Yemeni-Saudi Council to convene soonMore than $400 million of Saudi investments in Yemen [Archives:2004/790/Business & Economy]

November 15 2004

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
With talks on trade and economic investment on the table, the Yemeni-Saudi Joint Coordination Council will be held in Riyadh in a short while.
The council's meetings would be co-chaired by Yemen's Prime Minister Abdulqader Bajammal and Prince Sultan Bi Abdulaziz Al Saud, second deputy premier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The council will also discuss Saudi support for Yemen in developmental fields.
Some sources have told Yemen Times that the volume of Saudi investments in Yemen have exceeded $ 400 million among sectors of industry, tourism and mining.
More talks could open more opportunities for attracting more Gulf and Arab money in Yemen.
In this regard, the sources pointed out that among most significant Saudi projects are the Yemeni-Saudi Hospital, Movenpic Hotel in the capital Sana'a whose cost is about $100 million, Holiday Inn hotel in Hadramout, and two cement plants at a cost of over $300 million.
There are also investment projects for production of granite and tiles, projects for the production of various kinds of mineral wealth, and projects established in form of building silos, grain grinding factories, confirming that Yemen's expectations are great.
Investment authorities have a promotional plan aimed at financial institutions and businessmen in the Gulf countries, China, Iran, India and Turkey. They do that through communication with Yemeni diplomatic missions to those countries.
The promotional plan includes conducting interviews with ambassadors of a number of friendly and sisterly countries to Yemen. It also includes contacting various media institutions just for providing ample information on aspects of investment and its sectors in the country.
In addition there is the organization of promotional conferences, symposiums in the Gulf States to give publicity to the Yemeni investment environment and opportunities available, in addition to encouraging neighbouring countries to invest in Yemen, including Saudi Arabia.
The number of agreements concluded with various world countries is estimated at around 40, in addition to the signing of a number of protocols that give the State Authority for Investment (SAI) opportunity to exchange information and documents.
The promotional plan also includes targeting new investment opportunities in building joint Yemeni-Gulf tourist projects and concentration on promotion for the production of electronic calculators.
There are some studies for new investment opportunities, especially studies on opportunities in the Yemeni islands. Some investors complain of numerous sides they have to deal with, particularly concerning issues of pieces of land which are among the biggest impeding issues for the progress of investment in Yemen, according to investors.
Sources indicate that the problem of plots of land in some areas is not an easy one and it exists in various parts of Yemen. Those sources believe that the right method for treating this situation is the establishment of industrial zones and providing them with necessary services so that the investors would be able to easily implement their projects.
The government is now speeding up the implementation of a scheme for the industrial areas that have been decided in five governorates; namely, Aden, Lahaj, Abyan, Hadramout and Hudeidah. Concerned parties are seeking to complete providing required services during the designed scheme.
There are also cases of Yemeni expatriate lands that are seeing hindrances in solving them due to trespasses by some influential persons. The sources confirm that after holding symposiums pertaining to the improvement of the situations of the commercial judiciary, the State Authority for Investment made some interference at meetings with the Ministry of Justice with regard to the subject of commercial judiciary and that has resulted in agreement on drawing up a daring plan in this respect.
The SAI is still pinning hope on Saudi and Gulf brethren for investment in important sectors as there are great opportunities available in Yemen for establishment of investment projects. The Yemeni government encourages the building of such projects and the law of investment is considered among the best of laws with regard to protection of non-Yemeni investment projects and concerning granting those more privileges, facilities and exempts.
According to the same sources there is also now a great opportunity for the Arabs concerned and interested in investment in Yemen and that the SAI would grant them all services and they would get cooperation and tangible facilitation.
The total number of licensed investment projects registered with the SAI since its foundation in 1992 until the end of last September amounted to 5166 projects at a cost of around YR 1.4 trillion with fixed assets amounting to YR 563.2 providing about 158 job opportunities.
The number of investments in Yemen in 2000 reached 386 projects at a cost of YR 109 billion; and in 2001 reached 363 at a cost amounting to YR 79 billion; and in 2002 reached 382 projects at a cost of YR 104 billion; and in 2003 reached 338 projects at a cost of YR 106 billion.
For all these reasons Yemen expects from the meeting of the Yemeni-Saudi council will lead to an increase in economic commercial cooperation between the two countries, and also more security and stability in the whole region.
Such cooperation, Yemen believes, would lead to establishment of investment partnership in areas available for the private sector in both countries.