Partnership and Cooperation between Yemen and USA
The United States has a strong and growing partnership with Yemen. It is supporting the Yemeni government and people with a comprehensive strategy to promote the political, economic, and security sector reforms underpinning the country’s Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-brokered political transition initiative. U.S. aid to Yemen is also focused on partnering with the Yemeni government to meet the critical needs of its citizens and address mutual security challenges. The people of Yemen are creating a new political reality with a government that is increasingly responsive, accountable, and capable of addressing urgent needs and building a solid foundation for the country’s long-term development, growth, security, and stability. Since the beginning of Yemen’s transition in November 2011, U.S. assistance to Yemen has totaled more than $800 million. The United States remains committed to supporting the Yemeni people throughout the transition process and beyond.
SUPPORTING THE POLITICAL TRANSITION
The people of Yemen have taken significant steps toward meaningful reform through the country’s ongoing political transition process. As envisioned in the GCC Initiative, Yemen completed a National Dialogue Conference, an inclusive discussion of fundamental questions about the structure of the state and reform of the political system. The outcomes from this conference are guiding decisions on drafting a new constitution, the next step toward concluding the transition with national elections. In coordination with the international community, the United States is providing over $40 million to support Yemen’s transition from National Dialogue implementation to constitutional reform and elections. A key focus of this aid is supporting the efforts of Yemeni women and youth to ensure their voices and perspectives contribute to Yemen’s transition. Building on the success of the National Dialogue, the United States remains firmly committed to supporting Yemen as it continues to achieve meaningful reform, including through:
- Constitutional Reform and Referendum: The United States provides technical assistance to the drafting committee on comparative constitutional law, and facilitates the Yemeni government’s and constitutional drafting committee’s engagement with the Yemeni public and civil society, civic awareness and advocacy campaigns, monitoring, and consultation with Yemeni and international legal experts.
- Elections: To help Yemen achieve its goal of a credible, fair electoral process, The United States is partnering with Yemen’s Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum, civil society, and political parties to implement a new biometric voter registry, support election-day operations, conduct civic education and get-out-the vote activities, and undertake elections monitoring.
- Southern Issues: To address the grievances of southern Yemenis, the United States supports southern participation in transitional processes, from the National Dialogue through national elections; civic engagement, especially among youth; and efforts to assist the Yemeni government in improving the delivery of vital services to southerners. The United States currently supports $22 million in activities focused on improving southern service delivery.
STANDING WITH THE PEOPLE OF YEMEN
While Yemen tackles issues of fundamental political reform, it continues to cope with serious economic and social challenges affecting the everyday lives of all Yemenis. Greater investment in the economic and social wellbeing of the Yemeni people, as well as immediate relief for their urgent humanitarian needs, is providing space to realize the transition’s full potential. The United States has provided approximately $300 million in humanitarian assistance since the beginning of the transition to help address the needs of the most vulnerable populations in Yemen, including displaced and conflict-affected Yemenis and refugees from the Horn of Africa, through the United Nations Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan and other humanitarian actors. This includes food and nutrition assistance, shelter and basic relief items, access to clean water and health care, among other types of assistance. The United States remains committed to helping the most vulnerable in Yemen.
The United States is also helping to advance Yemeni government efforts in the areas of economic reform, growth and development. U.S. programs help create economic opportunities for the Yemeni people, assist the Yemeni government in its efforts to improve the delivery of social services, and promote the institutional and policy reforms that will set Yemen on a more sustainable path. It has allocated more than $185 million toward these endeavors since the beginning of the transition, and remains committed to supporting economic growth and development going forward, including $30 million to Yemen’s Social Welfare Fund to help mitigate the impact of critical economic reform measures on assist Yemen’s poorest citizens. The United States also supports efforts to create private-sector economic opportunities to facilitate inclusive growth, while helping the government to improve basic service delivery and transparent administration of public funds. Examples include:
- Creating Jobs: The United States is contributing to job creation and capacity-building of local communities through demand-driven work force development training, small-scale infrastructure rehabilitation, micro-finance and small enterprise support, and agriculture development. Efforts will address both the challenges of revitalizing businesses, as well as competitiveness issues inhibiting business growth and development. The focus will be on workers, entrepreneurs, and new and existing productive entities.
