Yemen’s efforts to restore donors’ trust [Archives:2006/916/Business & Economy]

January 30 2006

Yemen is endeavoring to restore donors' confidence so it can obtain their backing and support to receive Millennium Fund assistance in areas of health, education and fighting poverty.

In this regard, Yemen implemented new measures confirming correctness of its economic, financial, administrative and judiciary reforms. In this context, foreign minister Dr. Abubakr Al-Qirbi called on donor countries and organizations to increase their aid volume to Yemen in order to push forward the wheels of development, surmount developmental challenges it faces and support efforts to move ahead in its comprehensive program for economic, financial and administrative reforms.

Al-Qirbi made his remarks during a Jan. 26 meeting in Sana'a with the American ambassador to Yemen and ambassadors of European Union countries. He reviewed the Yemeni government's efforts in all-out reform and its successes in enhancing the development process, combating poverty and strengthening democracy and human rights.

The minister emphasized Yemen's keenness to consolidate these successes by implementing economic, administrative and judicial reform programs. Al-Qirbi also expressed Yemen's anticipation of increased assistance from donor countries to maintain reform programs and achieve its aspired goals and ambitions.

The European Commission announced it has allocated 2.5 million Euros for basic clean water needs and health care for Yemen's poorest rural areas. The commissioner for humanitarian aid and development also criticized donors, most of whom he said would forget offering humanitarian assistance to Yemen.

He added in a press release that continuous drought and lack of health care in the poorest areas continue severely, maintaining that these conditions contribute to making communicative diseases via water one of the major factors in the fatality rate among mothers and children, noting that the fatality rate among pregnant women is 42 percent.

He pointed out that the European Commission still is devoted to providing potable drinking water and primary health care in the poorest Yemeni areas during 2006. He said such aid will reduce the population's suffering in those Yemeni areas, especially among women and children.

He said the Yemeni government still is unable to meet all the needs of its population, particularly in remote rural areas. Therefore, the European Commission and its non-governmental organization partners intend to offer potable drinking water systems to approximately 30,000 people and expand support to approximately 70,000 in the health sector. He said health facilities will benefit from rehabilitation and medical equipment, as well as from providing permanent water.

The commissioner also said primary training will help activate mother and child health services, with some activities particularly aiming to serve children under age 5 and expectant mothers before giving birth. Means will be reinstated to fight malaria's spread and treat it in its habitats. Additionally, there will be focused awareness on proper water use and health sector activities.

The European Commission is among Yemen's major donors. In the past five years, it has given approximately 90 million Euros in human aid and 34 million Euros for food security.

For the first time, Yemen's government recently called for adopting policies and steps suitable to consolidate trade and economic partnership between the government and the domestic private sector.

The World Bank previously decided to reduce financial aid to Yemen from $420 million to $280 after observing a drop in positive indicators of the development process against increasing corruption. Yemen's economic growth still is weak, between 3 and 5 percent, and it faces an increased population growth rate of more than 3 percent.