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World Bank’s IFC gives $75 mln debt financing to Yemeni food group

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The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will provide up to $75 million in debt financing to a Yemeni food company as the war-torn country struggles with a growing hunger crisis and aid funding shortage, it said on Tuesday.

The IFC, the investment arm of the World Bank, is giving the assistance to multinational Yemeni family conglomerate the Hayel Saeed Anam Group (HAS), which includes six food companies operating in the dairy, flour, and sugar sectors in Yemen.

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IFC said it is its first investment in Yemen’s agribusiness sector in more than 10 years.

Yemen’s deep economic crisis, shortage of foreign currency and impediments to food imports have seen prices skyrocket out of the reach of many.

A serious gap in funding for the Yemen aid response appeared last year, but more funds started flowing from March to April after UN officials said Yemen could see the world’s worst famine in decades.

“IFC’s financing package will help reduce food shortages and ensure supply chain sustainability, including the supply of staple foods to towns and villages across Yemen,” the corporation said.

The United Nations says the country is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Pockets of famine-like conditions re-appeared last year, the world body has said.

The United States on Monday said it would give $165 million in new humanitarian assistance to Yemen, hoping the move would encourage other donors to come forward with funds to address Yemen’s funding shortage.

Read more: UN taps veteran Swedish diplomat to be new Yemen envoy