Main Content

Middle East :: Yemen Print
Page last updated on November 24, 2020
  • Introduction :: Yemen
  • Background field listing

    The Kingdom of Yemen (colloquially known as North Yemen) became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1918 and in 1962 became the Yemen Arab Republic. The British, who had set up a protectorate area around the southern port of Aden in the 19th century, withdrew in 1967 from what became the People's Republic of Southern Yemen (colloquially known as South Yemen). Three years later, the southern government adopted a Marxist orientation and changed the country's name to the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen. The massive exodus of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis from the south to the north contributed to two decades of hostility between the states. The two countries were formally unified as the Republic of Yemen in 1990. A southern secessionist movement and brief civil war in 1994 was quickly subdued. In 2000, Saudi Arabia and Yemen agreed to delineate their border.

    Fighting in the northwest between the government and the Huthis, a Zaydi Shia Muslim minority, continued intermittently from 2004 to 2010, and then again from 2014-present. The southern secessionist movement was revitalized in 2007.

    Public rallies in Sana'a against then President Ali Abdallah SALIH - inspired by similar demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt - slowly built momentum starting in late January 2011 fueled by complaints over high unemployment, poor economic conditions, and corruption. By the following month, some protests had resulted in violence, and the demonstrations had spread to other major cities. By March the opposition had hardened its demands and was unifying behind calls for SALIH's immediate ouster. In April 2011, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in an attempt to mediate the crisis in Yemen, proposed the GCC Initiative, an agreement in which the president would step down in exchange for immunity from prosecution. SALIH's refusal to sign an agreement led to further violence. The UN Security Council passed Resolution 2014 in October 2011 calling for an end to the violence and completing a power transfer deal. In November 2011, SALIH signed the GCC Initiative to step down and to transfer some of his powers to Vice President Abd Rabuh Mansur HADI. Following HADI's uncontested election victory in February 2012, SALIH formally transferred all presidential powers. In accordance with the GCC Initiative, Yemen launched a National Dialogue Conference (NDC) in March 2013 to discuss key constitutional, political, and social issues. HADI concluded the NDC in January 2014 and planned to begin implementing subsequent steps in the transition process, including constitutional drafting, a constitutional referendum, and national elections.

    The Huthis, perceiving their grievances were not addressed in the NDC, joined forces with SALIH and expanded their influence in northwestern Yemen, which culminated in a major offensive against military units and rival tribes and enabled their forces to overrun the capital, Sanaa, in September 2014. In January 2015, the Huthis surrounded the presidential palace, HADI's residence, and key government facilities, prompting HADI and the cabinet to submit their resignations. HADI fled to Aden in February 2015 and rescinded his resignation. He subsequently escaped to Oman and then moved to Saudi Arabia and asked the GCC to intervene militarily in Yemen to protect the legitimate government from the Huthis. In March, Saudi Arabia assembled a coalition of Arab militaries and began airstrikes against the Huthis and Huthi-affiliated forces. Ground fighting between Huthi-aligned forces and anti-Huthi groups backed by the Saudi-led coalition continued through 2016. In 2016, the UN brokered a months-long cessation of hostilities that reduced airstrikes and fighting, and initiated peace talks in Kuwait. However, the talks ended without agreement. The Huthis and SALIH’s political party announced a Supreme Political Council in August 2016 and a National Salvation Government, including a prime minister and several dozen cabinet members, in November 2016, to govern in Sanaa and further challenge the legitimacy of HADI’s government. However, amid rising tensions between the Huthis and SALIH, sporadic clashes erupted in mid-2017, and escalated into open fighting that ended when Huthi forces killed SALIH in early December 2017. In 2018, anti-Huthi forces made the most battlefield progress in Yemen since early 2016, most notably in Al Hudaydah Governorate. In December 2018, the Huthis and Yemeni Government participated in the first UN-brokered peace talks since 2016, agreeing to a limited ceasefire in Al Hudaydah Governorate and the establishment of a UN Mission to monitor the agreement. In April 2019, Yemen’s parliament convened in Say'un for the first time since the conflict broke out in 2014. In August 2019, violence erupted between HADI's government and the pro-secessionist Southern Transition Council (STC) in southern Yemen. In November 2019, HADI's government and the STC signed a power-sharing agreement to end the fighting between them.

  • Geography :: Yemen
  • Location field listing
    Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    15 00 N, 48 00 E
    Map references field listing
    Middle East
    Area field listing
    total: 527,968 sq km
    land: 527,968 sq km
    water: 0 sq km

    note: includes Perim, Socotra, the former Yemen Arab Republic (YAR or North Yemen), and the former People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY or South Yemen)

    country comparison to the world: 51
    Area - comparative field listing
    almost four times the size of Alabama; slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming
    Area comparison map: Area comparison map
    Land boundaries field listing
    total: 1,601 km
    border countries (2): Oman 294 km, Saudi Arabia 1307 km
    Coastline field listing
    1,906 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
    Climate field listing
    mostly desert; hot and humid along west coast; temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon; extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in east
    Terrain field listing
    narrow coastal plain backed by flat-topped hills and rugged mountains; dissected upland desert plains in center slope into the desert interior of the Arabian Peninsula
    Elevation field listing
    mean elevation: 999 m
    lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m
    highest point: Jabal an Nabi Shu'ayb 3,666 m
    Natural resources field listing
    petroleum, fish, rock salt, marble; small deposits of coal, gold, lead, nickel, and copper; fertile soil in west
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 44.5% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 2.2% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.6% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 41.7% (2011 est.)
    forest: 1% (2011 est.)
    other: 54.5% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    6,800 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    the vast majority of the population is found in the Asir Mountains (part of the larger Sarawat Mountain system), located in the far western region of the country
    Natural hazards field listing

    sandstorms and dust storms in summer

    volcanism: limited volcanic activity; Jebel at Tair (Jabal al-Tair, Jebel Teir, Jabal al-Tayr, Jazirat at-Tair) (244 m), which forms an island in the Red Sea, erupted in 2007 after awakening from dormancy; other historically active volcanoes include Harra of Arhab, Harras of Dhamar, Harra es-Sawad, and Jebel Zubair, although many of these have not erupted in over a century

