Investment Conference to be an annual event [Archives:2007/1045/Business & Economy]
By: Raidan Al-Saqqaf
Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs AbdulKarim Al-Arhabi has stated that the Conference for Exploring Investment Opportunities in Yemen would be held as an annual event in order to measure the developments within the Yemeni economy and investment environment in Yemen on an annual bases, and more importantly in order to exhibit how serious is the government of Yemen when it comes to welcoming investors and undertaking fundamental reforms in order to develop the business environment.
Al-Arhabi said that the government and the people of Yemen were very pleased with the participation especially from gulf countries, he emphasized that this conference was a great success for the region, not only in terms of the investment opportunities which have been offered, but also in terms of publicizing Yemen as a destination for investments.
President Saleh, in his opening remarks, has stated that Yemen is overwhelmed by the economic and business support it receives from its neighboring gulf countries, adding that Yemen is willing to do what it takes in terms of legislative and other reforms in order to ensure that gulf investors are most welcome in Yemen and can go about their investments in an unrestricted and trouble-free manner; “Yemen opens its doors for your investments” said president Saleh.
With no exception, all officials vowed to make sure that this conference was a success and all investors would be met with open arms, realizing that the inflow of investments may be the only means available for a rapid economic development of the country.
Similarly, local businessmen have welcomed the investors, and pointed out that the existence of foreign investors will help develop the local market and open new business and partnership opportunities, and it will also force the government to reduce its interference within the market, adopt more transparent mechanisms in its dealings with the business community, and maintain a stable and progressive regulatory framework.
On the sidelines of the conference, there were several business agreements signed between the government and investors, most of which are “agreements to invest” within the Minerals sector, Transportation, construction, tourism, and other opportunities. However, there were over 300 investment opportunities presented by the government and the privet sector, out of which only 15 opportunities were signed on, most substantial of which were the agreement to invest in the Aden Free Zone, and another agreements to establish luxury resorts and hotels.
The Midroc group has stated that it will start the construction of two luxury hotels in Sana'a and Hodieda, costing over US$ 100 million, while the Bin Farid group announced plans to build the Aden Gardens luxury resorts in Aden, costing over US$ 2 billion.
Seven Agreements to invest in the mineral sectors were also signed, most prominent of which was an agreement with Al-Rahabi group worth US$ 250 million, to establish a DRI plant, which will produce Steel products utilizing the black sand reserves available in several parts of the country.
However, the potential for more investments is still open, this conference has opened the minds of gulf investors for opportunities in Yemen and it is very likely that the following conference in the years to come will be more successful.