Mohammed Al-Ghabri: A Story of Success and Frustration [Archives:1999/13/Science & Technology]

March 29 1999

In Yemen, which is quite an underdeveloped country, innovation and innovators are outlandish terms. That is why, when a person comes out with a claim of having discovered or invented something, the first reponse on people’s face is a wicked smile. That is because we have such a low esteem of ourselves as a nation of achievers.
The reason is that, as a nation we are totally dependant on others to feed us. As indviduals, we don’t even know what we consume. This complete dependence on the outside world has turned what was once a “great civilization” into a parasitic population of free-riders.
There is nothing more telling in our state of affairs than the fact that there is patent registration procedure in Yemen. The Ministry of Trade and Supply as well as the Ministry of Industry are supposed to be handling such matters, but they are actually at a loss when someone comes for the service.
In such place any civilized feat might end in a heap of oblivion or neglect. Yet, the few-and-far-between promising talents are end up getting lip service.
One of these stories is about Mohammed Al-Ghabri, a budding Yemeni inventor. His first innovation was a mobile biogas plant which can be used in place of natural gas for heating or lighting. Mr. Al-Ghabri went through difficult times trying to introduce himself to the relevant circles. Each time he took with him the design and prototype of his invention, till finally he found some attentive ears – not in Yemen, but in the United Arab Emirates. He was invited by the Sharajah First Arab Youth Forum in December 1998, where Mohammed’s invention received full appreciation. The scientific Tribunal Committee conferred him with honors. The inventor was awarded a patent certificate.
Mohammed Al-Ghabry’s activity did not stop at the bio gas generator. He has also designed a system that can be used in reducing air pollution. However he is yet to complete his experiments. The reducing air pollution system will be useful to help solve the increasing problem of air pollution especially in Sanaa,” he explained.
The question remains. How can our society nurture local talents and skills if it ignores achievers?