Saudi Arabia and World Bank Pledge $300 Million for Yemen

May 11, 2017 Updated: May 11, 2017

Saudi Arabia and the World Bank agreed to commit $300 million towards an aid package that would address Yemen’s immediate food security needs, officials said at a news conference in Riyadh on Wednesday (May 10).

The World Bank suggested a total package of $500 million to finance imports of rice and wheat by Yemeni merchants, said Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan.

It came as the World Bank prepared a draft reconstruction plan to rebuild Yemen’s shattered education, health and electricity infrastructure, but has not yet estimated a total cost, according to the bank’s regional vice president.

Yemen’s war, which pits the Iran—allied Houthi movement and elements of the military against the Saudi—backed internationally recognised government, has largely stalemated in different battlefronts across the country.

 A Yemeni boy walks amid the ruins of a school and a bowling club hit by an air-strike carried out by the Saudi-led coalition, in the capital Sanaa, on Feb. 12. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A Yemeni boy walks amid the ruins of a school and a bowling club hit by an air-strike carried out by the Saudi-led coalition, in the capital Sanaa, on Feb. 12. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and plunged millions more into poverty, while demolishing Yemen’s fragile economy, health system and largely imported food supply. Nearly 17 million of Yemen’s 28 million people are now deemed “food insecure” by aid groups.

A United Nations pledging conference for Yemen last month raised promises of $1.1 billion, about half of what it says is needed this year to head off a famine.