- Improving Education and Health: In partnership with the Ministry of Education, the U.S. has successfully piloted an innovative reading program for children in 381 schools in Yemen, which has dramatically boosted reading ability. It is also working with Yemen’s Health Ministry to improve primary health care, child and maternal health services, and disease surveillance.
- Reforming Governance and Policy: The United States is partnering with the international community to help Yemen implement its reform commitments as agreed to in the Mutual Accountability Framework. It is also supporting an Executive Bureau that will accelerate the disbursement of donor pledges while increasing transparency and accountability.
SUPPORTING YEMENI SECURITY
Yemen is a strong counterterrorism partner and the country’s security and stability also provide a foundation for sustainable reform. To this end, the United States has allocated more than $275 million since the beginning of the transition to build the counterterrorism capacity of Yemeni security forces, as well as to strengthen civilian law enforcement and judicial institutions. In coordination with the international community, the U.S. is also actively supporting Yemen’s military and security sector reorganizations.
- Counterterrorism Capacity Building: To enhance Yemen’s ability to conduct counterterrorism operations, The United States is providing training and equipment to help improve the Yemeni military’s special operations, air, maritime, and command and control capabilities. Additional training and equipment help its Yemeni law enforcement partners improve investigations, border security, and critical infrastructure protection. The U.S. is also providing training and equipment to enhance Yemeni aviation security.
- Countering Violent Extremism: These programs train Yemeni government and civil society partners in how to design and implement public awareness-raising activities in communities at risk of radicalization and recruitment.
- Criminal Justice Reform: The United States continues to provide capacity development programs to support Yemen’s criminal justice sector, both to address key gaps in the provision of criminal justice and to promote structural reform within the Yemeni government. It will continue to help the Yemeni government increase its ability to respond to and adjudicate civil disturbances and criminal incidents in an effective and transparent manner, consistent with international standards.
Building stronger bonds between the people of Yemen and the United States is vital to their long-term partnership. Educational exchanges and professional development play a key role in this. Exchanges have brought Yemeni leaders from a variety of fields to the United States to study topics such as women and youth leadership, interfaith dialogue, university administration, disability rights, water resource management, and small business development. Through the Fulbright Program, promising Yemeni students receive scholarships to pursue Master’s degrees, and other scholarship programs provide a year of support for undergraduates and for high school students. The Embassy’s active outreach program directed at alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs helps maintain and strengthen ties with this important group. Recently the Embassy hosted a Yemeni trade delegation that explored business opportunities in alternative energy and water and facilitated Yemen’s participation in a coffee trade show to help rehabilitate Yemen’s historic coffee industry. Through cooperation with local non-profit organizations, the U.S. Embassy in Yemen helped to build the capacity of leaders from civil society organizations so they may pass acquired skills and knowledge on to other organizations in their communities, especially those operating in isolated rural areas. It helped to fund the 2014 Comprehensive Food Security Survey that covered all of Yemen’s 22 governorates to identify those communities most affected by food insecurity and develop strategies to decrease the contributing factors. To expand American educational and cultural outreach in Yemen, the U.S. launched American Spaces in Sana’a, Dhamar, Taiz, Hodeidah and Aden, and plans to open additional American Spaces in other Yemeni cities.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Energy exports generate the majority of Yemen’s governmental revenue. Most U.S. investment in Yemen is in the oil and gas exploration and production sectors. The United States and Yemen have signed a trade and investment framework agreement. The two also have concluded bilateral market access negotiations as part of Yemen’s efforts to accede to the World Trade Organization. The bilateral agreement provides new market access opportunities for U.S. providers of agriculture, goods, and services.
Yemen’s Membership in International Organizations
Yemen and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank. Yemen is in the final stages of its World Trade Organization ascension. Additionally, Yemen is a member of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Yemen also participates in the nonaligned movement; and, although not a member of the GCC, is allowed limited participation in some organizational affairs.
The current U.S. Ambassador to Yemen is Steven H. Fagin.