This post is also available in: Arabic
After Houthi rebels consolidated their control of Sana’a, and placed President Abd Rabbu Hadi under house arrest in the first few weeks of 2015, the Bank quickly began conducting a review in accordance with Operational Policy (OP) 7.30 – its policy on dealing with de facto governments – to determine whether or not it could continue to make disbursements for existing loans or if it could extend new loans to Yemen given the Houthi takeover and disruption of government. The purpose of OP 7.30 is to assess whether or not the Bank has a counterpart in government to work with, if due diligence can be performed on Bank projects, if the legal structures and obligations are still in place, and whether or not the de facto government has control of the entire territory of the country where the Bank operates, among other factors. Once the review was completed, the Bank concluded and announced in March 2015 that the “situation in Yemen had deteriorated to the degree that the Bank was unable to exercise effective management over its projects” and that it had suspended operations in the country as a result.
Meanwhile, Sandra Bloemenkamp has replaced Wael Zakout as Yemen’s Country Manager and is starting her tenure in this position from the Bank’s Cairo office where much of the Yemen team is operating from while the Sana’a office remains closed.
As Bank staff monitor the situation in Yemen closely, they are spending this time focusing on analytical work, and preparing the preliminary groundwork for a Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD). This SCD would feed into a country-wide strategy the Bank will develop for its operations once it re-engages in the country. That strategy might take the form of a full-fledged Country Partnership Framework, but it may also take the form of a Country Engagement Note (CEN) – a shorter term version of a Country Partnership Framework that is produced when the Bank is unable to develop a medium term program, often in countries coming out of conflict.