Public-private partnerships support local development solutions in Yemen

A local economic development (LED) package has launched in Marib under UNDP’s strengthening institutional and economic resilience in Yemen (SIERY) Project

June 11, 2024

During the launch of the LED package launch in Marib.

UNDP Yemen / 2024

Beyond the immediate and tragic impacts of Yemen’s protracted crisis, local economic development has been severely set back. Damage to infrastructure including roads, ports and airports has hampered trade and restricted access to essential goods, causing inflation and food insecurity. Further compounding these challenges are the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global cost-of-living crisis, internal displacement requiring durable solutions, and reliance on humanitarian aid. 

While boosting local economic development is a complex and multifaceted task, local authorities play a crucial role in preparing their districts for a Business Enabling Environment (BEE) and encouraging investment by creating an environment that drives economic growth, fosters innovation, and ensures adequate infrastructure. To achieve this however, it is essential to strengthen institutions’ capacities in delivering business development services and sustainable financing.

A window that sustained damage.

UNDP Yemen / 2024

In Marib, local authorities, with support from UNDP’s Strengthening Institutional and Economic Resilience in Yemen (SIERY) Project, are working together with the private sector to enhance local economic development. Following capacity building workshops, the need to strengthen economic prospects was identified by local authorities.

A woman holding a handful of sesame seeds.

UNDP Yemen / 2024

The sesame value chain is a promising economic avenue for Marib, due to the unique soil and climate of the area that accommodate calcium-rich seed growth. Marib has historically been one of Yemen’s leading governorates in harvesting quality sesame crops, which are in high demand regionally and globally for its use in food products, oils, pastes (Tahini), and cosmetics. Developing this value chain in Marib can open new markets and increase export opportunities.

In May 2024, a kick-off workshop was held with local and governorate authorities, banking and private sector representatives, farmers, and economic development experts to discuss the sesame value chain in Marib, and how local authorities can support investment in sesame and local economic development in Marib. Other key points discussed included generating employment opportunities for youth and Internally Displaced Persons, addressing challenges facing sesame farmers, and exploring the role of banks in facilitating local investment.

Dr. Al-Hamalani at the launch of the LED package in Marib.

UNDP Yemen / 2024

Dr. Thekra Al-Hamalani, an economic consultant, businesswoman and one of the researchers of a sesame value chain study, one of the seven value chain studies developed by the SIERY Project, shared; “The crisis and inflation has left a toll on investment opportunities in Yemen. Today, the public and private sector had the opportunity to discuss ways to collaborate to enhance local economic development and the infrastructure needed.”

Dr. Al-Hamalani also underscored the broader social benefits of economic development, stating, "When families’ livelihoods improve, women’s education and access to health services improve too." 

Indeed, research demonstrates that limited economic resources can restrict women’s access to quality healthcare and education opportunities, exacerbating gender disparities.

Dr. Al Hamalani is one of many community members who are passionate about growing local economic development; she has voluntarily offered free business consultancy services, expressing optimism about the project's potential in Marib.

The SIERY Project's support for the sesame value chain in Marib is comprehensive, including capacity building, training, provision of grants, sustainable access to microfinance and enhancing sustainable delivery of business development services. By focusing on these areas, the project aims to create a more robust and resilient local economy, capable of withstanding current challenges and fostering long-term development.

These activities were made possible thanks to the generous funding of the European Union.