Immigrants’ Capital Investment in Yemen [Archives:2001/19/Business & Economy]

May 7 2001

Attracting Yemeni immigrants’ capitals to invest in the country has been taking precedence in the government’s agenda, which aims at encouraging the investment process to achieve substantial changes in the national economy. This is very significant as the amount is estimated at more than $48 billion invested in banks and foreign companies. 65% of this capital is invested in the gulf countries, 20% in the Southern East of Asia and 15% in other countries.
Statistics issued by the Central Organization for Statistics maintain that immigrants’ transfers met a big share of demands on hard currency to cover imports of different goods. In 1992, transfers reached 52% in the payment balance, in 1993 they reached 47,4%, in 1994 68,6% , in 1995 58,3% and in 1997 50%. This slashed the deficit in the trade balance and payment balance for the above mentioned years.
During the past three decades, immigrants’ transfers ran to more than $ 65 billion. Out of this $30 billion were transferred from Saudi Arabia. A sizeable share of these transfers was utilized to improve the living conditions of the people, houses, schools, build roads and develop the countryside. Economic studies confirm that Yemeni immigrants’ capital can play an instrumental role in the investment process if they were attracted to the country, especially as the government encourages the private sector to invest in the Free Industrial Zone in Aden and in other agricultural and tourist fields.
The same studies, however, stress the need to facilitate procedures and ease social difficulties impeding the setting up of partnerships between immigrants’ capital and the local ones.
There are positive indications that the Yemeni immigrants’ capital will have a major role in the investment process of the country. Licenses issued by the Investment Public Authorities indicate that about 80% of the investments licensed were from Yemeni immigrants.
Economists, on the other hand, see that conditions necessary to attract Yemeni immigrants’ capital must be ensured first. The government could also gather small savers in companies, banks or cooperation establishments that can be funded by immigrants’ capitals.
Hence, the existence of a stock market will do a great deal to facilitate procedures including immigrants’ transfers. This will also help augment the investment process in an organized way based on relations of trust between parties of the stock market and owners of immigrant capital.
Studies conducted to survey the investment environment reveal the vital needs of Yemen for a stock market to meet demands of the investment process. By the immigrants can have an active role in the economic and social development process of the country.
In conclusion, difficulties impeding immigrants’ investment in the country should be eased and overcome, including land disputes. Establishing industrial areas, carrying on feasibility studies on investment projects especially in the productive fields should also be considered.
Though official statistics on Yemeni immigrant capital are not yet over, immigrants’ transfers show that there is a big economic potential which can be made use of to speed up investment and accelerate the economic development in the country.