Loan from World Bank and donor countries to fight poverty and promote security Yemen gets $2.3 billion [Archives:2002/43/Front Page]

October 21 2002

PARIS-Yemen has won a $2.3billion loan from the World Bank and a long list of donors to help it support a three-year anti-poverty campaign – and by extension, fight the causes of terror and insecurity.
The announcement of the money followed a meeting in Paris to report on the country’s development plans, and comes two weeks after an explosion on a French tanker off the coast of al-Mukalla, which is believed to be a terrorist attack.
The new money will partly help redress what Yemen sees as an imbalance in aid.
Despite deep-seated problems, and a per capita income of just $450 a year, Yemen said it received only a fifth of the average support for low income countries.
Wanted: stability
The poverty many Yemenis face is inextricably linked with security, Prime Minister Abdulkader Ba Jamal said.
“Yemen must eradicate the seeds of poverty,” he told the two-day meeting. “Terrorism strikes everywhere… these crimes must be faced, and Yemen needs development to face them.”
Yemen suffered more than anyone from terrorism committed in its territory, he added.
World Bank vice-president Jean-Louis Sarbib agreed, saying that many of Yemen’s problems were external ones.
“Yemen is on the front line against terrorism,” he said.
Events such as the attack on the French tanker “limit private investment and tourism”, he added.
Yemen’s main source of revenue is its oil, and volatility in crude prices has disrupted attempts to improve the lot of its citizens.
The meeting last week in Paris with business leaders is intended to help improve the investment climate.
Helping Yemen continue its reforms, including bringing more women into the workforce, were among the goals of the World Bank and other donors who met at the meeting in Paris.
Held at World Bank headquarters Oct. 16 and 17, the conference was attended by more than 100 participants representing Yemen, regional countries, organisations and funds in addition to Yemeni, Arab and foreign businessmen.
The conference cast light on economic and developmental achievements Yemen has so far accomplished within the program of economic, financial and administrative reforms.
The donors promised to support the state’s efforts for mitigating poverty and curbing its aggravation through the creation of a social security net, through the social fund for development.
The donors also promised to fund social projects related to Yemeni women.
Abdulqader Bajammal told the gathering his country was founded on deeply establishing political, economic, legal and administrative reforms.
He further stressed the intention of cementing regional relationship with neighbouring countries and providing conditions of partnership in development with all. He emphasized his country’s serious and effective political contribution to peace and stability and fighting terror and realisation of integration with the new and just world order.
Yemen has asked all participants to conclude a genuine partnership with Yemen for integration, increase of mutual benefits, realization of exchanged interests and development and activation of cooperation as all that represents key for advance towards safe future and objective foundation for creating integration with all regional and international economies.
The prime minister reviewed the political and economic developments in Yemen within the framework of reform over the last 40 years. He noted the establishment of local councils and achieving more popular participation in the political process.