World Bank Moving Quickly on Pledges of Support to Yemen

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Three new projects totaling US$206 million are the first results of the US$400 million committed at the recent Yemen donor conference

WASHINGTON, February 14, 2013 – The World Bank Group is delivering on its commitments to Yemen with the announcement today of three new projects totaling US$206 million. The projects will expand the ongoing US$700 million program of support for both the reconstruction effort and the transition process, and represent the first installment of an additional US$400 million pledged at last year’s Yemen donor conference.

“We are moving fast to deliver on our promises,” said Inger Andersen, World Bank Regional Vice President for Middle East and North Africa. “We are confident our international partners will match our speed and urgency, as the political process will not be sustainable unless the people of Yemen see a difference in their lives and livelihood.”

The World Bank Group pledge of US$400 million forms part of US$7.5 billion committed by the international community in support of Yemen at the Donors Conference in Riyadh and Friends of Yemen meeting in New York, in September and November, 2012. The funds will be vital for meeting the budget shortfalls in the Government of National Reconciliation’s plan for economic reconstruction, and to create a stable environment for the critical political processes underway in the National Dialogue, the drafting of a new constitution and subsequent elections.

The three new projects approved today by the World Bank Board of Directors will be funded through grants from the International Development Agency, the Bank’s arm for the world’s poorest countries. They are aimed at expanding essential infrastructure and improving conditions for the most vulnerable segments of society, who continue to suffer some of the severest impacts of the recent crisis.

“The goal of these grants is to give Yemenis a clear sense that their lives are getting better,” said Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Country Director for Yemen. “They will create short-term jobs, restore basic services, improve access to social safety nets, and revitalize livelihoods while laying the foundations for future, sustainable development.”

The $100 million Emergency Crisis Recovery Project will provide cash transfers to around 400,000 eligible poor households over the next 12 to 15 months. The two-year emergency project will support the government’s Social Welfare Fund cash transfer program and ensure that those most in need are receiving appropriate and timely assistance.

The $66 million Second Basic Education Development Project will promote equal access to quality education. It will focus on improving reading skills for elementary school children, including funding for building and equipping about 500 additional classrooms in overcrowded schools; rehabilitating close to 150 cluster schools; recruiting and training of 700 rural female teachers; providing financial assistance to poor families in rural areas to encourage the education of young girls and development grants to approximately 210 schools.

The $40 million Road Asset Management Project will improve road conditions and create jobs. It will create the infrastructure that people need to do business as the first step toward boosting internal trade. The enhanced road network will connect agricultural, fish, oil, gas and mineral production sites to consumption and manufacturing centers and export outlets.