UK doubles aid to Yemen

2 Mar
Malak Shaher
Yemen Times

SANA’A, March 2 – The United Kingdom promised the Yemeni government on Wednesday to increase its aid to Yemen from GBP 46.7 million to 90 million (YR 31 billion) by 2015, said Joanna Reid, head of the British Department of International Development DFID in Yemen.

DFID Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced that 1.8 million people will have better access to basic services such as healthcare, water and education as a result in the increase in aid.

The bilateral aid committed by the UK government is intended to assist development in Yemen and will increase gradually in the coming four years.

The UK also asked that the Yemeni government endeavor to meet a series of goals, which include moving towards the holding of free and fair elections and promoting economic reform.

“We also continue to encourage political reform in Yemen and believe that holding free, fair and multi-party parliamentary elections are an important part of that reform,” said Reid. “We will continue to work with Yemenis to make such elections possible.”

Yemen is one of 13 countries that will be helped by the British Government to hold freer and fairer elections.

According to Reid, the UK government is “concerned about Yemen’s high level of unemployment” and that part of the additional development aid will target employment problems across the country. The investment in education and training will equip Yemenis with the skills necessary to find jobs domestically or in the wider Middle East.

“As a result of DFID’s increased support to Yemen, we estimate that an additional 38,000 Yemenis will be able to find work,” said Reid.

In terms of education, the aid will enable more than 55,000 children in all Yemeni governorates to go to primary school. DFID will support the Social Fund for Development, which spends around 40% of its investments on education, according to Reid.

According to the British Embassy, the UK government is committed to supporting Yemen in the long-term, as demonstrated by Britain’s decision to sign a 10-year Development Partnership Arrangement with Yemen in 2007. The Agreement includes commitments from both the UK and from Yemen. For example, the government of Yemen has pledged to produce a development plan for poverty reduction that also details a series of reforms. For their part, the UK has offered to help support the Yemeni government in achieving these reforms, as well as to urge further progress.

Yemen is one of 27 countries to be helped by the British government in the 2011-2016 period. The new strategy presented by Secretary Mitchell will aim at decreasing the infant mortality rate by 250,000 children, saving the lives of 50,000 women during pregnancy and childbirth, securing proper education for 11 million Yemenis and providing access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation

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