Washington DC, December 21, 2021 - The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved two grants for a total of US$170 million to restore critical urban services in Yemen, boost climate resilience and address food insecurity in rural areas through improved road access.
The grants are from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. They will support two projects – a second phase of the Yemen Integrated Urban Services Emergency Project II and a new rural road access project that will open up vital corridors to get food to the neediest and better connect farmers to their markets.
More than six years into Yemen’s conflict, the hardships faced by its people are extreme. Yemen‘s humanitarian crisis, already one of the direst in the world according to the United Nations, has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and a cholera epidemic. The conflict has led to the displacement of more than 3.6 million people. Civilian access to basic services and livelihoods has deteriorated and displacement from areas of active conflict to relatively safe urban areas has increased.
“Yemen’s economy has contracted by more than 40 percent since 2015, which has left four out of every 10 Yemeni households without a regular source of income and driven poverty levels to above 80 percent. Supporting Yemenis now is more crucial than ever,” said Tania Meyer, World Bank Country Manager for Yemen. “These projects will support job creation and entrepreneurship opportunities for vulnerable Yemenis that have suffered from years of conflict and food insecurity.”
The new funding will scale up activities supported by the original project, with a greater focus on building cities’ resilience to climate change. It will also continue to support the restoration of critical urban services impacted by the conflict and by recent flooding.
The original project, which began in 2017, provided support for 3 million beneficiaries by creating 1.5 million person-days of work, and restoring 240 kilometers of roads, and helping 1.2 million people gain access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services. Yemen’s unmet needs for urban infrastructure and service delivery remain immense, however, due to the extent of damage caused by the conflict.
In light of the needs, YIUSEP II was launched in June 2021, initially a US$50 million IDA operation designed to restore urban services to an estimated 1.5 million people affected by flooding as well as conflict.
This new project will address food insecurity in rural areas by helping to improve road access for people living in isolated villages and to farmers who have been unable to get their products to market due to a lack of all-weather roads. The project is also expected to provide direct employment opportunities, get food aid to the most vulnerable more quickly and reduce food prices because of lower transportation costs offered by improved roads.
The newly approved funds bring the total IDA grants for Yemen to US$2.89 billion since 2016. In addition to funding, the World Bank provides technical expertise to design projects and helps put them in place by developing partnerships with UN agencies and local partners working on the ground.