The World Bank Group has taken solid steps to improve and align its program with the emerging priorities on the ground. The Bank has endorsed a new Interim Strategy Note (ISN) to help Yemen during the transition period, which focuses on protecting the poor by creating short-term jobs, restoring basic services, improving access to social safety nets, and revitalizing livelihoods. It also aims to promote growth and improve economic management, as well as enhance governance and local services by supporting transparency, accountability, and improved citizen engagement.
Yemen is eligible for assistance and funding from the International Development Association (IDA), which provides grants and highly concessional loans to some of the world’s poorest countries. In January 2014, the Bank’s active portfolio consisted of 32 projects (including recipient-executed trust funds) with about US$900 million in net commitments, focused on increasing access to basic social services, improving infrastructure, and enhancing governance and institutions. Seven projects have so far been approved since the political transition, with a strong emphasis on enhancing access to basic social services and safety nets.
In order to alleviate hardship for the poorest, a US$100 million Emergency Recovery Grant will provide cash transfers for around 400,000 households. The Labor Intensive Public Works Project (US$61 million) and the Additional Financing for Social Fund for Development (US$25) million were approved for the creation of labor intensive work providing employment for the poor, particularly the youth. To improve access to basic education, the Bank also approved US$66 million for the Second Basic Education Development Project.
Improving infrastructure: The US$40 million Road Asset Management Project was approved to improve road conditions and maintenance.
Strengthening institutions and governance: The US$20 million Financial Infrastructure Project was approved to improve transactions in the financial system, while Additional Financing for Public Finance Management of US$5 million was approved to improve the efficiency and transparency of the management of public finances.
Projects approved since the political transition total US$317 million and constitute over 80% of the US$400 million pledged by the World Bank Group at the Yemen Donors Conference in Riyadh in September 2012.
Deauville Partnership Projects: World Bank teams helped Yemen access additional funding under the Deauville Partnership Transition Fund: an Enterprise Revitalization & Employment project for US$4.4 million, a Civil Society Organization Partnership project for US$1.72 million, and a Accountability Enhancement Project for US$ 6 million have already been approved, and others are under preparation.
Mutual Accountability Framework: At the request of the Yemeni government, and with financial support from the United Kingdom, Denmark, and USAID, a Multi-Donor Trust Fund for US$9 million has been established to provide technical support to the Executive Bureau to improve absorption capacity and fast track the implementation of donor pledges.