Sanaa has passed a key reform allowing foreign investors to buy land for the first time, according to the chief executive officer (CEO) of Yemen’s state-owned investment vehicle General Holding Corporation for Property Development & Investment (Shibam).

Yemen legalised foreign ownership of land in September, in a previously unreported development.

Before September, foreign investors could only lease land.

During the launch of a $600m real estate development on 2 November, Saad Sabrah, CEO of Shibam, said the government will also cut corporation tax from 35 per cent to 15 per cent once parliament approves a bill.

“The problem we have faced in the past was finding a mechanism for investment,” said Sabrah. “We needed to activate the relationship between the government, private sector and investors.”

The government wants to pass further reforms to make the country attractive to international investors, especially those in the GCC.

“We are planning more constitutional and organisational reforms,” he says. “These will be made and passed in the coming four years.”

Sabrah declined to say what additional reforms the government is planning.

Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East. Its citizens have a much lower quality of life than people living in any of the six GCC states.