The Yemeni government has urged the international community to funnel aid sent to the war-torn country through the Aden-based Central Bank of Yemen (CBY), saying that this will help boost the faltering national currency and enable control over the local banking market.
Yemen's Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Najib Ouj conveyed this message to officials at the World Bank. He also noted that the Yemeni economy had shrunk by almost half over the last five years, since the Houthis staged a nationwide coup.
Addressing the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Vice President Ferid Belhaj in a video meeting, Ouj stressed the need to bolster the role of national institutions in implementing the international body’s projects in Yemen.
Employing Yemeni institutions would reduce operation costs consumed by international agencies and contractors undertaking donor projects, Ouj noted.
He also emphasized the need for the CBY to present a transparency mechanism for assessment and oversight to UN agencies working in Yemen.
Ouj underlined the importance of transferring aid to Yemen through the Aden-based CBY and disbursing it in Yemeni riyals to enhance the bank’s monetary capabilities and enable it to fulfill its role in supporting the national currency and maintaining exchange stability.
CBY, for its part, would need to uphold transparency and credit control standards required by donors and international organizations.
Over the last five years, Yemen’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 5%, Ouj revealed.
“The cumulative economic loss amounted to more than 88 billion dollars, and the national currency exchange rate depreciated by over 180%,” he told Belhaj.
Ouj commented on the massive internal displacement affecting millions of Yemenis.
“The refugee crisis constitutes an additional burden on the state, as the number of internally displaced persons has reached 3.6 million,” the minister said, noting that over a million Yemenis had fled abroad.
A World Bank team had previously announced that portfolio projects allotted to Yemen, scheduled for approval in March 2021, are designed to cover integrated projects of education, social protection, and urbanization services with a total cost of $371 million.
The social protection project will cost up to $ 200 million, the integrated urbanization project is set at $50 million, and education projects totaling $121 million.
Education support projects will be distributed into incentives given to teachers, school feeding programs, stationary procurement programs, and restoration efforts.