As the National Dialogue nears completion, Yemen secures international backing for reform program.
NEW YORK, September 25, 2013 – The sixth ministerial level meeting of the ‘Friends of Yemen’ commended Yemen’s political and economic achievements despite challenging circumstances. Yemen’s partners eagerly anticipate the conclusion of the National Dialogue, the critical political process aimed at resolving differences and laying the foundation for a new constitution. The discussions called for continued commitment from both the government and donors to implement the road map that emerges from the National Dialogue.
“Yemen has embarked on a truly historic and inclusive National Dialogue, engaging the society at large,” said Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for Middle East and North Africa. “For this remarkable political feat to be meaningful it will have to be accompanied by social and economic reforms that make a real difference in the lives of ordinary Yemenis. In collaboration with our partners, the World Bank remains committed to supporting Yemen in achieving this and creating the right environment for the successful implementation of the outcomes of the historic dialogue."
There was broad appreciation at the meeting for Yemen’s progress on implementation of the Mutual Accountability Framework, the agreement that lays out the government’s reform agenda and the commitment of donors to support it. The appointment of a new Anti-Corruption Board, approval of a plan for the systematic elimination of ‘ghost workers’ and ‘double dippers’ from the public payroll, and the development of a strategy to strengthen partnerships between the government and civil society were noted as a solid foundation for building up momentum on reforms. Discussions also stressed the need to consolidate macroeconomic stability as a vital underpinning of a continued, smooth political transition. Finally, the “Friends” confirmed that of the US$7.9 billion pledged in support of Yemen in September 2012, US$6.9 billion has been allocated to specific programs and US$2.2 billion already disbursed to date. Donors who had not yet allocated their funds were urged to do so quickly.
“The World Bank has launched seven new projects, committing 80 percent of the additional US$400 million pledged in support of the country’s reform program, to help restore basic services and create economic opportunities for the poorest segments of the Yemeni population,” said Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Country Director for Yemen. “We call on our donor partners to match our speed and urgency as Yemen’s efforts to build a stable and prosperous future for its people needs our support now.”
The ‘Friends of Yemen’ meeting was held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and co-chaired by William Hague, Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, and Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi led the Yemen delegation to the meeting, which was also 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.