- Participants in a meeting organized by the Yemeni Export Supreme Council have recommended implementing procedures to prepare an investment map of Yemen.
In the meeting, over existing plans for supporting and insuring exports in the region, participants from investment corporations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain urged the finalization of measures to establish a Leasing Legal and Regulatory Framework in Yemen. They also called to set up a joint database on investment projects.
The meeting was organized in coordination with the Arab Corporation for Investment and Insurance of Kuwait, the Arab Company for Investment in Bahrain, the Saudi Fund for Development, the Saudi Export Program and Watani Bank.
In the opening session of the meeting, Khaled Rajah Sheikh, the Minister of Industry and Trade, said that the size of inter-Arab trade exchange reached only 10% of the total Arab trade exchange with the rest of the world.
“It is a low rate and does not reflect the geographic reality that links the Arab world,” he said.
In a speech to the participants over existing mechanisms of funding and insuring exports, the minister said that the meeting was a good occasion to discuss two key topics related to aspect of the Arab trade cooperation.
“The first topic is the development of trade exchange and investment between Arab countries, and the second is the means of joint cooperation between the Yemeni investors and exporters from one side, and their Arab counterparts from other side,” he said.
He pointed out the importance of benefiting from the national corporation, which granted insurance and encouraged investments and exports. The minister also welcomed an initiative presented by the Inter Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation in Kuwait, to set up a national agency for investment guarantee in Yemen, calling on national banks to work to establish such agency.
He also called Arab businessmen to invest in Yemen and to benefit from the Yemeni Investment Act. He said that the Yemeni law of investment allowed businessmen to invest in any field.
Fahad Al-Ibrahim, the director general of the Inter Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation, said he appreciated the efforts of the Yemeni government to merge its economy with world economies through negotiations to access the world trade organization, and its third five year plan which aims at enhancing economic reforms and decrease dependency on oil, as well as activating role of the private sector in the development.
He reviewed activities of the Arab corporation in working to increase the volume of inter-Arab trade exchange.
He said that Yemen, from the establishment of the corporation until the end of last October, had benefited from the corporation’s services as importer, making up 7.6% of the total of Arab imports.
He added that Yemen ranked 13th in terms of the beneficiaries from the corporation, exporting a sum of US$24 million, or 0.95 % of the total of the Arab exporting countries.
He suggested the establishment of a national agency to offer insurance for Yemeni exports, to protect them from “commercial and non-commercial risks.”
“The corporation bridges to present all technical and training assistance for setting up the agency,” Al-Ibrahim said.
Faisal al-Alwan, the general manager of the Arab Investment Company based in Bahrain, said that the meeting was a chance to extend cooperation between exporters, importers, and funding and insurance corporations.
Al-Alwan said that Arab banks and financial institutions are playing key role in capitalism in the international market, in order to reform the conditions of Arab commerce.
Noman Al-Malsi, the secretary general of the Yemeni Export Supreme Council, said that the meeting aimed at informing businessmen, export corporations and other concerned investment bodies about insurance services for exports.
He said the meeting was a big chance to set up joint projects between participating businessmen and Yemen exporters.
Al-Malsi said that the government has granted facilities for projects for exports, especially for non-oil products such as fishes, fruits and vegetables.
He added that the volume of Yemeni exports had enjoyed large increases since four years ago, and that the volume of agricultural exports had increased from YR 6.8 billion to YR 14.3 billion in 2004.
However, there was room for further increases, he claimed. “It is possible to increase the size of fisheries exports to up to 75,000 tons yearly,” he said.
Saleh bin Ali al-Awaji, director general of export guarantee for the Saudi Export Program, said that the program would extend its range of investment guarantees in Yemen, through contributing and funding Saudi exports to Yemen. “Yemen has a lot of investment chances that are still unutilized,” he said.
Abdul-Salam Al-Athwari, secretary general of the Yemeni Council for Businessmen and Investors, said that the meeting had discussed the means of increasing the volume of trade exchange between Arab countries, and reviewed the services of the guarantee corporations for investments and exports to reduce risks on those investments.
“The Yemeni private sector should benefit from those services, as they are important to insure investment in the country,” Al-Athwari said.
He added that the establishment of a national agency for investment guarantee was very important, particularly to create partnerships with similar corporations in the region.
“We adopted this idea of setting up this agency through participating banks and financial institutions, as well as international corporations who have experience in this regard,” he said.
Mohammed Abduh Saeed, head of the general union of Industrial and Commercial Chambers said that there was “no doubt” of the importance of exports for developing a country.
“The export process is very important for development in any country, and we have to pay further attention to this process, which reflects positively on the investments inside the country regarding exports,” Saeed said. “The wonderful location of Yemen qualifies it to be a good port to export products to African markets.”
He added that the initiative to set up the agency under the sponsorship of the inter-Arab investment guarantee was a step to encourage Yemeni exporters