Last updated: 24 September, 2013

Yemen hopes donors will fulfil aid pledges

Yemen hopes that donor countries that meet this week will honour their pledges of $7.8 billion to the country, of which nearly a quarter has been paid, the international cooperation minister said Tuesday.

The country’s delegation to a meeting of the “Friends of Yemen,” scheduled on the margin of the UN General Assembly meeting Wednesday, “will ask for the support of donors for the stage that follows the national dialogue,” Mohammed Saadi told AFP.

The national dialogue is aimed at drafting a new constitution and prepare for elections in February 2014.

Yemen has agreed with donors over a list of projects which amount to 85 percent of total pledges, said Saadi, who also holds the planning portfolio.

But he pointed out that “only 24 percent (of pledges) have been released for projects that are being implemented.”

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia came at the top of countries that have met their commitments, he said. Part of its donation was to support the local currency, while other amounts were set aside for roads and electricity projects.

Earlier this month, the United Nations urged the international community, especially Gulf countries, to increase aid to impoverished Yemen, saying more than 10 million people in the country are hungry.

“People need food, water, education and healthcare. But they also want to know that there is investment to secure their future. We urgently need more funding to help those in need,” said UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos.

Yemen is the only Arab Spring nation in which a popular uprising led to a negotiated settlement for regime change, with Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi being elected president in February 2012 for an interim two-year period.