WGS 2023: Brain drain a major problem, don't wait for peace to support country, Yemeni Prime Minister says

Removing the subsidies from fuel was one among many difficult decisions that the government needed to make, he said


Lamya Tawfik

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Published: Tue 14 Feb 2023, 3:22 PM

Last updated: Tue 14 Feb 2023, 3:45 PM

“Geographically Yemen is part of the region, and we have the right to look forward to a better future. We have to overcome the effect of the war and we can do that with the support of GCC countries,” the Yemeni Prime Minister said on Tuesday, while saying that the way to save Yemen is to support it and not wait for peace first.

Dr. Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, Prime Minister, Republic of Yemen told attendees at the World Government Summit that over the last ten years Yemen went through hard times which included a war and the global pandemic. “Times were harder in the past but now, we are in a critical stage,” he said, adding, “How do we build a government with weak institutions?"

How do we get from fragility to stability?

He said that the support from brethren countries is important, and that Yemen fell a few times, but it didn’t collapse thanks to countries who support it. “The budget has shrunk greatly. We reached an 80 per cent deficit, and the central bank was in difficulty,” he said adding that the situation is different now with a central bank and financial administration and the deficit shrunk to 54 per cent to 35 per cent to 15 per cent in September 2022.

“If it weren’t for reform and our resilience we would have completely collapsed. But our ability to be resilient is being depleted. Salaries are at their lowest, the purchasing power is in a dire situation. We have 8,900 schools and more than 2 million students but there is the war generation. We are far away from the numbers that we had before 2011,” said Dr. Maeen.

He said that today, the aim of the national coalition government is to stay away from internal conflict and to focus on one goal which is saving the Yemeni people. “We have short-term and long-term plans when it comes to supporting energy and other services. Supporting people is essential not just political support,” he told attendees.

He said that in the past when we spoke to the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, he told him that he has no capital to spend on the energy sector and that he needed electricity for hospitals. “He told me don’t go backwards when it comes to energy, and to think differently, within days there was a team working on a 120 megawatts solar park in Aden in collaboration with Masdar,” he said adding, “We tried to think differently These are the projects that could help the country.”

Removing the subsidies from fuel was one of the difficult decisions that the government needed to make but a necessary one, he said. “In Yemen education is free and important. In some areas some students have stopped going to university because they couldn’t afford transportation. We needed to do it because without strong supervision support turns into a black hole,” he said.

He emphasised the importance of education and said that as the militias were destroying universities new ones were being built. “What concerns us know is quality of education. Brain drain is a real problem, professors are leaving. Before the war the average salary for university professors was $1,300 today its $300, we can’t retain professors with this salary,” he said.


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