Yemen: Armed Conflict

Department for International Development written question – answered on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Keith Vaz Keith Vaz Labour, Leicester East

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the conflict in Yemen on that country's economy; and what steps her Department is taking to support economic recovery in that country.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

As Mark Lowcock, the UN Under Secretary General, explained to the UN Security Council on 23 October, Yemen’s recent economic crisis threatens to tip the country into famine, with the Yemeni Riyal losing over 40% of its value from June to October 2018.

The UK led discussions with the US, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates so the Central Bank of Yemen could release $270 million, provided by Saudi Arabia, in letters of credit to support commercial food importers with foreign currency to purchase wheat and other staples for import. These measures have resulted in an appreciation of the Riyal, and prices of staples are starting to decline which means that ordinary Yemenis are more able to buy food that is in the markets.

However, much more remains to be done. We welcome the positive outcomes of consultations in Stockholm and continue to encourage further constructive and urgent engagement on the economy. A political settlement is the only way to bring long-term stability to Yemen and to address the worsening humanitarian crisis.

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