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Private sector and economic experts call for dialogue between relevant parties and shipping lines to mitigate the repercussions of Red Sea events on Yemen's economic and humanitarian conditions

 Representatives of the private sector and INGOs in Yemen called for dialogue between the relevant parties and international shipping lines to mitigate the repercussions of Red Sea events on Yemen's economic and humanitarian conditions, and to keeping aside the economic dossier from country's conflict adversely affecting the livelihoods of Yemeni.

The participants of the Webinar entitled “The current events on the Red Sea and Aden Gulf, and their repercussions on the humanitarian and economic conditions in Yemen”, call for activate the Private Sector’ role, as a key partner, in shaping solutions for Yemen’s economic problems. This Webinar was organized by the Economic Reform Team (ERT), and the Businessmen Club in Aden, in partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE).

At the Webinar opening, the chairman of ERT, Ahmed Bazara, talked about the importance of discussing the consequences of the events in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden from a humanitarian and economic viewpoint. Bazara aslo reviewed the ERT’s efforts over the past decade to provide many insights and policies aimed at improving economic policies, particularly regarding national currency, transport challenges and others.

The chairman of the Businessmen Club in Aden, Ali Al-Habashi, spoke at the Webinar on the costs of shipping through the Red Sea and the delay in the arrival of containers and its impact on traders, as the most significant dilemma created by events in the Red Sea, not to mention difficulties in exporting fish abroad.

Al-Habashi stressed that Yemen's private sector is a coherent entity to date, and Yemen's businessmen are thinking with one voice about creating a dialogue between the private sector, the relevant parties and the international community while stressing that the consequences of the events in the Red Sea on Yemen are a humanitarian issue with a moral and humanitarian dimension, making  people's interests and livelihoods the most important issue to be addressed.

Al-Habashi suggested to intensify the exerted efforts to stop the war causing all economic problems. He also proposed dialogue with shipping lines on commercial programs and risks and dialogue with the region and advocacy for the humanitarian issue in Yemen.

Dr. Youssef Saeed, an academist and economist, addressed the importance to prevent practices harmful to the economy and the private sector, such as internally financial levies, and to press for accountability of violators of international humanitarian law, as well as the need for increased State interventions in infrastructure, electricity, water and sanitation, road rehabilitation and increased investment.

On the humanitarian implications, Dr. Saeed Hersi - Deputy Head of Office - United Nations OCHA, revealed a strong focus on raising the level of humanitarian support in partnership with the international community and local partners, raising the quality of targeting and ensuring that assistance goes to those in need, looking at the humanitarian or developmental context, programming development and service interventions, and not limited to purely humanitarian action.

He also noted the importance of focusing on strengthening the resilience of families and communities, noting that there were some encouraging partnerships, using available resources, and operationalizing accountability. Dr. Hersi urges all relevant parties, including donor and international community, to unite efforts in Yemen regrading humanitarian aspect.

He underestimated implications of the designation the Houthis, as a terrorist group, for humanitarian operations in Yemen, stressing that the United Nations will continue its humanitarian programs.

For his part, the Senior Adviser of the HSA Group and its partners, and a member of the ERT, Mazen Aman, called for the need to focus on the issue of currency devaluation, because it is the basis for many of the above-mentioned challenges faced by the private sector. He also pointed out that any reforms at both the State and private sector levels will achieve nothing as long as there is a devaluation in the value of the local currency, as its impact on citizens and the private sector is significant.

Aman also considered Yemen's ports to be one of the most expensive even before the current crisis due to the tension in the region for years, and there are no direct shipping lines to Yemeni ports.  “And despite Yemenis' weak purchasing power, the private sector has faced the problem of multiplying the insurance costs often incurred by citizens”, he added.

Aman added: In recent years, Yemen's private sector has proven to have experienced a major challenge and proved to be flexible in absorbing pressures and maintaining basic commodities for citizens, compared to other countries. Noting that, if these economic challenges continued, without international support funding, the crisis would be doubled, and the private sector may not be able to afford such challenges.

And regarding webinar’s participants remarks, the chairman of Aden chamber of commerce, Abu Bakr Baobeid, said there is a need to continue, and increase, paying salaries to public employees that may mitigate the repercussions of the recent events in the Red Sea.

The chairman of the Studies and Economic Media Center, Mustafa Nasr, proposed the creation of a fund to provide insurance in hard currencies; to alleviate the rise in shipping lines insurance to Yemen.

Participants in the Webinar recommended holding of an urgent dialogue between Yemeni stakeholders on economic and humanitarian matters with international shipping companies and federations to develop solutions and procedures to mitigate shipping costs to Yemen's ports, organize shipping schedules and facilitate its procedures in cooperation with various authorities.

At the conclusion of the Webinar, they called for addressing the continuing escalation in the cost of maritime insurance for goods going to Yemen, where it was proposed to establish a fund funded by regional and international parties to address the risks of maritime transport and to contribute to reducing the cost of maritime insurance.

Participants proposed several important alternatives to improve the shipping process, including the creation of a local alternative to the shipping process between Yemen's major ports so that a maritime fleet is hire or established to doing so.

They also recommended that many of the visions and recommendations of the ERT on currency consolidation and reducing the devaluation of the Yemeni currency should be reintroduced under the Monetary Policy Consolidation Initiative in Yemen, as well as the initiative to address transport problems.

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