More than 40 countries and organisations pledged $4 billion in aid to Yemen during a donor conference on Wednesday (May 23rd) in Riyadh.
Donor countries and organisations attending the Friends of Yemen conference vowed to provide technical, logistical and financial support to help achieve reconciliation and support reconstruction efforts.
Attendees discussed political, economic, humanitarian and security developments in Yemen and reaffirmed the regional and international commitment to help the transition process and help Yemen overcome the effects of its political conflicts.
According to the closing statement, the donors will support development projects included in the country's two-year transition plan, establish a trust fund and provide aid to Yemen to help it fight terrorism and piracy.
Participants also condemned the Monday (May 21st) attack that left nearly 100 soldiers dead in Sanaa's Sabeen Square, and affirmed their strong commitment to fighting extremism and its roots.
During the conference, Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa addressed the country's deteriorating economic situation and declining growth rates, saying Yemen prepared a programme for 2012-2013 as a short-term plan to revive the economy and stabilise its economic, security, social and political environment.
"Yemen is counting on its brothers and friends to contribute to financing the projects included in the [GCC] plan so Yemen can keep up with the march of progress that is taking place in the world," he said.
Alistair Burt, the British foreign office minister, said that Britain will contribute $44 million in addition to the amount it pledged before the conference.
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said the kingdom pledged $3.25 billion in aid to Yemen.
Dr. Mohammed Saeed al-Saadi, the minister of planning and international co-operation, presented a programme for stability and development, which addressed the successive crises the Yemeni economy faced in recent years and the development challenges.
He said the growth rate of Yemen's gross domestic product (GDP) declined 10.5% in 2011, noting it represents an unprecedented loss in the country's history since its unification in 1990.
The unemployment problem is one of the most serious challenges facing the development process because it undermines the nation's political stability and security, especially since it is concentrated among youth, al-Saadi said.
"The government presented an economic recovery programme that features specific urgent development projects. It identified a funding gap of $10 billion to revive the economy," Abdullah Hassan al-Shater, under-secretary for the ministry of planning and international co-operation for programming projects, told Al-Shorfa.
He welcomed Saudi Arabia's pledged financial assistance.
"In order to avoid the obstacles that arose after the London donor conference in 2006 when donor countries, citing unmet funding conditions, did not honour their pledges, we presented three mechanisms at this conference," al-Shater said.
"The first calls for donors to complete the projects and hand them over to the government, the second calls for a joint mechanism to oversee those projects and the third calls for their implementation by existing executive boards or the establishment of new boards," he said.
Dr. Mohammed Effendi, a former economy minister, told Al-Shorfa the Riyadh conference "affirmed the solidarity among the Friends of Yemen to help it overcome its current circumstances and break out of its bottleneck through a peaceful transition of power by implementing the government's economic recovery programme that was approved by the conference".
The urgent economic recovery plan focuses on restoring basic services to citizens such as electricity, oil derivatives, roads and water, he said.
The next conference meeting will be held September 27-28th concurrent with the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly.