Saudi Arabia Offers Yemeni Central Bank $2bln to avert Currency Collapse

Saudi Arabia will deposit $2 billion into Yemen’s central bank in an effort to help the war-torn country avert a currency collapse, the Saudi state news agency reported.

The move was made a day after the Yemeni Prime Minister issued a public plea for funds to prop up the rial and help stave off hunger in the war-ravaged country.

Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr, Yemen’s Saudi-backed Prime Minister, this week called on Riyadh to step in and prop up the rial, which has lost more than half its value against the US dollar since the war began. Yemen’s economy has collapsed, 60 per cent of the 28m population face food shortages and more than 8m are at risk of starvation, according to the UN.

The move by Riyadh to provide the $2bn in financial aid comes after the coalition it leads has been heavily criticized for exacerbating the humanitarian crisis by imposing a near-total blockade on Yemeni ports to stop the smuggling of weapons and squeeze Houthi-controlled areas.

Yemen’s central bank, which is based in the southern port city of Aden, has struggled to pay public sector salaries amid a sharp drop in foreign exchange reserves.

More than 5,000 children have been killed or injured and another 400,000 left severely malnourished and fighting for their lives, according to a report released by Unicef on Tuesday.

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