In Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world, a civil war between the internationally recognised government and the Huthis has been going on for eight years. The ceasefire that came into effect in April 2022 is the longest period of calm since the war began in 2014. Large parts of the infrastructure have been destroyed by the acts of war, and it is estimated that more than 350,000 people have lost their lives. A state capable of acting does not exist in many places. Around 80% of the population lives below the poverty line. There is a lack of doctors and clean drinking water, food is expensive. Acute malnutrition threatens half of all children under the age of five - and the global supply crisis makes the situation even more difficult.
On behalf of the German Federal Government, KfW Development Bank is supporting the country with the aim of promoting peace and laying the foundations for reconstruction. Measures are implemented in the following areas through non-governmental funds and UN organisations:
Even before the outbreak of the civil war, only half of the population in rain-scarce Yemen (150 m³ per capita per year) had safe access to water. The scarce groundwater resources are overexploited, due in particular to excessive agricultural irrigation (especially for the cultivation of cat). At the same time, there is a high dependence on food imports, as the country's own production only covers a small part of the demand, especially for wheat. In order to improve access to drinking water and make the use of water and agricultural production more efficient, KfW is implementing measures in the area of water and irrigation through the Social Fund for Development (SFD), UNICEF and FAO.
Even before the civil war, Yemen had only a rudimentary health system: There was just one doctor for every 3,000 inhabitants, and in rural areas only 25% of the people received medical care. This has precarious consequences, especially for mother-child health. Yemen has one of the highest birth rates in the world: on average, a woman has between six and seven children. Infant mortality is one of the highest in the world. About half of the children under five are underweight. On behalf of the German Federal Government, KfW is therefore promoting voucher programmes for prenatal care and safe deliveries as well as advisory services on family planning in cooperation with the Yemeni non-governmental organisation Yamaan. In addition, UNOPS receives funds through KfW for the nationwide rehabilitation of hospitals and isolation wards.
Only two thirds of Yemeni adults can read and write. Among women, this proportion is even below 50%. Only just under half of the girls complete primary school. In addition to the already existing structural problems in the Yemeni education sector, there are also the consequences of the civil war: acts of war and a lack of resources for maintenance are destroying the school infrastructure. Through SFD and UNICEF, KfW is financing the construction, rehabilitation and equipping of schools and learning centres, the provision of learning materials and training for teaching staff to enable children to attend school and receive a quality education.
The reconstruction of the country requires an efficient private sector that generates employment opportunities for the young population and thus contributes to poverty reduction. To this end, KfW promotes the microfinance sector through the SFD and thus creates sustainable access to financial services for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
KfW has been active in Yemen for over 50 years and works closely with German technical cooperation (GIZ) and European partners. KfW has no longer been represented by international staff in Sana'a since the end of 2013 for security reasons. In order to nevertheless ensure high-quality project implementation on the ground, comprehensive third-party monitoring has been developed.