AWC has five members in Yemen and works also with non-member organizations.
AWC monitors the policies and activities of the following International Financial Institutions (IFSs) in Yemen:
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Yemen first joined the IMF as the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen in 1969. The Yemeni government got its first loan from the IMF in 1996 Since then, Yemen received 7 loans from the IMF.
Since 2004, the IMF has been assessing the Yemeni economy periodically. This assessment is known as Article IV Consultation in reference to the article number 4 in the IMF’s Articles of Agreement that established the IMF’ surveillance role.
World Bank Group (WBG)
Yemen joined the WBG in 1969. Throughout the years the bank invested in 240 projects in the Yemen public sector. As of October 2020, the Bank has in Yemen, and six projects in the pipeline (under preparation).
The International Finance Corporation, -the arm of the World Bank Group that invests in private sector- has 7 active and 3 pending projects in Yemen as of September 2020.
The World Bank has a Country Engagement Strategy for Yemen, covering the period of 2020-2021
The European Investment Bank (EIB)
Yemen’s fall under Asia and Latin America in EIB’s regional categorization. EIB’s priorities in the Asia region are the energy sector, smaller businesses and sustainable transport, with a particular focus on climate change adaptation and mitigation. It has allocated a $1.1 billion financing ceiling in Asia for the current mandate of 2014-2020.
The EIB’s website does not offer country specific data for this category. This greatly impacts transparency and civil society’s ability to get information, monitor and hold accountable EIB’s work in Yemen and the region’s countries.
Main issues that AWC focus on in Yemen
The last decade for Yemen has been characterized by an ongoing civil war. The war has ravaged the country, as more than 24 million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, 12 million of them are children. A cholera epidemic on the rise, with more than a million cases since 2018.
Yemen was and still is, the poorest country in the MENA region, as even before the civil war, the country suffered heavily from poverty, where reaching 35% in 2005/06.
Yemen could arguably be a prime example of IFIs worsening a country’s situation by not taking into consideration the effects of programs/conditions on the population. It is evidenced by mainly two things:
The IMF 1995 Yemen privatization program. Instead of acting as a revenue source for the state, it became an opportunity for corrupt state officials to embezzle public money and property. It also opened the door for an unholy alliance of between politics and capital that hindered the country for the coming decades.
The second analysis is the timing of the 2010 austerity IMF imposed austerity measures such as cutting fuel subsidies and applying a new 5% general sales tax law, in time when Yemen already new a Hirak since 2007 and a prior rioting in 2005 because of same IMF fuel subsidies cutting conditions.
AWC activities in Yemen
On the 21rd of July, Yemeni civil society representatives, including our members and partners, sent an appeal to the World Bank board of directors asking them to Cancel Yemen debt and help saving the country. AWC supported this demand in solidarity with the Yemeni people who are suffering for years to be able to have a decent life.
AWC, and its Yemeni members and partners, are monitoring closely the IMF, WB and other IFIs loans and their conditionality in Yemen. As well as the special programs and projects that aim at easing the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
AWC partnered with “Yemen Observatory for Human Rights” to monitor and analyze the impacts of the World Bank’s Yemen COVID-19 Response Project. This program aims to help Yemen face the challenges of the Covid19 pandemic.