40-year period.” [Archives:2001/42/Interview]
On Yemen’s celebration of the 38th anniversary of the October 14th Revolution, as well as the 34th anniversary of the departure of the last British colonialist from the South of Yemen, Radhwan al-Saqqaf, Yemen Times Aden Bureau Chief, met in Aden with Mr. Taha Ahmad Ghanem, Governor, to shed some light on the city’s development process:
Q: Can you give us a comparison of the situations during the periods before and after Unity?
A: Let me start by congratulating Yemeni people and their leader, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, on this great occasion.
Since the breakout of the September 26 Revolution, along with the October 14 Revolution in the South, Yemen’s history has been full of victories and significant accomplishments in all respects. So far, Unity has been the greatest achievement in Yemen’s history. If we compare the periods before and after Unity, we will find that what has been achieved since Unity is much more important than what was achieved before in both Yemens in a 40-year period. This shows us the greatness of Unity, which enabled our country to establish a strong base for its development.
Q: After the rapid growth of the Free Zone project, work began in Aden to establish an industrial zone. What about this project?
A: According to the general plan, this project will be completed in four phases spanning a 25-30 year period. The plan was outlined in the beginning of the 1990s on the basis of administrative, technical, economic, and financial surveys. Despite the fact that the foundation of the plan is still valid, new developments have been made in technology, administration and construction which necessitate revising the original plan. The estimated necessary financial investment has also increased. For example, what cost US $5 a decade ago, costs US $7-10 today.
Q: Aden has a great tourist potential. How do you assess related investment in this city?
A: Many local as well as foreign investors have been showing interest in Aden in general and in the Free Zone in particular for the last ten years. This can by attributed to a number of factors, such as Aden’s strategic location, its old fame, and its reputation as an important seaport. The investment projects that have been achieved thus far and the continuous investment requests indicate that new projects are arising day after day. Let me take this opportunity to welcome local, Arab as well as foreign investors to Aden and assure them that they will be provided with all possible incentives to make their jobs easier.
Q: Can you give us a brief idea about the new projects in Aden?
A: Everyday there is something new in various fields. President Saleh has been paying special attention to this city, its people, and their needs. He has been personally following all development projects and plans to make the city an important economic and commercial capital, in addition to its existing free zone.
Q: What about security?
A: I would not be exaggerating if I said that Aden is the most secure place in Yemen. People are peaceful, and there is a good cooperation between security forces and the population. This makes the job of security forces easier and helps to maintain stability.
All threats of sabotage, such as those perpetrated in the past by a number of traitors, have vanished. The fruitful cooperation between security people and citizens resulted in the disappearance of such irresponsible actions and the arrest of their perpetrators.
To further assure stability and peace in the city, we have worked on different policies to solve all kinds of problems land disputes. No organized crime can be found, and individual crimes, such as killing or robberies, are very rare. But this does not mean that there are no social problems, as these are issues that are found in all societies and families. Such problems do not pose a threat to the security and peace of the city.
Q: How do you evaluate the city’s role in development? How do you foresee its future?
A: Aden has played a vital role in development of Yemen in general. It has been a cosmopolitan city that embraces all Yemenis, regardless of their origins, in order to work and to get an education. It has been the starting point for immigrants before going into the world outside. It has hosted national and patriotic movements that opposed the Imamite regime in the North and the British colonization in the South. It was, and still is, a city of enlightenment.
Aden has a bright and promising future that will have an impact on the whole country.