Major Economic Events in Yemen during 2001 [Archives:2001/01/Business & Economy]

December 31 2001

Mahyoub Al-Kamali
A good number of economic transitions in Yemen were recorded throughout 2001. Intensive specialized symposia on investment, trade, and finance were organized. The diesel price zoomed causing resentment among people. However, the government went on carrying out the Economic Reforms Program and got a grant of $1,180,000,000 from the World Bank to support it.
Below is a list of some of the major economic events that took place during 2001.

The Yemeni famous dragon blood trees were given priority among all the national exports to the foreign markets.
The Middle East Manager of the World Bank, Andrea Sud, expressed during a visit to Yemen, his appreciation of the administrative and economic reforms in Yemen.
A memorandum of understanding between the Ministries of Oil and Mineral Wealth and Canadian Nexen Petroleum Yemen Company was signed to explore oil and gas in Hadhramaut governorate.
The General Investment Authority (GIA) licensed projects estimated at more than YR 93 billion. The projects included the establishment of eight cement factories, oil refineries in Hadhramaut, Ras Isa in Hodeidah and other kind of projects.
The General Corporation for Weaving and Spinning honored 466 of its retired workers in recognition of their efforts and their role in serving the good of the Corporation.
The General Manager of GIA, Abdulkareem Motahar said in a meeting with the Belgian Business delegate visiting Yemen at the time that the Yemeni government paid special attention to the foreign investors and that it would facilitate their jobs in Yemen.

The General Authority of Electricity and Rural Water allocated YRs 1,500,000,000 to the implementation of 125 projects all over the country.
The President of the Central Bank of Yemen (CBY), Ahmad Abdulrahman Al-Sammawi said the banks’ reserves of foreign currency reached $ 3, 000,000,000. He added that banks in Yemen achieved a great success as a result of the economic and financial reforms indicating that the overall banking sector reserves starting from March 1995 to the end of 2000 totaled YR 2,800,000,000.
Abduljabbar Hayel Saeed, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the al-Tadhamon Islamic Bank, stated that the bank’s profits during 2000 mounted to YR 2 billion registering a 48-percent increase in comparison with 1999. He said the overall deposits of the bank increased from YR 9,5 billion to YR 21,6 billion during the last year. At the same time, money put for investment increased from YR 7,5 billion to YR 17,5 billion during 2000.
Eight oil fields were explored in Ma rib. Oil experts said the production capacity of the fields was 65 thousand barrels per day.
A joint production agreement was signed by the Ministry of Oil and Mineral Wealth, Canadian Nexen Petroleum Yemen Company, the American Occidental Company and one of the companies of the Yemeni Corporation for Oil and Gas to explore oil in Block 59 in Hadhramaut and al-Mahra which stretches over 4168 square km.
Profits of the Amran Cement Factory during 2000 were announced to reach YR 4 billion. The production level of the same factory reached 700,000 tons while the overall revenues during the same year mounted to YR 8,500,000,000.
The Tobacco and Matches National Company Ltd. said it last year achieved the highest level of production, marketing and profits since it was founded in 1963. The production level reached 318 thousand cigarette cartoons registering an increase by 240, 242 cigarette cartoons in 1999. The company’s profits were also announced to have increased to YR 1,903,518,000 in 2000, registering an increase by 1.8 percent in comparison with the companys profits in 1999.
Computer Section was inaugurated at the Industrial and Vocational Institute supported by the Embassy of the Republic of China at the cost of YR 2 million.

The Chairman of the General Union of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Abdullah Ali Al-Sunaidar announced the agreement to set up a Yemeni-Saudi Holding Company entrusted with implementing joint investment projects.
A delegation from an American exploratory company arrived in Yemen to hold talks about completing the second phase of oil exploration in Shabwa.
Geological studies confirmed that the zeolite mineral exploration sites could attract a lot of investors owing to the fact that they were near to the paved roads which facilitated transportation of the raw material to the local markets and to export harbors.
During the first half of 2001, the overall crude oil unloaded to the Aden Refinery totaled 1,485,000,57 tons. In the same context, the overall exportation of the refined oil and its derivatives totaled 845,646 tons.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Oil Ministry and a Russian oil company according to which the Russian company was given the green light to explore oil and gas in Blocks No. 37 and 39 in al-Mahra.
An agreement was reached in Sanaa between the Ministry of Oil and Mineral Wealth and the Arab Industrial and Mineral Development Organization with the view of activating cooperation between the two sides, particularly in the field of utilizing the mineral wealth. The meeting also concentrated on continuing cooperation and joint coordination between the Organization and the Ministry to discuss the arrangements for the Eighth Conference for Mineral Wealth to be held in Sana’a in 2003.

