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Submitted by Andrew Stone on

Very good to remind people of this major challenge, but is there any political will or social consensus for change? When we raised these issues in the 2005/6 Investment Climate Assessment as a long-term economic liability, we were told by counterparts that qat use was ingrained in local culture and its harm exaggerated. At the time, qat cultivation was believed to consume a third of Yemen's scarce groundwater, to reduce productivity by 25% and to consume between on quarter and one third of poor family's incomes. Another aspect is corruption -- qat is a nickname for bribes and a destination for many informal payments to officials. Poorly paid officials with an expensive daily habit is a poor recipe for integrity.