17th January, 2018
Saudi King Salman bin Abdelaziz has ordered two billion dollars be transferred to Yemen with the aim of shoring up the battered local currency in the strife-ravaged country, Saudi news agency SPA reported on Wednesday.
The money would be deposited in Yemen’s central bank in order to address Yemenis’ “deteriorating” economic situation, the agency added, citing an official statement.
The move came a day after Yemen’s Saudi-backed government appealed for assistance to head off the collapse of the local currency.
The value of the Yemeni riyal on Tuesday plummeted to an unprecedented low of 500 riyals to the U.S. dollar, Saudi newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat reported on Wednesday.
The rate stood at 214 riyals to the U.S. dollar in September 2014 when the Houthi rebels took over the capital Sana’a from the government, according to the paper.
“As the value of the [Yemeni] riyal goes up, the living conditions of Yemeni citizens will change for the better,” the Saudi statement on Wednesday said in English, without providing further details.
It was not immediately clear when the transfer would be carried out.
Yemen, one of the Arab world’s poorest countries, has been locked in a devastating power struggle between the Iran-allied Houthi rebels and the internationally recognised government since late 2014.
The conflict intensified in March 2015 when the Houthis advanced on Aden, the government’s temporary seat of power, prompting Saudi Arabia and other Sunni allies to start an air campaign in Yemen against the Shiite group.