By: Abdurrahamn Shamlan
Headed by Fatahi Abdulwasheh, ten of Yemen’s most successful businessmen are currently on a ten-day visit to the United States which began on October 17. The aim of the trip is to strengthen commercial and economic ties between the two nations.
Led by American Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein, the business delegation is visiting American companies working in the renewable energy, electricity, agriculture, modern irrigation and water treatment fields.
Organized by the American Embassy’s Commercial and Economic department, the trip includes stops at five U.S. cities: Washington, D.C., New York City, Kansas City, Houston and San Francisco.
Ten days before they set off on their trip, the American Ambassador received the ten Yemeni businessmen at his residence in Sana’a.
During the meeting, those present discussed the trip’s potential importance and the significant role the private sector could play in both pushing ahead development in Yemen and improving the national economy.
Feierstein pointed out that the business delegation trip came within the framework of American efforts to improve the Yemeni economy and strengthen economic and commercial ties and partnerships between the two nations’ private sectors.
He added that the trip would focus on areas such as renewable energy, electricity and modern irrigation systems.
“This is the third Yemeni trade delegation to visit the U.S. this year, but it’s the first special delegation to go to the U.S. not to take part in an international conference, convention or tradeshow, but to meet with American businessmen working in certain areas. I decided to accompany the delegation this time in order to facilitate meetings,” said Feierstein when asked why he would accompany this particular trade delegation.
The Yemeni delegation members said they regarded the business trip highly, and expressed a feeling that it would meet with positive results. They expressed their gratitude for efforts exerted by Washington to enhance the Yemeni private sector and thanked the American ambassador for his decision to accompany them to the U.S.
Well-known Yemeni businessmen and head of the Yemeni Businessmen’s Club Fatahi Saeed told the National Yemen, “This business trip is going to be unique because it’s the first Yemeni special trade delegation to go to the U.S. and meet with American companies that have showed interest in investing in Yemen.”
He said the timing of the business trip was perfect because the country is currently passing through an historic phase, and affirmed that the private sector is committed to playing an important role in Yemen’s development process.
“As Yemeni businessmen, we are going to do our best to paint a good picture of Yemen and convince and encourage American businesses to come and invest in our country,” Saeed added.
Several American media outlets, including Time Magazine and Reuters, will conduct interviews with the Yemeni businessmen with the aim of drawing the attention to the trip and to encourage American businessmen to come and invest in Yemen and be part of its economic development, said Ting Wu, Economic and Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a.
General Manager of the Brum Fish Export Company and business delegation member Ali Al-Habshi said in a statement to the National Yemen, “Yemen will not exit the current economic status quo unless it comes to learn and understand the importance of exporting.”
Late in September, a Yemeni trade delegation headed by Hassan Al-Kabous went to the U.S. and participated in the U.S. Food and Beverage Show, at which Yemeni coffee products were on display.
That delegation achieved success, as two big companies—one American and the other Brazilian—in the coffee business expressed interest in importing Yemeni coffee, with each company having signed business agreements with the Al-Kabous Company.
Perhaps as a result of criticism levied at the American government’s strong focus on counterterrorism efforts in Yemen, Washington has recently been perceived as making efforts to improve the state of Yemen’s economy.