Yemen & Germany: Prospects for Future Economic Cooperation [Archives:1998/16/Business & Economy]
In order to strengthen the high-level political dialogue between Germany and Yemen, the Minister of State in the German Federal Foreign Ministry, Mr. Helmut Schafer, MP, made a three-day visit to Yemen, starting on 14 April.
Ridhwan Al-Saqqaf, Yemen Times Aden Bureau Chief met Mr. Schafer and filed the following interview. Excerpts:
Q: What is the purpose of your visit to Yemen?
A: The main purpose of this visit is to sign a cultural and scientific cooperation agreement. During my meeting with the President, I also exchanged views on the political situation in the region concerning such issues as the Middle East peace process and the conflict in Sudan. I visited Sudan before coming to Yemen in order to get better acquainted with the situation there.
I met with Foreign Minister, Dr. Abdulkareem Al-Iryani to sign an agreement for cultural and tourism cooperation.
Q: What impressions have you come up with during your visit to Aden?
A: I have come to witness the most important developments in Aden, which is a very important port and commercial center. I met Governor Taha Ahmed Ghanim and we visited the port to see the most recent developments there. We also discussed ideas on how to improve this port and revive its past glory.
Q: What is your overall impression of your visit to Yemen?
A: I am 100% optimistic that many things in Yemen are progressing in an excellent way. The Aden port is gradually turning into an international port. I hope that the Aden Free Zone will be fully realized soon so that the port will become a place where huge tankers and cargo ships dock.
Q: Did you express any ideas to further develop the Aden port?
A: I just gave a few suggestions for the future. We are mainly concerned with the implementation of the Aden sewage project.
Q: Have you discussed the participation of German firms in the Aden Free Zone?
A: We are very keen on the active participation of German capital in investments in the Aden Free Zone. A German delegation has come to Yemen to gauge the opportunities for doing just that. More delegations are to follow. On my return to Germany, I’ll make it quite clear to the German government how important it is to invest in the Free Zone.
Q: How do you view the future of Yemeni-German relations?
A: These relations are very good, and are getting better. This high-level visit has further strengthened our bilateral ties. A delegation of experts has arrived in Yemen to discuss future projects with officials at the Ministry of Planning.
Q: What projects does Germany intend to jointly implement with Yemen?
A: We have not discussed specific projects. But there is the Aden sewage project, the agreement for which was signed two years ago. We are now in the stage of receiving tender offers. This project is expected to cost DM 75 million.