Yemen: New tools, skills and opportunities are shaping a way beyond a difficult past
Trade continues to play a pivotal role in Yemen’s development. As a Least Developed Country (LDC) with one of the lowest per-capita ODA flows, the country is using the EIF process and enhanced donor coordination to leverage additional Aid for Trade (AfT) resources.
In Yemen, the EIF National Implementation Unit (NIU) has been working closely with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to integrate all programme and project activities within the broader Ministry plans. As a result, the EIF programme in Yemen has managed to pool in broader results using trade as a gateway to development.
As part of the solar initiative being led by the Minister of Industry and Trade, the EIF NIU has been playing an active important role in its committees (Steering Committee, Communication Committee and Secretariat). As a result, UNDP and the European Union (EU) have agreed to partner up with the Ministry on the solar initiative, whereas, other development partners including the World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Germany under Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and the Governments of India and China have also shown interest.
The EIF has been at the frontline in taking forward trade studies, the EIF-supported update of the 2003 Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) together with the National Trade Strategy will give impetus to trade and export development in the medium term. To finalize and take forward the National Export Strategy, the EIF NIU secured resources from the EU to fund the first phase and is looking to secure resources for the second phase.
Moreover, the EIF has also funded a study assessing the state of consumer associations in Yemen. This study was submitted to the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation to mobilize funds to revive the consumer associations. To gear up the process, the EIF has funded a two-day “Consultative and awareness” workshop for heads of consumer associations to discuss and agree on future steps to revive the association, as well as to seek support from the private sector and development partners.
In terms of supporting inclusive trade benefits for local communities, Yemen has rolled out the Youth Economic Empowerment project, a UNDP project in which the Ministry of Industry and Trade represented by the EIF NIU, acts as the Government supporting partner. Through this project, EIF Yemen disbursed over US$300,000 to youths who presented creative and innovative projects. Assistance of up to US$300 to each youth has also been approved to cover commercial registration and license fees. Presently, a project worth US$9 million is being negotiated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to expand youth empowerment in 9 governorates. The Memorandum of Understanding will be signed by the Government and UNDP, and will comprise a team of six representatives from each institution. From the Ministry, three of the six representatives are EIF NIU staff.
In June 2014, Yemen acceded to the WTO marking a major milestone in the process of Yemen’s trade integration. The accession process was made possible with support from the EU WTO post accession project, which was actively supported by the EIF NIU through representation in the Steering Committee as well as in the Public-Private sector dialogue Council. The Ministry of Trade also mobilized support of the private sector to ratify Yemen’s accession to the WTO through interactive dialogue with the Public-Private sector dialogue Council in workshops that provided lectures on the impact of the WTO on trade, anti-dumping, trademarks and tariffs.
Through a honey Tier 2 project, the EIF is backing the development of skills and technical know-how in the honey sector, to improve productivity and quality in the Shabwah and Al-Hudaydah Governorates. The project aims to train 3,000 farmers, including 1,000 women, and provide 15,000 modern bee hives to increase rural poor incomes by 20%, employing modern beekeeping technology and ensuring standards and value addition for Yemeni honey and bee products. The target is to boost sales by up to 25% and prices by 20% through improved packaging, branding and access to new markets through eco and organic certification and fair trade.
At the EIF Ministerial Breakfast held along the sidelines of the Ninth Session of the WTO Ministerial Conference, the Minister of Industry and Trade, H.E Dr Saadaldeen Talib shed more light on the honey project achievements including profiling Yemeni honey at the Milan 2015 Expo. He told the over 150 high‑level delegations that through an EIF Tier 2 project supporting branding and marketing of Yemeni honey, the Yemen Government's vision was backing the project which was expected to increase exports from US$60 million to US$200 million at the end of the three‑year tenure. He concluded that such tangible results needed to be further boosted and followed up for in other sectors such as coffee and fisheries, and in this regard, Yemen fully supported an extension of the EIF programme.
The honey project has taken off in the Hodeida and Shabwa Governorates, with the EIF NIU now working closely with the Economic Opportunities Fund (EOF) to improve quality honey produce in Shabwa and Tihama. Together with the EOF, the EIF is also supporting the honey certification and quality control processes.
Building on this, the EIF team in Yemen is also working with the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) to replicate honey projects on a smaller scale beyond the Hodeida and Shabwa Governorates. As a result, TIKA has also agreed to create a federation for honey keepers in Yemen. To sustain the achievements in the honey sector and support moving up the honey value chain, the EIF NIU have conceptualized together with stakeholders’ input, a project to fund the Center for Bee Disease and Pest Management.
The EIF’s work in Yemen has been shaping the country’s focus to use trade for the greater development of the country using new tools, skills and opportunities. Since Yemen joined the IF, an earlier programme of the EIF, the impact realized through to the EIF has been critical. This is evident in the country’s use of the EIF process to provide support in increasing its AfT flows, especially through the EIF pillars on donor coordination on trade issues and leveraging of additional AfT resources.