The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved US$400 million in grants for Yemen to address rising rates of malnutrition and to contribute towards maintaining basic health, water and sanitation services for the Yemeni population. Along with the new funding, the Board of Directors also discussed the World Bank Group’s new engagement strategy for Yemen which will remain focused on preserving basic services and the institutions that deliver them, while also supporting livelihoods and economic recovery in preparation for an eventual peace.
The 2020-2021 Yemen Country Engagement Note sets out the strategy for the next two years for how the World Bank Group will deliver effective support to Yemen in the midst of ongoing conflict. Priorities will be preserving institutional capacity, improving service delivery resilience, and providing support to conflict-affected poor and vulnerable Yemenis. The new strategy will also focus on encouraging immediate economic growth by creating temporary jobs and supporting the private sector.
“The World Bank has focused on preserving Yemen’s development gains along with the critical service delivery institutions that Yemenis depend on. This has involved vaccinating 6 million children to ensure that polio which was eradicated does not reappear, and channeling cash transfers though community networks to provide hope and services to millions of Yemenis,” said Marina Wes, World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti. “Working in active conflict poses many risks but the risks associated with inaction are far greater. We will not turn our back on our development mission now when it is most needed, and we will continue working with our partners to preserve the human capital and the critical Yemeni institutions that help people now and will be vital for future recovery”
The new funding announced includes two new grants provided by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for poorest countries:
- A $200 million grant will support the ongoing Yemen Emergency Crisis Response Project, to strengthen the enabling environment for medium-term economic opportunities in Yemen and to address the potential risk of famine and increasing rates of malnutrition; the project operates through supporting well-established national programs. The grant includes $100 million to maintain the delivery of emergency cash transfers to the most vulnerable Yemeni households. Under the program, cash transfers have so far been provided to people across Yemen’s 333 districts, reaching, on average, 1.45 million poor households (about 9 million people).
- A $200 million grant will support the ongoing Yemen Emergency Health and Nutrition Project to help scale up activities to respond to short term health needs, prevention of chronic malnutrition and disease, including cholera and preserve local health systems and staff capacities.
With the newly approved funds, the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, has provided a total of US$1.7 billion in grants to Yemen since 2016. The IDA grants have been able to save lives, in part through the Emergency Health and Nutrition Project, which has reached more than 14.6 million people in all districts of all Yemen’s governorates, and through the Emergency Cash Transfer Program, which aims to ensure vulnerable Yemenis have money to buy food and basic necessities. Under the latter Program, cash transfers have so far been provided to people across Yemen’s 333 districts, reaching, on average, 1.45 million poor households (about 9 million people).
The Bank has built successful partnerships with the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Office for Project Services relying on their extensive field presence in Yemen for the management of the projects. The Bank’s technical experts have worked with these organizations—and with local institutions—to design these projects. The Bank will continue to provide technical expertise to guide the implementation of the projects and ensure they remain responsive to evolving challenges.