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Moving forward with optimism

President George W. Bush welcomes Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh into the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2005

The Middle Eastern state is cooperating with the U.S. to encourage private sector involvement in its aims to alleviate poverty and kick-start its economy

Yemen needs an influx of foreign aid and investment, largely from the private sector, to battle security issues and increase educational opportunities for its citizens, top Yemeni officials said.

While the United States is collaborating with the Middle Eastern state, situated between Saudi Arabia and Somalia, on security issues, the Yemeni government would like to see the two countries strengthen economic ties.

“America is a very important partner in Yemen’s development, both directly and indirectly,” stated Abubaker Al-Qirbi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.

“The US encourages international organizations and other donors to provide assistance, and it is in this aspect that its role in Yemen’s progress is consequential.”

Al-Qirbi wants Americans to play a stronger part in the economic development of Yemen, which he believes will be more effective in the war on terror. “The results of investment and development can be more effective in countering extremism and terrorism.”

Foreign investment is needed in many of the remote areas to stimulate local economies. “It generates employment and reduces poverty and overall dissatisfaction, which extremism is built on,” related Mr. Al-Qirbi.

American president George W. Bush praised Yemen’s president Ali Abdullah Saleh on his re-election. Promoting democratic principles will prove crucial to Yemen’s attractiveness as a recipient of future foreign investment and aid.

Yemen faces the challenge of creating opportunities for its largely young and indigent population. “60% of the population is below the age of 25 years old – it’s a tremendous labor force,” stated Salah Al-Attar, president of the General Investment Authority. “The government cannot generate sufficient employment in the public sector, therefore employment generation should come from the private sector.”