Investment conference: Great start, limited success [Archives:2007/1045/Front Page]

April 26 2007

By: Raidan Al-Saqqaf
[email protected]

SANA'A, April 24 ) The most recent investment conference witnessed unprecedented success in terms of participation, with more than 600 participants from neighboring Gulf countries and a total of $3.7 billion in investments through 15 different projects in the tourism, oil, gas, minerals, construction and industry sectors.

Observers and attendees were quite impressed with the outcome of the conference, realizing that Yemen offers much potential for large-scale investments. It also was noted during the conference that Yemen's underdeveloped economy is promising to boom and that an inflow of foreign investment will have its part in that.

However, it was commented that Yemen could have benefited from more investment, especially as many businessmen and investors have a genuine interest in Yemen, as well as funds available. Several businessmen told the Yemen Times that they were disappointed with the presentation of proposals for investments, explaining that they were offered a two-page feasibility study for a $7 million investment, which lacked even preliminary details about the project.

The conference concluded with investors coming forward to invest in 15 out of a total of 300 proposals presented during the conference. Additionally, Gulf-based and Yemeni businessmen held extensive talks on trade relations and possible joint ventures in Yemen.

Gulf Cooperative Council Secretary-General Abdulrahman Al-Attya marshalled hundreds of Gulf-based investors and businessmen to attend the conference and explore business possibilities in Yemen. He stated that Yemen's economic growth is a priority for the council, adding that Yemen has a lot of potential to build a diversified and prosperous economy, which in turn will have a positive impact both on Yemeni society and the region as a whole.

The conference's main theme was to exhibit Yemeni investment opportunities to GCC investors and to lure the petrodollars of neighboring Gulf countries toward making strategic investments in Yemen. The two-day conference included industry-specific roundtables to discuss growth scenarios for each of the separate sectors.

For more details on the Conference for Exploring Investment Opportunities, see page 11