USAID’s early programs in Yemen provided food, water, road, and agriculture assistance. In 1975, USAID opened its mission in Sana’a and assistance in that decade focused on land, mineral and soil surveys, as well as agriculture. In the 1980s, funding to Yemen more than quadrupled, and expanded to include assistance for education, health, and clean water. USAID withdrew much of its funding for Yemen in the aftermath of the Gulf War in the early 1990s, and closed the mission in 1996.
The mission reopened in Sana’a in 2003 with a focus on basic education, maternal and child health, and agriculture. USAID funding also supported democratic reforms, voter education, strengthening civil society, and encouraging the participation of women and youth in the political transition.
The insecure operating environment forced closure of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen and suspension of USAID development projects in 2015. USAID continued to provide humanitarian assistance to Yemenis in need, ensuring the most vulnerable receive lifesaving assistance. Humanitarian assistance is critical in Yemen, but on its own will not prevent the collapse of key social and economic institutions, stem the tide of conflict, or build Yemen’s resilience to future shocks. For this reason, in 2017 USAID relaunched its development assistance program in Yemen to help put the country on a path to recovery and ultimately to end the need for foreign assistance. USAID works with international and local partners to address the underlying causes of instability. Our work focuses on improving the full spectrum of Yemeni systems and institutions, government, civil society, private sector, and communities, to help lay a foundation for durable peace and resilience.