One Million Yemenis to Benefit from New Project
RIYADH, May 23, 2012 — The Government of Yemen and the World Bank signed a grant agreement today for the Labor Intensive Public Works Project (LIPWP), the fourth in a series of similar endeavors designed to generate much-needed employment and provide urgently needed services in Yemen’s sparsely populated rural settlements and poor urban communities.
The $61 million grant was signed by Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and Dr. Mohammed Saed Al-Sadi, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation of Yemen, on the sidelines of the Friends of Yemen meeting in progress in Riyadh.
The LIPWP was approved by the Board of Directors of the World Bank on May 2, 2012. It will cover all Yemen’s 21 governorates, and aims to create jobs (estimated at120,000 person-month) and high-value public infrastructure assets for the poor.
“This is the kind of help Yemen needs urgently now,” said Andersen. “Citizens need to see their government deliver services and this project is rightly focused on marginalized and poor communities. Women and girls in particular will benefit with improved water supply and better access to primary education and health services.”
The need for basic infrastructure services in Yemen is high and requests have already been received. A diverse selection of these will be implemented in areas such as health, education, water supply and harvesting, sewage disposal, road paving and vocational training.
Local communities play a key role in the identification and prioritization of sub-projects and participate in monitoring project impacts. As a result, communities have ownership of the entire process. Apart from guaranteeing the long-term viability of the infrastructure created, this demand-driven approach will also strengthen the social contract by fostering cooperation between the state and citizens.
The selection process for the sub-projects will be transparent, with identification of sub-projects by the beneficiary community followed by submission of projects to a Steering Committee and IDA for review and approval. The Steering Committee has representatives from nine sector ministries and three non-governmental organizations.
Public works projects in Yemen have performed well over the last 15 years as they are small scale, community driven, and use local labor and materials. This small scale allows them to reach into Yemen’s highly dispersed and remote communities. There is now a well-established and experienced Yemeni government project management unit which provides continuous monitoring and evaluation of realistic and achievable performance indicators.
In the context of a fluid security situation, this newest LIPWP will be highly flexible. The scale of projects, local procurement and quick-disbursing funds will allow the project to adapt rapidly to changing circumstances, and take advantage of favorable conditions.
Community infrastructure will form the largest component of the new project, with about US$59 million allocated to about 440 sub-projects. These will be identified at the community level in co-operation with non-governmental organizations, concerned sector ministries, the relevant governor's office and project officials. With an ongoing focus on remote areas with high poverty rates, almost 80% all of sub-projects will be implemented in rural areas.