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Yemen's economic future: from survival to reconstruction

Time (GMT +00) 14:00 15:30

Contributing chair: 

Nawal Al-maghafi @BBCNawalMaghafi - Journalist and producer, BBC News 


Dr Noel Brehony CMG - Author for Yemen Divided, and Former Chair of British-Yemeni Society

Imran Madden @imranmadden - Director, Islamic Relief UK 

Sherine El Taraboulsi-McCarthy @staraboulsi - Research Fellow, Humanitarian Policy Group, ODI

Baraa Shiban @BShtwtr - Yemeni activist and caseworker, Reprieve UK


As the Yemen crisis enters its fourth year, the scale of protection and humanitarian needs is staggering. Faced with widespread violations of international humanitarian law, the collapse of essential services, rising food prices and a crippling health system unable to handle cholera and diphtheria outbreak, Yemenis are fighting for daily survival amid a devastating war.

To complicate matters, due to the impact of counter-terrorism laws and the growing fear of financing terrorism, European and American banks have implemented ‘de-risking’ measures - such as delaying or closing down financial transactions to Yemeni humanitarian and business communities to minimise money-laundering risks. The adverse effects of de-risking are evident. Humanitarian agencies are unable to access much-needed funds to provide timely food delivery and speedy response to contain the cholera outbreak. The absence of a functioning central bank also means that local businesses are unable to secure letters of credit which in turn, reduces their capacity to trade and even to survive. 

Join us as we launch the Humanitarian Policy Group’s new report on ‘Counter-terrorism, de-risking and the humanitarian response in Yemen: a call for action’. The report highlights the impact of counter-terrorism laws on humanitarian response, explores alternative routes for Yemenis to transfers funds and offers recommendations towards achieving a realistic economic reconstruction plan.  

Panellists discuss, what is the impact of bank-derisking on local Yemenis, humanitarian operations and the private sector? How will Yemen tackle the process of economic recovery? What can humanitarian organisations do to assist during this transition period? 


Nawal Al-Maghafi is an award-winning BBC Correspondent. She has been reporting on the Middle East since 2012. Over the past three years, she has been one of the few journalists conducting firsthand reporting of the ongoing conflict in Yemen; travelling extensively throughout the country, both in areas under Houthi rebel and government control. Her reporting has documented the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen, including the bombing, starvation and spread of disease across Yemen. Her investigation into a 2015 attack on a Yemeni funeral — the deadliest of the conflict so far — provided key evidence in the case against weapons sales to Saudi Arabia by the US and UK. She has travelled across the Middle East to investigate how mass surveillance technology was being used by repressive Gulf states to monitor and stifle dissent by local human rights activists. Her reporting has also uncovered the complicity of the Egyptian army in the booming trade in organ trafficking across North Africa.

Dr Noel Brehony CMG has been following events in Yemen since his posting to Aden in the 1970s. He is the author of Yemen Divided ( which a history of the PDRY) 2011, editor of Hadhramaut and its Diaspora ( 2017) and co-editor of Rebuilding Yemen ( 2015), He was chair of the British-Yemeni Society 2010-2015. He is chair of Menas Associates and a member of the Advisory Board of the London Middle East Centre at SOAS.

Imran Madden is the Director of Islamic Relief UK, and has more than 16 years’ experience in the humanitarian sector, including 11 years in leadership roles at Islamic Relief. Imran previously headed the Humanitarian Department at Islamic Relief Worldwide, was the UK Manager from 2000 to 2002 and Emergencies Manager from 1997 to 2000. Imran has travelled extensively in the course of leading some of our biggest humanitarian responses in Sudan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Philippines, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone and Nepal.

Sherine El Taraboulsi-McCarthy is an expert on aid, conflict and security in the Middle East and North Africa and Europe, with more than a decade's worth of experience in the sector. Her career has engaged extensively with the challenges of marshalling evidence to improve development and humanitarian policy and practice in the Arab region, with a strong focus on Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt and the Gulf region. Her research interests include non-Western political theory, state formation and fragility, terrorism and extremist violence, humanitarian action in complex emergencies, state donors and non-state philanthropy in conflict, and the politics of communal loyalty and transnational networks in peacebuilding and protection. She is a current member of the Yemen Safe Passage Group.

Baraa Shiban is a Middle-East and North Africa Caseworker at Reprieve. Prior to this role, Baraa was Reprieve’s Yemen Project Coordinator, investigating drone strikes across Yemen. Baraa also served as a youth representative in Yemen’s National Dialogue (a body charged with negotiating solutions to Yemen’s challenges and, where necessary, revising its laws). Baraa is a Business Administration graduate and was involved with a number of civil society organizations in Yemen from 2006-2011. In 2011, he played a significant role in peaceful demonstrations against Ali Abdullah Saleh, helping run a media centre in Sana’a’s Change Square.

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