Donors cast doubt on Yemen’s preparedness to handle projects

A street scene in Sana'a, Yemen. Donors doubt the country's capacity to implement development projects that the $10 billion-worth requested aid will fund. Photo by: yeowatzup / CC BY

Yemen plans to request $10 billion in economic aid at an upcoming international conference, but initial reactions suggest donors are unlikely to commit financial assistance just yet.

Yemen will need an estimated $10 billion to stabilize its economy and currency, according to Mohammed Said al-Saadi, the country’s planning minister. The money will fund infrastructure projects and restoration of health and social services, among other activities.

Yemen will discuss this figure with donors at the “Friends of Yemen” meeting May 23 in Saudi Arabia. But Western diplomats said financial commitments are unlikely to come out of the meeting, which will focus on the political side of Yemen’s transition.

Donors will most likely defer pledging economic aid until the formal donor conference in July, Agence France-Pressesays, citing Western diplomats.

At least one European diplomat also described Yemen’s request as “not realistic.” Donors are concerned about Yemen’s capacity to implement the development projects the requested aid will fund, the diplomat said, according to AFP. The diplomat did say there are ongoing donor-led efforts to “increase” that capacity.

Philippe Jacques of the European Union’s Development Cooperation in Yemen agreed on the issue of preparedness. He stressed that Yemen cannot “just have a shopping list” of projects, but must also be ready to implement these.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.