Press Releases

IFC Helps Simplify and Improve Building Permit Procedures in Yemen

In Cairo:
  Thomas Moullier
  Phone: + 20 10 250 87 18

Sana’a, December 5, 2007—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, recently concluded a three-day workshop that discussed ways to help simplify building permit procedures in Yemen and reduce the time and cost for businesses.  The workshop was organized in partnership with the country’s Public Works Ministry. It is part of the Business Start-Up Simplification Project in Yemen, which is being implemented by IFC Advisory Services in the Middle East and North Africa - PEP-MENA.

The workshop, which focused on current laws and regulations that govern building permit procedures, identified key issues that hinder the process of obtaining licenses and permits. It was also aimed at helping the ministry develop new building regulations that conform to international standards. The workshop asked the public and private sectors to come up with recommendations to improve the regulatory environment for businesses and encourage local and foreign investments.

Dr. Abdulmalek Al-jolahy, Yemen’s First Deputy Minister, said, “IFC’s assistance complements the broader assistance from the World Bank Group to create a better urban planning development strategy at the national level, which also fits well into the government’s new agenda for reform. This should help improve the investment climate for local and international investors.”

Thomas Moullier, IFC Program Manager for Business Enabling Environment, noted, "We are seeing great momentum in Yemen for developing better standards and implementing a more transparent and efficient building permit system. This is in line with the government’s broader objective of attracting more investment into the country."

Yemen’s economic growth has been strong, with an average GDP of 5.8 percent from 1995 to 2003. In recent years the government has carried out a series of critical reforms geared to strengthening the country’s private sector.  However, according to the Doing Business Report 2008, published jointly by IFC and the World Bank, Yemen ranks 113 out of 178 countries on the ease of doing business, and 175 on the ease of starting a business. The country has an advantageous geographic position, with good deep-sea ports and excellent mineral resources, but most enterprises remain hidden in the informal sector, with limited growth potential. The government is trying to address these challenges through improved legislation. It is also attempting to simplify business services through the General Investment Authority of Yemen.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through loan participations and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit