World Bank and United Nations Office for Project Services Sign Solar Project to Restore Electricity to Over One Million Yemenis

Supported by the World Bank, solar system stations to pump water, rehabilitating water tanks & chlorinating water. (Photo: UNICEF/Malak Shaher)

Washington, April 27, 2018 - The World Bank and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) signed an agreement today for a US$50 million project to improve access to electricity in rural and peri-urban areas in Yemen. The Yemen Emergency Electricity Access Project will be funded by a grant form IDA — the World Bank fund for the world’s poorest countries — and implemented by UNOPS.

The agreement was signed at World Bank headquarters in Washington by the World Bank Country Director for Yemen, Egypt, and Djibouti, Dr. Asad Alam, and Bana Kaloti, the UNOPS Director for the Middle East Region

The three-year project aims to restore electricity supply to 1.4 million Yemenis (200,000 households), 400 health facilities and 800 schools. The project will also strengthen the existing solar market in Yemen through targeted financing to the private sector which will expand its reach to the poor and vulnerable. Working with the Yemeni private sector will help create hundreds of jobs.

"Electricity blackouts affect every aspect of life in Yemen," said Dr. Asad Alam, World Bank Group Country Director for Yemen Egypt, and Djibouti. "This innovative operation will bring power to schoolchildren, patients and healthcare professionals, and poor families in Yemen."

Solar power has proved to be the most immediate solution for severe energy shortages throughout Yemen. A booming solar industry has developed since the beginning of the crisis, employing thousands of Yemenis and providing basic electricity services in a situation with few alternatives. But the high cost of the products still represents a barrier for the poor and most vulnerable.

"We look forward to supporting our partners in the World Bank in implementing this important project and building on joint efforts in support of the people of Yemen," said Ms. Bana Kaloti, Director for the Middle East Region.

With this new financing, IDA emergency grants to Yemen issued since July 2016 have totaled US$1.22 billion.