Persian Gulf countries should adopt a plan similar to the Marshall Plan with regards to Yemen. This is both a moral and a national security requirement. With the assistance of the United States, Europe and Japan, the plan would set development as a priority and put in place a mechanism for its implementation in the next ten years.
Gulf countries have given generously to Yemen in the last decades. However, what is needed is for regional development funds to cooperate and establish a common plan instead of providing individual aid and loans. These contributions should then be channeled through one large fund with specific goals and mechanisms, as agreed by Gulf countries and other donor countries.
This plan would represent one of the guarantees of national security in the region and spare the area from the problems Yemen might suffer from due to huge economic pressure, poverty, illiteracy and extremism.
The Yemeni government would then need to take steps towards financial reform, end the loss of public funds, limit outlandish spending on military equipment and create an attractive environment for foreign private investors. This would act as a second pillar for development, in addition to the proposed fund.
Foreign investors in Yemen have repeatedly complained that, despite adequate foreign investment laws, real difficulties exist in the implementation and in dealing with the government bureaucracy in Sanaa, as well as problems with corruption and bribery.
An independent body, possibly affiliated to the highest authority in government, has to be set up to assist foreign investors overcome these obstacles and to protect them from government bureaucracy, routine and blackmail.
Sanaa needs to realize that no one can be more Yemeni than the Yemenis themselves and that without political and economic reform and without the adequate setting for development and foreign investment, no outsider is able to reform the country.
A Gulf Marshall Plan is worthy of discussion and examination; it would pave the way for regional stability and serve everyone’s interest. It is important not to suffice ourselves with worrying about Yemen. We need to participate in the creation of a positive and humane environment for a sisterly neighbor.