Abu Dhabi government reiterates support to Yemen with AED2.385 bn grant for sustainable development

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WAM Abu Dhabi, 16th Dec. 2009 (WAM) -- The Government of Abu Dhabi will offer the Yemeni Government an AED2.385 billion (US$650 million) grant to finance sustainable socio-economic development projects that are to be managed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD).

His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chairman of ADFD, and his Yemeni counterpart His Excellency Abu Bakr al-Qirbi signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the development grant at Abu Dhabi.

The MoU covers the financing of 14 vital projects in different regions in Yemen. ADFD will solely manage 12 projects while it will cooperate with the UAE Ministry of Interior to execute a smart card project. The UAE Red Crescent Authority will manage the reconstruction project of building damaged as a result of floods in the Hadramout valley.

Commenting on this initiative, Sheikh Abdullah said: "The grant reflects our commitment to the sustainable development of Yemen, in line with our outlook of driving growth, both at the regional and global levels. The support contributes to ensuring the long-run stability of the diverse communities in the region, which is interlinked to socio-economic prosperity." Sheikh Abdullah highlighted the UAE's strong and deep-rooted ties with Yemen at several levels, and stressed on improving these relations for mutual benefit. He said ADFD has played a pivotal role in driving sustainable development in Yemen, as well as in 53 countries since the organisation was founded in 1971 for the larger support of developing countries around the world.

His Excellency Abu Bakr al-Qirbi , Minister of Foreign Affairs in Yemen, reaffirmed the strength of Yemen's relations with the UAE. He thanked the wise Emirati Leadership for launching several developmental initiatives in his country, which have provided a solid platform for energising the local economy by driving core sectors such as healthcare, education, housing, energy and infrastructure, among others.

Mr. Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Acting Director General of ADFD said: "This MoU reflects the strong commitment of our leadership to provide assistance to neighbouring countries through substantial support for their developmental drive. The projects are specifically envisaged to drive socio-economic growth in the long-term, and ensure balanced growth that will benefit all sections of the society, especially the underprivileged." Al Suwaidi explained that ADFD initiated its contributions for growth projects in Yemen since 1974, financing 12 projects valued at AED 394 million. It has further supervised the execution of 21 projects financed by the Government of Abu Dhabi worth approximately AED 3 billion. He reiterated the government's support to strengthen the sustainable growth drive of Yemen which covers several key sectors.

As per the MoU, ADFD will supervise crucial infrastructure development projects in transport, energy, water, sewage, healthcare, education, culture and social development. Key among these is the construction of the Sad Hassan Dam, valued up to AED275 million and with a capacity of 20 million cubic metres. The scope of work includes constructing the dam's concrete wall, pools of water, energy facilities and main irrigation channels.

The MoU sets apart approximately AED 588 million to support energy projects in Yemen including transmission lines, transformers, power stations and distribution of power from Ma'reb station as well as Gas Power station Project with 300 mega watt to meet the growing demand for power in Yemen.

On the water and sewage sector, the MoU earmarks a project valued approximately at AED147 million, located in rural areas. The project will help provide drinking water to local communities in addition to setting up a sewage network in the cities of Aataq, Damt, Al Mahweet and Aab.

To strengthen the cargo shipping sector in Yemen, ADFD will supervise the expansion and dredging works of the Aden seaport's container entrance. The project valued at approximately AED 147 million will develop and enhance the capacity of the seaport thus enhancing its global competitiveness.

ADFD will also supervise the second phase of works for developing a rural road network worth approximately AED 165 million that will effectively link several rural areas with the cities thus bringing sustainable growth to several village communities.

On the education sector, the MoU will extend support for the second phase of the Engineering Faculty in the Sana'a project. The scope of work includes expanding new engineering specializations such as civil engineering, electrical and architectural engineering, as well as construction of buildings and providing necessary equipment. The project is valued at AED55 million. Additionally, ADFD will drive approximately AED147 million to build, rehabilitate and equip technology for 20 institutes and professional training centres.

A fund estimated at approximately AED294 million will be dedicated to support Yemen's Social Development Fund offering basic social services including healthcare, education, water, rural roads, promoting SMEs and training.

ADFD will cooperate with the UAE Ministry of Interior to execute a smart card project valued at approximately AED226 million. This covers building a database, generalizing the National Number, issuing personal ID cards with smart chips and generation of electronic birth certificates.

In healthcare, ADFD will help executing the Saleh Healthcare City project, at a cost estimate of AED184 million including architectural services to design the City that will accommodate 1000 in-patients. The Healthcare City will feature several specialized centers for heart, brain, neurology, general surgery, bones surgery, plastic surgery and cancer care. Also ADFD will earmark approximately AED11 million to aid the national campaign against malaria by providing the necessary medical equipment.

The National Sciences Museum project, another key element in the MoU, aims to achieve cultural development and promote scientific research. This project valued at approximately AED48 million envisages the development of an aerospace sciences theatre, educational and entertainment exhibitions, as well as a research center aimed at driving innovation and creativity. An 8,000 square meter scientific park will be set up to showcase the environmental diversity of the country, another key driver for long-term growth.

A crucial component of the MoU is an AED100 million housing project that envisages the creation of 1,000 units in areas that were devastated by floods in the Hadramout Vallley. The project will be supervised by the UAE Red Crescent.

ADFD has been active in Yemen since 1974, and is one of the biggest contributors to sustainable development in the country. Its activities range from providing loans and grants to supervising projects financed by the Government of Abu Dhabi.

ADFD's key projects include the Ma'reb Dam which catalysed the development of local communities. It also supported other crucial initiatives such as the Masaken Al Yemen housing project through all its stages, the Aden Electricity Electrical grid link between Thamar and Taaz regions, Sana'a Water, Aden Seaport development project, and the Nashitoon sea port as well as other infrastructure projects.