New Prime Minister Appointed in Yemen Amid Formidable Economic Challenges

Sheba Intelligence | 2024-02-06 10:54 AM


Yemen's UN-recognised government named Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak the new prime minister on Monday amid rising economic challenges, including the continued depreciation of the national currency.

A decree issued on Monday by Yemen's Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) announced bin Mubarak's appointment as premier and assigned the outgoing prime minister as a presidential adviser.

The move comes after rising concerns about the economic situation in Yemen and the continued deterioration of public services such as water and electricity in government-controlled areas.

Despite the Yemeni government committees to address the riyal's recent decline, no tangible result has been achieved. Lately, the Yemeni riyal broke a record of 1,630 per dollar, moving closer to its all-time low of 1,700 in government-controlled areas.

The decline of the riyal has raised the cost of basic commodities such as rice, wheat, petrol, and transportation, prompting protests in Aden, Al-Mukalla, and other cities under the government's control.

The Aden-based government has repeatedly blamed the money black-market for the currency's depreciation and blamed the Houthis for the cessation of oil exports after their attacks on oil terminals in South Yemen in October 2022.

Late last month, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Aden appealed to the leadership of the Arab coalition to support Yemen's national currency and end the deterioration of the Yemeni riyal and its repercussions on the livelihood of citizens.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Aden indicated that poverty and hunger have hit most families, and citizens have reached the point where they are no longer able to secure their need for food.

With these economic challenges, the PLC seeks solutions. Appointing a new prime minister may help bring some solutions.

After the PLC announced his appointment, Bin Mubarak said, "Today, I assume this position with the will and determination to achieve tangible results in the lives of every Yemeni man and woman. I am aware of the suffering our honorable people are going through and the sacrifices they have made and are still making in their battle to end the [Houthi] coup, restore the state, and win the values of the Republic of Yemen and its authentic national democratic principles."

Political observers say the new prime minister will face multiple challenges, particularly the continued escalation of the southern separatists and the unceasing Houthi attempts to advance toward government-controlled areas and the group's attacks on shipping lanes in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

According to the political observers, the appointment of bin Mubarak to head the government indicates Saudi Arabia's stronger role in the Yemeni file and a decline of the UAE's influence. The outgoing prime minister used to have good relations with the two countries, but according to observers, he was more prone to follow the Emirati agendas.

In August last year,  the government approved a draft agreement to establish a joint Yemeni-Emirati telecommunications company. The Yemeni Parliament rejected that agreement and called for its abolishment. A  member of the Presidential Leadership Council, Othman Mujali, demanded that Prime Minister Muaeen Abdulmalik and other government officials be referred for investigation for being involved in corruption cases and suspicious agreements that affect Yemen's sovereignty.