‘Friends of Yemen’ Meeting Delivers US$1.5 Billion Boost to Yemen’s Transition Process

Sarah Woodman, Global events journalist
September 27, 2012 /

Additional pledges of support totaling US$1.5 billion were announced today at the ‘Friends of Yemen’ conference in New York City. This brings the total amount of international support for the two-year transition process in Yemen to US$7.9 billion.

“The additional pledges made today show solid commitment by the international community to Yemen during the transition period,” said Mohamed Saadi, the Yemeni Minister of Planning and International Cooperation. “The government is committed to working with our development partners to ensure speedy, effective and transparent implementation of projects funded by the international community. Yemeni people want to see a difference quickly.”

The ‘Friends of Yemen’ conference was addressed by the head of Yemen’s Government of National Reconciliation, President Abed Rabbo Mansour Al-Hadi, and co-chaired by William Hague, Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, and Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia. The conference was attended by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the foreign ministers of the Friends of Yemen constituent countries, and representatives from a broad range of international development organizations.

The New York City meeting follows a successful donor conference in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, held earlier this month. Co-hosted by the World Bank, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, the donor conference reached its funding goal with international donors pledging over US$6.4 billion. This will be sufficient to meet the budget shortfalls in the interim government’s plan for economic reconstruction over the next 18 months, while the vital tasks of drafting a new constitution and organizing new elections are completed. It will also be enough to support the new government in the immediate post-election period.

The latest pledges are a further affirmation of the commitment of the international community to the success of the transition process in Yemen.

“This is a clear sign that the international community is aware of what is at stake in Yemen,” said Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for Middle East and North Africa. “It is critical that we acknowledge the immense challenges Yemenis must overcome to build a just and inclusive society to deliver the stability they so desperately need. Today’s pledges bolster the international support that will give them the best chance at success.”

Significant progress has been achieved since the signing of the Gulf Cooperation Council brokered agreement in November last year ending almost one year of political turmoil. A unity government was formed, and a national dialogue on the future of the country launched. But with more than half the country living in poverty, and one million children malnourished, Yemen is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis. The situation is further exacerbated by ongoing hostilities which have displaced 150,000 since May, 2011.

This was the fourth meeting of the Friends of Yemen, a group of countries and intergovernmental organizations led by the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, formed to assist Yemen develop its economy and confront insurgency.

 

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