- Yemen and its development partners held on Sunday their 3rd Post-Consultative Group Follow up Meeting.
They reviewed following up the outcomes of Yemen's donors conference and the mid-term review of the third five-year plan for development and poverty alleviation 2008-2010.
Almost 250 participants from the government officials, parliament members, representatives of donors, heads of development funds, and civil society organizations took part in the meeting.
Opening the meeting, Prime Minister Ali Mujawar considered the third following up meeting a reflection of the real partnership between the government and all its development partners to support the development process in Yemen.
He valued all types of support presented to Yemen by donors from the brotherly and friendly countries and regional and international institutions.
Mujawar reviewed the challenges facing implementation of development plan during the past thee years under the local, territorial, and international changes and developments.
"Soaring food prices, flood disasters resulted by climate changes, rebellion in Sa'ada and terrorist phenomenon as well as impacts of the global financial crisis are the main challenges facing Yemen's development," he said.
Besides these prime challenges, he added, other regional problems have affected the country's development. "The political unrests in African horn, piracy and continuous pouring of African refugees to Yemen have contributed to these challenges."
Mujwar pointed out that the expected ambitious growth rate to be realized for the past few years was 7.1, and what was achieved of was 4.3. "This ratio is considered a good indicator, if we considered the emergent challenges," he reiterated.
Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Abdul-Karim al-Arhabi explained effects of the global financial crisis on Yemen's economy which he described as "heavy effects on the country's shoulders" because of drop of oil process and decline of production.
"The mid-term reviews expect achieving an economic growth rate of 5.7 percent for 2009-2010 supported by liquefied natural gas exports and what would be allowed from the financial pledges for the investment program of the plan", the minister said.
Al-Arhabi affirmed that the government was able to control its general budget's deficit at its safe limits which doesn't exceed 2.9 for 2006-2008 and achieved a surplus in the payments balance amounted to 2.5 percent as well as conserving the national currency exchange against the foreign currency.
Regarding poverty alleviation, the minister made it clear that while the poverty ratio decreased from 41.8 % in 1998 to 34.7% in 2006, inflation rate till end of 2008 along with the global food crisis have affected the previous achievements of poverty alleviation's plan.
The government has worked on expanding the social protection network and it is currently preparing for a national strategy for food security to get over those effects, al-Arhabi added.
"Despite developments in allocating the donors' pledges during and after the first meeting of the group in Landon amounted to $5.5 billion, the great challenge which remain is completing these allocations," he said. He added that only two years remained of the age of the plan of alleviating the poverty.
For her part, the World Bank Vice President for the Middle East, Daniela Gracani says our meeting today aims to seek developments in progress by the government in implementing its reform program and progress of donors to translate their pledges into activities on the ground.
"During our Consultative Group meeting in London two and half years ago, we agreed to meet on a regular basis to take stock of progress," she said, adding "I believe the first and the second follow up meetings were very successful."
She hoped today's discussion would provide an opportunity to discuss the practical issues "we are facing as we move forward to implementation."
For his part Director of Management and Studies in Gulf Cooperation Council Abdul-Aziz al-Uwaisheq talked about projects included in GCC countries' financial pledges for the period 2007-2010.
"The GCC countries' pledges have reached 90 percent distributed on more than 50 projects and developmental programs to be agreed upon by the two parts (Yemen and GCC countries)," he said.
He affirmed the GCC's keenness on enhancing process on including Yemen in all GCC's institutions via working with development partners on supporting Yemen's development.
Vice Chairman of Saudi Fund for Development Yusuf al-Bassam appreciated Yemen's efforts for drawing up studies for carrying out the projects within the investment program.
He clarified that the fund's export program has approved three funding process for supplying Saudi exports to Yemen with the cost of $ 135 million for supporting projects in Yemen, especially in electric field.
He affirmed Saudi Kingdom's stand with Yemen for facing effects of the global financial crisis on public and private sectors, calling suppliers to continue their support to Yemen.
Then, the meeting discussed a number of issues concerning exiting and future cooperation between Yemen and its development's partners. The meeting reviewed Mid-Term Review of the Third Five Years Plan for Alleviating Poverty.
The meeting also reviewed issues related to enhancing cooperation between Yemen and donors and supporting the government's efforts for facing all challenges it faces because of economic changes and drop of oil prices.
It also reviewed what have been achieved regarding honoring donors' pledges and allocations to Yemen made in London Group meeting in 2006.