US signs aid plans for Yemen, Jordan

U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein and Vice Minister Dr. Mutahar Al-Abasi during a meeting prior to the signing of a funding agreement worth $65.5 million. Photo by: USAID Yemen

Some pledged funds for Yemen are set to translate into real money. On Saturday (Sept. 29), one of its donors signed a funding agreement with the Yemeni government amounting to $65.5 million.

The agreement covers part of the United States’ $364 million pledge to Yemen at a donors’ conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sept. 4. Total donor pledges to Yemen to date are close to $8 billion.

Part of the money will be used to support a national dialogue, constitutional reform deliberations and a national election expected in 2014 following the establishment of a new constitution. There’s also funding for civil society organizations — including those working for women and youth  wishing to participate in the processes, according to a press release.

It is not immediately clear how much of the funding will be allotted for these activities, but the Western donor also plans to support programs on maternal and child health, education, family planning and agriculture using the said funds. Target areas are the governorates of Abyan, Aden and Lahj.

The United States also signed grant agreements with Jordan on Monday (Oct. 1). The money  $357.9 million in total  is part of a five-year, U.S. bilateral agreement with the Arab country signed in 2008. Funding will be used for the following:

  • $47.79 million for trade, investment and jobs creation.

  • $26.96 million for water management and water system infrastructure.

  • $28.97 million for “political development.”

  • $70.21 million for health and education.

  • $184 million for cash transfers. The government makes use of cash transfers to “service its foreign debt,” according to a Congressional Research Service report.

There are no specific projects attached to the agreement, William Thomas from the U.S. Agency for International Development mission in Jordan said in an email. “All projects are a result of the planning process and any job opportunities are advertised for separately,” he added.

The funds are on top of the $100 million budget support the U.S. Congress approved for Jordan in July. Part of that “special” assistance was meant to help Jordan provide for the needs of Syrian refugees.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.