The Power of Partnership
Our Managing Director and Board Member of HSA Group, Nabil Hayel Saeed Anam, reflects on the role of partnership in tackling malnutrition in Yemen.
The Power of Partnership
Nabil Hayel Saeed Anam
Managing Director of HSA Yemen and Board Member of HSA Group.
The Yemeni people are in desperate need. Despite extensive international aid efforts, the country continues to represent the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Six years of conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the impact of the crisis, resulting in unparalleled challenges and uncertainty.
Yemen’s economy has been devastated: the country’s infrastructure, supply chains, and financial system have been pushed to breaking point and many people can no longer rely on regular payments, diminishing the purchasing power of Yemenis across the country.
The ingenuity and adaptability that is evident across Yemeni society gives us all hope for the future, but the immediate challenges caused by the fragile environment continue to prevent Yemen’s economic recovery and deprive millions of people of essential foodstuffs, threatening lives and livelihoods.
The growing food security crisis is the result of Yemen’s complex societal challenges. It carries calamitous implications: preventing children from receiving adequate education, forcing families into dependency on aid, and causing pain and suffering for communities that have been devastated through no fault of their own.
The enormity of the crisis is such that over 70% of the population is in urgent need of aid.
To address this situation, we at HSA have been supporting communities across Yemen to the best of our abilities throughout the crisis, in line with our founding philosophy of doing well by doing good.
The power of partnership
At HSA, we firmly believe in the power of partnership. The expertise and resources of our valued international partners, combined with our deep knowledge of the Yemeni market and extensive distribution network, have allowed us to make a positive impact in times of prosperity and crisis alike.
Public-private partnership is a particularly effective strategy for responding to the needs of communities in fragile states, such as Yemen. The unique expertise and in-market understanding of the private sector, coupled with the resources and scale of the public sector, can provide critical support to those most in need.
In Yemen, the private sector accounts for 90% of food imports. Multilateral organizations like the World Food Programme (WFP) have utilized these trade flows to support their humanitarian efforts, purchasing goods directly from private sector companies to support Yemenis and stimulate local economies.
Partnerships are also beneficial for local businesses, creating crucial sources of income when many public sector salaries have been disrupted by the ongoing conflict or the ailing economy.
The wealth of knowledge that local partners can bring helps direct aid to where it is needed most. For example, the Hayel Saeed Anam Charity Foundation (HSACF) is part of Yemen’s Food Security and Agriculture Cluster, where it collaborates with local NGOs and international organizations to provide essential goods for communities in the last mile.
The success of such partnerships can be seen beyond the food security crisis. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, HSA was one of the founding organizations of the International Initiative on COVID-19 in Yemen (IICY), convening key stakeholders including the World Health Organization, Unilever, Tetra Pak, the Yemen Private Sector Cluster, and the Federation of Yemen Chambers of Commerce and Industry, to deliver essential PPE, testing equipment, and much-needed funding across Yemen.
IICY’s success was the result of its ability to draw on the diverse range of strengths of its partners, and it continues to support Yemenis as they tackle the ongoing pandemic. IICY has shown that, through collaboration, HSA has been able to make a significant and meaningful contribution to the fight against COVID-19. This model can now be emulated to support Yemenis as they address other critical challenges, such as the food security crisis.
The Yemeni people have proved time and again that when equipped with the right tools and resources, they can overcome the world’s most challenging circumstances. In the context of the food security crisis, empowering Yemen’s population will require a holistic approach from all actors that serve them. That is why we are calling for public and private sector organizations, internationally, to join us and harness the power of partnership to build a bright future for Yemen
Opportunities for the future
HSA has developed a series of recommendations designed to improve Yemen’s food security situation. These are based on our experience in Yemen, but also apply to other fragile states.
Foster strategic partnerships between international organizations and domestic private sector stakeholders: The impact of humanitarian aid and economic stimulus can be dramatically improved by international organizations collaborating with local stakeholders, making use of existing infrastructure and unique market understanding, and taking advantage of the reputational boost that trusted local partners can bring.
Use international expertise to maximize impact: With the support of international specialists, refinements to essential products and services can be made at pace, responding to the needs of local populations.
Reimagine national recovery- a shift from aid to trade: Yemen has been the world’s worst humanitarian crisis for several years. While international aid has saved many lives, it is unrealistic for a country to begin a process of recovery without a shift in approach. By upskilling the workforce, incentivizing entrepreneurship, encouraging foreign investment, and supporting the development of Yemen’s private sector, international organizations can help unlock Yemen’s potential.
We are at an unprecedented moment in Yemen's history. HSA will continue to support local communities, but this alone will not be enough. At HSA, we believe that it is the collective responsibility of the private and public sectors to support Yemenis in their time of need. I hope with all my heart that, through the power of partnership, we can work collaboratively to address food security challenges, restore hope and prosperity in Yemen, and empower future generations.