Yemen seeks billions in aid

Nov. 15, 2006 at 11:32 PM
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SANA'A, Yemen, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Yemeni government officials must be serious about implementing reforms if they expect to benefit from pledges made at a donor conference, analysts said.

"Yemen is now at a crossroads and needs to help itself by achieving real reforms," said Abdul-Aziz al-Tareb, head of the Arab Group for Investment and Development.

The conference in London is being conducted specifically to raise money to ease poverty in Yemen, one of the least developed countries in the world.

Britain said it will give about $220 million in new aid to Yemen over the next four years, the IRIN said. The British Department for International Development said it hoped the pledge -- expected to be used for education of girls, maternal health care, job creation and government accountability programs -- would encourage Arab countries attending the conference to increase their support for Yemen.

Yemeni officials said Yemen would ask conference attendees for $10 billion in aid over five years to bring it out of poverty and make it eligible for Gulf Cooperation Council membership.

Some analysts said, however, Yemen could enter another phase of instability if the government could not counter a deteriorating economy and higher rates of poverty and unemployment.

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