x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Yemenis go to Riyadh to seek funds

Yemen officials are visiting Saudi Arabia in the hope of securing aid as the country begins a new era.

Yemen government officials will tomorrow visit Riyadh as they seek to secure US$3 billion (Dh11bn) in GCC aid pledged to the country.

The new regime hopes the cash will flow after Ali Abdullah Saleh abided by a GCC-inspired transition plan to step down as president. This followed a year of violence and protests against his rule that brought the economy close to collapse.

"For the GCC this is an opportunity to show they're committed to ensuring political stability and helping Yemen return to growth," said Jarmo Kotilaine, the chief economist of NCB in Saudi Arabia.

"It's a country that needs help and I think finally that's been recognised by the GCC with the long-standing plan to bring Yemen into the fold and pursue a EU-style cohesive plan to accelerate its economic development."

Yemen has only a fraction of the wealth of its richer GCC cousins as its oil reserves dwindle. This month, the government unveiled a draft budget for the year that included a US$2.6bn (Dh9.5bn) budget deficit.

The officials going to Riyadh are seeking $3bn of $5.5bn that was previously pledged to Yemen by the GCC in 2006. That cash had been withheld because of the outbreak last year of violence and instability.

According to the UN, Yemen ranks 151st out of 177 countries on its Human Development Index, which gauges life expectancy, education and standard of living.

 

tarnold@thenational.ae