Washington reinstates Yemen’s funding [Archives:2007/1026/Front Page]

February 19 2007

Adel Al-Khawlani
SANA'A, Feb. 18 ) The Yemeni Ambassador to the U.S., Abdulwahab Al-Hajiri, received last Wednesday a telephone call from John Danilovich, Chairman of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, congratulating him for the Millennium Challenge Corporation Board of Director's decision to reinstate Yemen for participation in the corporation's program, said an official source in the Yemeni Embassy in Washington.

“Yemen has carried out important reforms over the past time period, which is why the Millennium Challenge Corporation's Board of Directors decided to reinstate Yemen in the Threshold Program,” Mohammed Ahmad Al-Basha, Media and Public Relations in Washington quoted Danilovich.

The chairman added, “In addition to what has been accomplished thus far, the Yemeni government has made a number of important reform commitments. Looking at the progress we have been able to document, Yemen has demonstrated its commitment to continuing this reform effort.”

The Yemeni Ambassador expressed his happiness about the Millennium Challenge Corporation's decision, confirming that Yemen plans to work with the corporation with the aim of getting assistance, improving its investment climate, attracting foreign investments to the country and creating more job opportunities for its people.

According to Al-Basha, the Millennium Challenge Corporation's decision reflects success reached by the national reform program, which contained a matrix of partial political and economic reforms as directed by President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

During his Sunday meeting with Yemeni Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Abdulkarim Al-Arhabi , the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, Thomas Krajeski, handed the Yemeni government Washington's decision to reinstate Yemen's eligibility for the Threshold Program.

The U.S. envoy said his government values Yemen's efforts to enhance the national reform programs, pointing out that Washington will coordinate with Yemen to provide practical proposals aimed at improving the indicators of good governance to help the poor country receives Millennium Challenge Corporation's funds.

Al-Arhabi mentioned that his government deeply thanks the U.S. Embassy's efforts to support Yemen's Millennium Challenge Corporation's entry. He said that accepting Yemen's request for admission is due to develop Yemen-American ties and enhance cooperation between the friendly states, particularly in the areas of development.

Al-Arhabi informed Krajeski about steps taken for the Anti-Corruption Law and procedures related to establishing a higher authority for fighting corruption.

The Islah Charitable Society welcomed Millennium Challenge Corporation's declaration to reinstate Yemen. The society said that the corporation values the efforts pursued by Yemen and its president, backed by different national political parties and organizations.

Secretary-General of the society, Abdulmajid Farhan, claimed that the Yemeni government's interest in improving the quality of health and education services is the primary reason for accepting its request for Millennium Challenge Corporation's admission.

“The spending on education, health and fighting corruption has become an international criteria encouraging the state and society to give top priority to these issues,” Farhan went on to say.

He renewed his society's commitment to pay closer attention to development issues, mainly health, education and combating corruption during its coming three-year strategy.

The program is designed to assist countries that are on the 'threshold,' meaning they have not yet qualified for larger compact grants, but have demonstrated a significant commitment to improve their performance on the eligibility criteria. The corporation's Board of Directors selects countries based on the overall performance in 16 policy indicators, as well as demonstrated ability to undertake reforms.

Yemen was eligible for Threshold Program assistance in 2004, but its eligibility was suspended by the board in November 2005 following pattern of deterioration in Yemen's policy performance on the selection criteria. Yemen may now apply for a Threshold Program Agreement.

The Board of Directors found that the Yemeni government has worked aggressively and demonstrably to address the country's performance on the selection criteria.

The directors select countries for eligibility for Compact of Threshold Program assistance from a pool of candidate countries based on each country's commitment in three broad policy categories, which are: ruling justly, investing in people and promoting the economic freedom. Threshold countries don't meet the criteria for Compact eligibility, but are close and have demonstrated a commitment to improve policy performance. Under Millennium Challenge Corporation policy, the directors may reinstate eligibility for a suspended country if it is determined that the country has taken corrective action or has demonstrated a sufficient commitment to correcting each condition for which assistance eligibility was suspended.