THE LEVANT – Press Release – The eight ministerial level meeting of the ‘Friends of Yemen’ welcomed the recent Peace and National Partnership Agreement that averted a civil war in Yemen, and called for a renewed commitment to compromise and dialogue to ensure the success of the political and economic transition. Further progress on reforms was urged to give all Yemenis a stake in the country’s future, along with measures to address the needs of the most vulnerable population, while donors were reminded of the necessity of fulfilling their pledges of support at this critical juncture
Meeting three days after the signing of the peace agreement that ended a recent escalation of hostilities, the conference gathered more than 50 representatives of governments and international organizations. Discussions focused on the formation of the new government in Yemen, as stipulated by the agreement, and the challenge ahead to build and maintain a stable environment for the transition
“The new government should take immediate steps to show they are serious about transparency, improving services to citizens and tackling corruption,” said Inger Andersen, Regional Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, who represented theWorld Bank Group at the conference. “This will send a signal to the people of Yemen that their priorities are in line with demands for a more just and accountable government, and to donors that their support is yielding results.
Yemen embarked on a political transition at the end of 2011, following an agreement brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council that ended a year-long political crisis. With more than half the population living below the poverty line, the country has a humanitarian emergency to cope with in addition to managing a transition. A National Dialogue was organized to bring together the full cross section of society to achieve consensus on the country’s future, while ambitious reforms were launched to improve the management of the national budget and expand social nets. Stability will be critical for implementing the outcomes of the National Dialogue and further progress on economic reforms
“There is no time to lose on economic reforms, as they are the route to freeing up the funds that can be directed to the poorest that need them most,” added Inger Andersen, ”this will give Yemenis one of the critical ingredients for stability – hope for a better tomorrow.
The World Bank has approved US$498 million in new grants since the start of the 2011 transition, and currently has a portfolio of projects in Yemen totaling about US$1 billion focused on increasing access to basic social services, improving infrastructure, and enhancing governance and institutions.