IFAD in Yemen

IFAD has been financing development initiatives in Yemen since 1979. Yemen was one of the first countries to receive financing from the organization. To date IFAD has financed 22 development programmes and projects in Yemen, with a total of US$232.9 million in loans. The total cost of these programmes and projects, including co-financing, is US$232.9 million. 


Early IFAD-funded initiatives supported the country's development strategy, promoting crop intensification in the most suitable areas and building institutional capacity, as well as promoting the fisheries sector. The primary goal was to improve food security. Later programmes and projects addressed the isolation and marginalization of poor rural people and their exclusion from the benefits of economic activities. Since 2010 IFAD has begun to focus explicitly on the creation of economic and employment opportunities for the rural poor by whilst maintaining a focus on community mobilisation and strengthening of producer's organisations, improving the management of natural resources and building resilience.


There are six on-going IFAD-funded programmes and projects in Yemen. Their goal is to empower poor rural people to achieve improved diversified and sustainable livelihoods. They are largely focused on the poorest, most marginalized parts of the country, particularly rugged, mountainous zones and remote coastal areas. These programmes and projects, such as the Dhamar Participatory Rural Development Project, and the Al-Dhala Community Resource Management Project, are investing in participatory rural development and resource management, rain-fed agriculture and livestock, and social and economic services for poor rural women and men.

More recent initiatives, such as the Economic Opportunities Programme and the Fisheries Investment Project have focused on rural financial services, economic infrastructure, and value chain development, in particular targeting coffee, honey, horticulture and fisheries. In 2010 the country programme reached 450,000 poor rural people.


A key innovation supported by the current country programme has been the establishment of the Economic Opportunities Fund (EOF). The EOF is a Yemeni public-private partnership with a mission to improve the economic status of poor women and men in rural areas. The EOF is currently managing the Economic Opportunities Programme and the Fisheries Investment Project and it is envisaged that it will gradually scale-up its operations and take on responsibility for the management of additional projects and programmes and financial resources. It has been founded on the basis of cost recovery and sustainability and has a private sector orientation, with a strong emphasis on partnerships and corporate social responsibility. The EOF will also make equity investments in microfinance institutions and small and medium rural businesses, as well as operating a refinancing facility, and will use the income from its investments to gradually cover its own costs.  

IFAD has forged strong partnerships in Yemen, working with the Government, the European Union, the World Bank's International Development Association Bank, and Islamic Development Bank amongst others.


IFAD's strategy in Yemen


IFAD's current Country Strategic Opportunities Programme (COSOP) for Yemen covers the period from 2008 to 2013. Its aim is to integrate IFAD's programme into the country's poverty reduction strategies and plans for development. The strategic objectives are aligned with the Millennium Development Goals and with Yemen's national poverty reduction strategy and rural development strategy, as well as with IFAD's own Strategic Framework .


The key strategic objectives of the Yemen COSOP are:

  • Empower rural communities
  • Promote sustainable rural financial services and pro-poor rural small and medium-sized enterprises
  • Enhance the food security of poor households.

All of the organization's initiatives work towards achieving direct participation of the target group, have a strong focus on women's empowerment and the mainstreaming of gender issues and promote environmental sustainability and climate proofing of rural livelihoods.

Source: IFAD