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Yemen's Stability Improved Beyond Measure

Date: 11/8/00
Time: 2:34:17 AM
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Yemen's Stability Improved Beyond Measure

Political and economic stability has improved beyond measure in Yemen since 1994. That was the view expressed by Britain's retiring Ambassador to Yemen, Mr. Douglas Sorafton, who told an evidence of British and Yemeni businessmen: ''It is almost impossible to believe the changes I have witnessed in this time.''

Mr. Sorafton was addressing the Investment Finance for Yemen Symposium at DTI conference center, London, on 18 September. This was organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the committee of Middle East Trade COMET. There were three other speakers. The symposium was preceded in the morning by a Roundtable held by COMET. Reception: Following both events was an evening reception organized jointly by the British Council and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). This features a British Council exhibition on Yemenis in Britain as the start of six-week festival Yemen today. Welcoming guest was Sir John Hanson, Director-General of the British Council. Distinguished visitors at the reception, who attended the earlier meetings, included Yemen's Minister of Culture... and Ambassador to Britain, as well as Britain's Ambassador to Yemen, Mr. Henderson.

Symposium: At the afternoon's Symposium, lending to Yemen and prospects for investment through Yemen's privatization program were the subjects of presentation from, respectively, Basiel Hamwi (International Finance Corporation and World Bank) and Peter Young (Adam Smith Institute, London). Philipe Thorne (Yeminvest) brought the audience up to date with progress on the Aden Free Zone Development Project, which Yeminvest is overseeing. Although response from Saudi Arabian and Yemeni Bank was good regretted that there was only a lukewarm response from the western business community. Speakers at the Symposium also stressed the importance of publicizing the availability of the Yemen Free Zone and it's facilities. This could be done partly through the establishment of a '' one-stop shop'' through which all information in the Free Zone could be funneled. British businessmen were urged to go and look for themselves, because other countries, including the United States and Germany, were already sending trade missions.

Roundtable: Earlier in the day, at COMET'S British/Yemen Roundtable, Mr. Thorne had stressed the advantages for British business of Yemen's workforce who, he stressed, ''work hard; they are good''. He described unemployment in Aden, where the Free Zone operate, as high, which made for a low cost labor force. Praise for Yemen progress economically and politically since 1994 also came from Barbara Roch, for Small Businesses, who opened the Roundtable. She congratulated the Yemen government on it's achievement working along side the World Bank parliamentary reforms and elections. ____________________________ Issued on behalf of: Overseas Trade Services

Last changed: September 15, 2002