The Islamic Bank delegation headed by the Deputy Manager of Projects and Operation Department, al-Mansoob Bin Fatta concluded a visit to Yemen during which they discussed projects financed by the bank.
The Reconstruction and Development Bank of Yemen announced that its distributable profits, with tax being excluded, during 2001 reached YR 435,460,000.
Yemen participated in the second cycle of the technical committee concerned with liberating the foreign trade and economic globalization in the ESCWAcountries. The event was held in Doha on 7-8 April. Participants discussed the scope of progress in the field of foreign trade for the year 2000 and 2001.
Economic statistics indicated that the trade balance achieved export surplus totaling YR 299,296,448,000 during 2000. The value of the total exports of national products reached YR 659,831,484,000 while imports costs totaled YR 380,535,000,000 during the same year.
In collaboration with the Social Fund for Development the College of Agriculture in Ibb organized a course on agro-industry and home economics for districts of the governorate of Ibb. A number of lectures were delivered by participants in the field of agro-industry and home economics.
Yemen participated in the Cairo Arab Businesswomen Conference under the theme The Arab Joint Market in Reality. The conference was organized by the Egyptian Businesswomen and Development Society.
Participants at the training course organized by the Aden Chamber of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with GTZ stressed the importance of small enterprises in supporting Yemeni market and providing job opportunities for people.
The Ministry of Technical Education and Vocational Training organized a number of short training courses for the unemployed people at the Technical and Commercial Institute in Aden. More than 34 people from Aden, Lahj, and Abyan attended the courses.
After the political stability was achieved, the government started to search for International as well as regional experts to help it market its agricultural, mineral and marine products worldwide.

A number of Yemeni and Emeritus businessmen called for a wide and highly developed trade network between Yemen and the Gulf Countries with the aim of activating the role of trade and investment and the flow of commodities and services.
A delegation from the Sharja Chamber of Commerce and Industry toured the the Old City of Sana’a.
Economic statistics said 17 trading companies were established in the first half 2000.
In the sideline of the UN Third Conference for LDC held in Brussels, the Minister of Commerce and Industry discussed with Brussels PM the Yemeni investment law, as well as the facilities and privileges granted by the law.
Yemeni industrialists called for an extensive discussion of the sales tax law draft before submitting it with its final amendments to the parliament. In a press conference held in Sana’a, the industrialists demanded more consideration for some living and investment circumstances in addition to a number of products that require more encouragement by the government.

The hydrographic surveys of the territorial waters and Yemeni islands were completed. The surveys which started in December 2000, were conducted by a British ship under the supervision of a technical team from the Yemeni Seaports Authority and the General Authority of Marine Affairs.
The Customs Authority concluded a custom orientation symposium organized by the Authority in collaboration with the government bodies. More than 35 specialists from the the authority, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the General Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry participated in the symposium.
Participants in the symposium on a stock market in Yemen recommended more efforts for completing the necessary requirements to improve the organizational, economic, legal, and legislative environment as to pave the way for the establishment of a stock market in Yemen.
The Ministry of Water and Electricity announced that $300 million had been allocated to reforming the electrical system and overcoming the current deficiency in generating power in Yemen.
The Yemeni and Italian chambers of commerce and industry held a meeting in Sanaa. The two sides discussed the progress made by Yemen in different aspects, specially in promoting investment on its land. The Italian delegation was briefed on the facilities granted by the Yemeni Investment Law. Means of enhancing bilateral cooperation between Yemen and Italy were also discussed.
The Intellectual Property Symposium was organized in Sanaa by the National Committee for Preparation for and Negotiation with the WTO and in collaboration with the International Organization for the Intellectual Property. Agood number pf researchers and economists participated in Symposium.

Torrential rains caused huge damage to the arable land in Hadhramaut. Several people and livestock were drifted away.
The Yemeni Minister of Commerce and Industry, Abdurahman Mohammed Othman, met in the Dutch embassy in Sanaa with the Dutch commercial attache and the Chief Executive of Fast Company implementing the technical aid project at the Small Enterprises Development Unit and discussed with them fields of bilateral cooperation between Yemen and the Netherlands. They also discussed the preparation to change the Unit into fund to support small enterprises.
Under the sponsorship of the PM, Abdulkader Bajammal, the Yemen International Exhibition for Industry and Agriculture 2001 was organized. More than 150 industrial and agricultural companies and institutions took part in the event.
The Minister of Commerce and Industry met with the World Bank representative Hogolia Deflin. In the meeting the two sides discussed the World Bank activities in Yemen and its role in the development of role of the private sector through its assistance to Yemen.

The General Corporation for Cement Industry and Marketing was successfully able to meet its production and sales plan during the first half of 2001, registering an increase in the production by 117 percent.
Production of the the Bajel Cement Plant exceeded the planned production level by 130 percent. Similarly, production of the Amran Cement Plant went beyond the expected production level by 112 percent and that of the al-Barh Cement plant by 114 percent. Statistics indicated that the overall cement production at the three plants reached 743 thousand tons during the first half of the current year.
The Supreme Council for Exports Development in Sanaa held a meeting chaired by the PM in which decisions centered on the Five-Year Plan and other topics related to the development of national products as well as the possibilities of exporting the Yemeni products to the African markets.
The Ministry of Commerce banned importation of commodities that do not bear the country of origin.
The Commercial Court in Aden settled 543 disputes out of 777 different cases during 2001.
The General Union of Arab Chambers of Commerce and industry condemned the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians plus the embargo imposed upon the Palestinian trade movement.
The Yemeni Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimated the different kinds of fish available in the territorial waters along the Yemeni coastlines at 300 different kinds.
In assessment of the Economic Reforms Program implemented since 1995 by the government of Yemen, a report by the representatives of the Arab Chambers of Commerce and Industry meeting in Sanaa said the program had helped stabilize the the exchange rate, stop deterioration of the national currency, etc. The report added that the budget deficit had also been lessened and that economic growth of 5.5 percent was achieved in 2000.
Studies done by a team from the General Authority of Electricity and Rural Water showed that great sweet water reservoirs were found in Baghinash located in the north of Modeh in Abyan.

The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs and the chairman of board of directors of the Social Fund for Development, Abdulkareem al-Arhabi confirmed that the State had shown great interest in improving mechanisms of alleviating poverty among the lower classes.
The Taxes Authority burned 161 smuggled cigarette cartoons which have illegally entered the country.
In Sana’a, a training course was organized on Project planning by the Societies Development Program and the Ministry of the Planning and Development in collaboration with the United Nation Development Project (UNDP).

The Board of Directors of the Free Zones Authority discussed the annual report on the Authoritys activities in the Aden Free Zone as well as the developments in the Container Terminal. The report also concentrated on the accomplished phases in the industrial zone and the new investment projects.
The participants in the workshop on Documenting and Exchanging Experiences in the Planting and Production of Coffee called for the establishment of a national coffee center for promoting and developing coffee production in Yemen.
An agreement was singed at the General Authority of Water and Sanitation in Sanaa to implement a sewage network in both al-Sabaeen and al-Sawad areas at the cost of $ 2,955,762.
The Ministry of Fish Wealth conducted studies and researches on adornment fish in the Yemeni territorial waters in the Red Sea with the aim of protecting them from washouts and damage.
In Dar Sa’d, the first experiment to implement small enterprises in the educational field supported by the Societies Development Program was succeeded. The program aimed at alleviating poverty and unemployment among university graduates in Aden governorate.
The Minister of Commerce and Industry discussed with the World Bank representative means to develop relations between Yemen and the World Bank in the field of commerce and industry.
A memorandum of understanding was signed in Sanaa between the Ministry of Fish Wealth and the Red Sea Studies Center for Islamic and Arab Studies Center in Exeter University. The memorandum called for exerting efforts to promote the Red Sea identity at all levels, a matter that can be achieved through exchanging curricula, organizing training courses, holding exhibitions, symposia, conferences and setting up joint work teams.
A symposium on the import of second-hand vehicles warned against the increase in the volume of imports from non-countries of origin which was estimated at YR 97 billion.
The participants in the training course on acetifying, multiplying and paring the olive tree in Yemen stressed the necessity of taking care of the olive tree in Yemen. The course was organized by the General Administration of the Botanic Production Department in the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation in collaboration with the Arab Center for Studying Dry Lands.
An agreement on the expansion of the Cultural Cooperation Program between Yemen and China for the coming five years was signed between the two countries in Beijing. According to the agreement the government of China will grant more scholarships in the cultural fields for Yemenis in addition to exchanging experiences, information, documents, etc. in all different cultural aspects.
The Supreme Council for Civil Service dropped out a number of phantom names within the framework of the administrative, financial and economic reforms implemented by the government since 1995.

An agreement to properly utilize the working force was signed between Yemen and UAE at the UAE Foreign Ministry. The agreement included organizing the Yemeni Labor in the UAE in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Yemen.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) granted loans to Yemen totaling to $1,18 million in support of the second Five-Year Plan (2001-2005).
The World Bank allocated $1,180,000,000 to supporting development projects in Yemen during the coming period. The bank also allocated an amount of $50 to a project meant for the protection of Taiz from floods.

The Supreme Council of Motherhood & Childhood and the National Population Council are to continue preparations for holding the third national conference for population policies scheduled for October 2002.
A training course on human resources administration and planning was concluded at the Ministry of Public Health. More than 40 participants from the Human Resources Administration and Planning in the health offices took part in the course.
More than 600 handicapped were employed in a number of Yemeni cities.