Interviewed by: Hakim Almasmari
Explain to us the goals of Silatech for Yemen in specific?
Yemen was selected at the summit last year as one of the first pilot countries for Silatech and the decision was made because we thought there are strong potential partners from the side of the government, the private sector and civil society in Yemen, and that Silatech could work to develop programs for young people.
How would Yemeni youth benefit from Silatech?
Yemeni youth can benefit in a number of ways. We are very excited about this conference and we have launched five projects for Yemen which focus on access to finance, small enterprise training and job creation. So, all of these will benefit young people.
Will the training on finance, small enterprise, etc be given free of charge to Yemenis?
The Yemeni youth will be involved in this, and they will have access to these products either completely free of charge or there would be small costs associated with it.
Who will they have to contact in Yemen?
The projects we have agreed on are with a number of partners. They are with Youth Leadership Development Forum, an NGO based in Sana’a and these will be provided on entrepreneurship training. We will be working with Al-Amal Bank for a youth microfinance fund; we will be working with the Small Enterprise Development Fund, also in Sana’a for an enterprise development learning program. The fourth project which probably many people in Sana’a will know about by now is Al-Rayan Hills which is a major realistic project. They will be developing a large scale construction program.
Only a small number of Arab nations are present here in Doha for the summit, why is that?
Silatech was launched last year with six pilot countries, so the focus this year is on highlighting the progress made in these six pilot countries and the plan is Silatech will expand to all 22 Arab states, but we want to demonstrate the success of projects in these six countries, then we scale up across the region.
What were the benefits from Salitech for Yemen last year?
Last year, Silatech was in the building and organizing process.
During the entire year?
Basically, the last year we did research of the situation and partnership building and of really understanding the situation in Yemen for young people. Based on that, we have developed these five programs and activities. It was a year of planning, research and partnership.
Yemen has the highest unemployment rate in the region; will it be given extra attention?
This is one of the reasons we included Yemen as one of the pilot countries and we absolutely see Yemen as a critical partner in the Silatech initiative. Very soon you will see that programs we are developing for Yemen not only focus on Yemen itself, but how Yemen can be linked to GCC countries; e.g. the training scheme of construction skills, we are training young Yemenis for projects in Yemen but the idea, skills, and training that Yemenis get will be relevant for them to go and get work in the GCC. So, we think of Yemen in the context of the wider region.