Kuwait’s Generous Aid to Yemen’s Development [Archives:2001/12/Business & Economy]
Mohammad H. Al-Qadhi
Mr. Jassem Al-Khurafi, Speaker of the Kuwaiti Parliament arrived in Sanaa yesterday on a 5-day visit to discuss bilateral relations with Yemen and possible scopes of cooperation between the two parliaments. The visit comes in response to an invitation extended by Shiekh Abdullah Bin Hussein Al-Ahmer, Yemen’s Parliament ary speaker who paid an official visit to Kuwait last year after the re-opening of the Yemeni Embassy there in March, 1999. The embassy had been closed since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August, 1990.
Political observers consider the visit as a breakthrough in relations between the two countries which had worsened after the invasion, as well as a chance to rebuild the relationship as strongly as it was in the pre-invasion period.
On this occasion, we would like to remind you of the strength and depth of the Yemeni-Kuwaiti relationship through history, despite the setback it went through at the time of the Iraqi invasion.
Kuwait has been instrumental in the development drive in Yemen. The many Kuwaiti established projects are a real sign of this relationship. The Kuwaiti office in Sanaa financed many development projects in Yemen( both South and North in pre-unification Yemen) until 1989. It also provided them with all facilities and handed them over to Yemen as a gift. Such projects are Sana’a University, Taiz college of education, Dar Al-Kutob building in Sanaa, the General Library in Aden, Al-Kuwait General Hospital in Sanaa, Al-Hodeidah hospital plus 18 clinics and health centers, and the Blood Bank and General Lab. The Government of Kuwait also allocated $12 million to the employees of Kuwait hospital and Sanaa University in addition to paying salaries to 100 secondary school teachers, 130 university teachers, 40 visiting professors at Sanaa university, 50 technicians, 39 doctors at Kuwait hospital, 120 nurses and 35 technicians in the hospital. Kuwait also built up the Police College in Sanaa, Administrative Development center, and General Authority of Aviation plus a residential complex of 25 buildings in Aden with a capacity of 600 flats. It also paid $32 million to the reconstruction of areas hit by an earthquake in Dhamar in 1982.
Official statistics demonstrate that the total amount of loans granted by Kuwait to Yemen from 1988-1989 reached $145,5 million.
The Kuwait Fund for Economic Development granted Yemen $ 295,2 million in soft loans to finance development projects. A report released by the Ministry of Finance last year revealed that out of the loans given to Yemen, $ 227,3 million were made use of and that $41,1 million were repaid to Kuwait. The Minister of Planning and Development, Mr. Ahmad Sofan paid a visit to Kuwait last year and agreement was reached on rescheduling repayment of the Kuwaiti loans to Yemen.
The President of the Kuwait Fund for Economic Development, Mr. Badr Mishary visited Yemen last month, expressing the interest of the Fund to provide loans to Yemen so as to construct development projects. The Central Bank of Kuwait gave four financial deposits to the Yemeni government. One is of DK 10 million and the other three of $47 million at an interest rate of 3,5%. Kuwait also used to refine one million barrels of oil at Aden Refinery before unification. It has helped Yemen on the occasion of several natural pitfalls and ordeals.
At the political level, Kuwait played a substantial role in the attempts to reunite Yemen, bridging the gap between the two extremely opposing regimes. After a war between the two regimes, Kuwait hosted a summit bringing together the two presidents of the North and South in March, 1979. The two sides then signed the Kuwait Deceleration in which they agreed on re-unifying Yemen within a year since then. As a result of the summit, the Constitution of Yemen was formulated in December 1980, on the basis of which Yemen was reunited in May 1990.
To conclude, Kuwait has done much for the Yemeni people and the development process. The previous figures are a good example of Kuwait’s contribution to Yemen. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait did not cause damage just to Yemen but to all countries to which Kuwait was so generous. In Yemen, around one million expatriates came home due to the invasion which pushed up the rate of unemployment. It also hit the Yemeni people who stayed in the Gulf countries as they were deprived of all their privileges. The invasion hit Arab solidarity strongly too.