With sustainable development plans, programs, Soufan leads efforts for fighting poverty [Archives:2004/749/Business & Economy]

June 24 2004

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
Deputy premier, the minister of Planning and International Cooperation Ahmed Mohammed Soufan is nowadays carrying out serious administrative efforts in diagnosing challenges of planning and development with partial and comprehensive planning as well as drawing up sustainable development programs for combating poverty and contacting donors in seeking for supporting the plans and engaging local communities and civil society organizations in their implementation.
Mr Soufan's efforts are focused on setting scientific future visions for tackling social problems through analyzing their causes and placing necessary perceptions for the success of the development plans aimed at combating poverty and malnutrition, illiteracy and girl education.
Mr Soufan is exerting great efforts for achieving those goals with the state concerned apparatus at both city and countryside levels.

Man of National Strategies
Mr Soufan has found himself responsible, due to his post as minister of planning, for designing a strategic vision for Yemen during the period 2000-2025 for raising the efficiency of government departments and organizations and the realization of a sustainable development where the gap narrows between the present situation and the aspired for goals from the strategy. Mr Soufan has participated in organization of seminars and symposiums on the strategic vision that have been held in governorates and attended by government officials and, leaders of civil society organizations, trade unions and non-governmental organizations, woman unions, professional syndicates, political parties, media instruments and the private sector.
The vision has expected hat Yemen's population would in 2026 reaches at 38 million people and would then result in doubling the pressure on natural resources and increase of pressures on central services as well as weakness of economic growth, rise in rates of inflation, deterioration of the local currency exchange rate and expansion of poverty phenomenon. Soufan has played his own role in proposing a group of treatments included in the vision based on five-year plans and strategies accompanying it. The most important of such is the strategy on combating poverty in the years 2003-2005, in addition to a strategy of millennium development 2001-2015 and another for rural development. In addition, there is also the implementation of investment programs and planning for a certain sector or zone for the achievement of the goals of the great economic development objectives.

Architect of poverty alleviation strategy
Mr Soufan is considered by may as a man of planning for modern administration and a major architect of the strategy for alleviation of poverty that had been approved by the government to be achieved during the period 2003-2005 within the context of goals of the second five-year plan 2001-2005. Mr Soufan remarks that many may question about the reason of that strategy at a time the government is carrying out its preparation of its development plans, confirming that the economic reforms the government has been carrying out with the support of the World bank and the International Monetary Fund were not quite enough in themselves for changing the situation of the economy at one time. With an administrative transparency Mr Soufan says the economic reform program did not manage to stop expansion of the scope of poverty with its various dimension, indicating that by the rise in proportion of acute poverty to 17.6% and the percentage of food poverty to 41.3% and the rate of reading and writing for the adults did not exceed 47.3%.

Goals of the strategy
Soufan has played a major role in designing the objectives of the strategy of poverty alleviation, pursuing the method of consultation and participation with all parties and partners of Yemen in development in realization of determining those goals. The more important of those goals is the reducing of poverty proportion by around 13.1% to reach at 35.9% in 2005 along with fixing major axes for interference to implement its general objectives. Those objectives are:
-realization of economic growth,
-development of human resources,
-improvement of the infrastructure, and
-guaranteeing of social protection.
The strategy depended on developmental expenditure on sectors related to alleviation of poverty and providing social services, especially education, health and social welfare so that to attain around 13.2% of the gross domestic product of 2005.