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German Development Minister: Development in Yemen Depends on Reform

Dirk Niebel, Federal Minister for International Development Cooperation in the Federal Republic of Germany, who visited Sana’a last week, confirmed future assistance of Yemen depends in large part on the implementation of a national agenda of economic reforms.

In a press conference with the Yemeni Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Mr. Niebel emphasized that Germany has been supporting development in Yemen for decades and it will continue its support to Yemen in order to improve the standard of living for the Yemeni citizenry.

Niebel noted that Germany is cooperating with Yemen in the three basic areas, foremost among them education, which aims to combat illiteracy and improve the lives of citizens.  Also, it aids in the field of water and sewage treatment, which aims to protect water resources in Yemen to maintain sanitation and cleanliness.

Thirdly, Germany aims at improving governance in the Central Organization for Control and Accounting by combatting corruption. Niebel called on the Yemeni government to set its developmental agenda, stressing that it should be realistic and easy to implement.

He reported that the coming German-Yemeni discussions scheduled for next June will discuss the next five-year plan of assistance, as well as areas of aid-implementation in Yemen. The German minister expressed his country’s desire to support Yemen in all possible areas, but lamented, “we want to improve Sa’ada, but unfortunately the situation isn’t reassuring.”

“Germany and its European partners want democracy to be bigger and larger than it is now because the correlation between democracy and German aid is high,” Niebel added.

With regard to the issue of Germany’s support to Yemen in combating terrorism, Niebel stated, “Yemen is a key partner in combating  terrorism and there are contacts between Yemen and Germany, especially since the visit of the German Interior Minister to Yemen,” noting that bilateral contacts and discussions intensified after the explosive parcels affair.”

He asserted that Germany promotes the process of development in Yemen both to improve people’s living conditions and to reduce support for terrorism.

Germany has been supporting development in Yemen for more than four decades. The first subsidy was in 1969, which Germany provided through the Reconstruction Loan Bank for the purpose of constructing Sana’a International Airport, as well as the maintenance of roads, such as the one between Sana’a and Taiz.

German aid in the field of human development has included the provision of clean drinking water, reproductive health support, and family health.  In terms of business, its government has aimed to provide small business loans, improve the general environment for investment, and supported monitoring, audits, and combating corruption.

Subsidies implemented through the German Agency for Technical Cooperation began in Yemen in 1983. The Agency has so far implemented 70 projects in the amount of 360 million euros.

The German Foundation for Developmental Services in Yemen, one of the executive organizations specializing in developmental cooperation, opened its doors in 1979. The institution focused on primary health care as well as urban development and reconstruction of historic buildings.

Germany supports Yemen through the Reconstruction Bank and between 1969 a d 2009, provided approximately 600 million euros of financial support.