Yemen is impatiently waiting for the outcome of the May 23 “Friends of Yemen” ministerial meeting in Riyadh, which includes the GCC countries as well as donor states and organizations.
The government is eager for urgent aid that would rescue the country from the economic collapse and help it face the enormous social repercussions inflicted by the country’s political crisis over the past year. Significant damage was caused to different sectors, particularly in infrastructure and basic services.
Mohammad al-Haweri, Yemen's Undersecretary of the Ministry of Planning, told Al-Hayat that representatives of the "Friends of Yemen" will hold a coordination meeting in Sana'a in late April for the final preparations of the ministerial conference.
These include completing the required documents, studies and reports, identifying the government priorities in future funding of development projects, containing the fiscal deficit and stimulating the economy.
Al-Haweri explained that the meetings in Sana'a will be attended by representatives of the participating members in the Friends of Yemen, especially the Gulf states, the US, the European Union and international institutions, as well as officials from the Yemeni government.
Yemen is looking forward to receiving US $15 billion funds for stimulating the economy and covering the investment needs, including US $10 billion to meet the urgent needs of a country deemed as one of the poorest in the region and the world. In fact, 42.8% of its population live below the poverty line, and the country ranked 154 out of 187 states in the 2011 human development index.
Yemeni officials said last month that the deficit rate of the current fiscal year budget exceeds two billion dollars.
Sana'a has recently received a number of European and Americans officials who confirmed the support of their countries for the transitional political process in Yemen and their participation in providing the necessary funds for the development process, as well as ensuring the humanitarian needs and services.
Riyadh hosted a meeting two weeks ago in "the General Secretariat of the GCC" and discussed the evaluation reports of the humanitarian situation in Yemen, as well as the plans advanced by the Yemeni government and the UN.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the Gulf States, the UN, the US, the EU and a number of donor countries and organizations. Its final statement noticed significant progress in resolving the political problems. However, the humanitarian situation is still deteriorating, requiring urgent treatment. The statement said that between eight and ten million people were affected.
It added that the urgent humanitarian priorities are securing food for women and children and providing clean water, primary medical care and food security. The UN group advanced the detailed plan prepared by the organization under the title of "The 2012 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan."
Ahmed Kahlani, who heads the operational unit in the refugee camps, said the meeting touched on the size of the humanitarian problem, as well as the financial support needed this year to implement the humanitarian plan. The Office of humanitarian needs in Yemen, which is affiliated with the United Nations and some organizations, estimated that the required financial aid amounted to roughly US $447 million. So far, 15% of that has been collected.