DFID Yemen: Our current programme

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1. Yemen is the only low income country in the Middle East, with 35% of Yemenis living under the Yemeni poverty line. Yemen has been hit hard by the recent food prices which threatened to set back its progress on poverty reduction. Yemen is currently ranked 153 out of 177 on the Human Development Index, with female literacy at 40.5%(1) and an annual population growth rate of 3.1%(2) - one of the highest in the world. Yemen is also struggling to deal with declining oil revenues, water scarcity, terrorist activity and local conflict. DFID Yemen's overall approach is therefore focused on both reducing Yemen's poverty and its fragility. We cannot do this alone. We work closely with UK Government partners, other donors, civil society and the Government of Yemen (GoY) to maximise our impact.

Scaling Up Resources

2. The UK has provided development assistance to Yemen since the early 1970s, with some interruptions. By 2003, we had a =A32 million programme, focused on strengthening economic and financial management. In 2003, DFID decided to expand, focusing on health and education. Our expenditure rose year-on-year to =A312m in 2007/8 and =A320m in 2008/9. We will continue to scale up our assistance to Yemen over the next few years.

3. Yemen is a challenging environment within which to reduce poverty and fragility. However, it is precisely because of these challenges that DFID decided it was time to scale up in Yemen. This decision was reinforced by Yemen long being under-aided by the international community (receiving only $12.7 per capita pa compared to $33.4 per capita pa in other Least Developed Countries) and by the GoY demonstrating increased commitment to poverty reduction and reform.

4. DFID Yemen is developing a Country Plan to set the future direction for our engagement in Yemen over the next five years. The Plan will be launched in 2009.

Our Development Partnership Arrangement with Yemen

5. DFID recognises that Yemen faces both immediate and long term challenges and that the road towards greater prosperity and stability is going to be rocky, with set backs as well as steps forward. To demonstrate to the Government of Yemen that we are a serious development partner, committed to supporting the country tackle its challenges over the long term, we signed a 10 Year Development Partnership Arrangement (DPA) with the Government in August 2007. The DPA is more than just another document. It will help us:

- Mature our relationship with the Government of Yemen and improve the frankness and quality of our dialogue:

- Secure and monitor the Government of Yemen's commitments on poverty reduction, human rights and improved public financial management;

- Promote better performance by our DFID supported programmes; helping us manage the risks associated with scaling up;

- Improve our performance on aid effectiveness, including the predictability of our aid

- Improve the Yemeni Government's ability to hold us to account on our commitments;

- And lead by example to encourage other donors to enter into long term partnership with the Government of Yemen.