    Environment - current issues field listing
    limited natural freshwater resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
    Environment - international agreements field listing
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    Geography - note field listing
    strategic location on Bab el Mandeb, the strait linking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, one of world's most active shipping lanes
  • People and Society :: Yemen
  • Population field listing
    29,884,405 (July 2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Yemeni(s)
    adjective: Yemeni
    Ethnic groups field listing
    predominantly Arab; but also Afro-Arab, South Asian, European
    Languages field listing
    Arabic (official)

    note: a distinct Socotri language is widely used on Socotra Island and Archipelago; Mahri is still fairly widely spoken in eastern Yemen

    Religions field listing
    Muslim 99.1% (official; virtually all are citizens, an estimated 65% are Sunni and 35% are Shia), other 0.9% (includes Jewish, Baha'i, Hindu, and Christian; many are refugees or temporary foreign residents) (2010 est.)
    MENA religious affiliation: PDF
    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 39.16% (male 5,711,709 /female 5,513,526)
    15-24 years: 21.26% (male 3,089,817 /female 3,005,693)
    25-54 years: 32.78% (male 4,805,059 /female 4,591,811)
    55-64 years: 4% (male 523,769 /female 623,100)
    65 years and over: 2.8% (male 366,891 /female 435,855) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios field listing
    total dependency ratio: 71.7
    youth dependency ratio: 66.7
    elderly dependency ratio: 5
    potential support ratio: 19.9 (2020 est.)
    Median age field listing
    total: 19.8 years (2018 est.)
    male: 19.6 years
    female: 19.9 years
    country comparison to the world: 199
    Population growth rate field listing
    2.04% (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    Birth rate field listing
    25.8 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    Death rate field listing
    5.6 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    Net migration rate field listing
    -0.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    Population distribution field listing
    the vast majority of the population is found in the Asir Mountains (part of the larger Sarawat Mountain system), located in the far western region of the country
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 37.9% of total population (2020)
    rate of urbanization: 4.06% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030: PDF
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    2.973 million SANAA (capital), 980,000 Aden (2020)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.84 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
    Mother's mean age at first birth field listing
    21.4 years (2013 est.)
    median age at first birth among women 25-29
    Maternal mortality rate field listing
    164 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 41.9 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 45.7 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 37.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 66.9 years
    male: 64.7 years
    female: 69.3 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    Total fertility rate field listing
    3.2 children born/woman (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    Contraceptive prevalence rate field listing
    33.5% (2013)
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: urban: 100% of population
    rural: 87.6% of population
    total: 92% of population
    unimproved: urban: 0% of population
    rural: 12.4% of population
    total: 8% of population (2017 est.)
    Current Health Expenditure field listing
    5.6% (2015)
    Physicians density field listing
    0.53 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
    Hospital bed density field listing
    0.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: urban: 93.1% of population
    rural: 48.5% of population
    total: 64.6% of population
    unimproved: urban: 6.9% of population
    rural: 51.5% of population
    total: 35.4% of population (2017 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    <.1% (2019 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    11,000 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    <500 (2019 est.)
    Major infectious diseases field listing
    degree of risk: high (2020)
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
    water contact diseases: schistosomiasis
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
    17.1% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight field listing
    39.9% (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    Education expenditures field listing
    Literacy field listing
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 70.1%
    male: 85.1%
    female: 55% (2015)
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) field listing
    total: 9 years
    male: 11 years
    female: 8 years (2011)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 field listing
    total: 24.5%
    male: 23.5%
    female: 34.6% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
  • Government :: Yemen
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: Republic of Yemen
    conventional short form: Yemen
    local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Yamaniyah
    local short form: Al Yaman
    former: Yemen Arab Republic [Yemen (Sanaa) or North Yemen] and People's Democratic Republic of Yemen [Yemen (Aden) or South Yemen]
    etymology: name derivation remains unclear but may come from the Arab term "yumn" (happiness) and be related to the region's classical name "Arabia Felix" (Fertile or Happy Arabia); the Romans referred to the rest of the peninsula as "Arabia Deserta" (Deserted Arabia)
    Government type field listing
    in transition
    Capital field listing
    name: Sanaa
    geographic coordinates: 15 21 N, 44 12 E
    time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    etymology: the name is reputed to mean "well-fortified" in Sabaean, the South Arabian language that went extinct in Yemen in the 6th century A.D.
    Administrative divisions field listing
    22 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Abyan, 'Adan (Aden), Ad Dali', Al Bayda', Al Hudaydah, Al Jawf, Al Mahrah, Al Mahwit, Amanat al 'Asimah (Sanaa City), 'Amran, Arkhabil Suqutra (Socotra Archipelago), Dhamar, Hadramawt, Hajjah, Ibb, Lahij, Ma'rib, Raymah, Sa'dah, San'a' (Sanaa), Shabwah, Ta'izz
    Independence field listing
    22 May 1990 (Republic of Yemen was established with the merger of the Yemen Arab Republic [Yemen (Sanaa) or North Yemen] and the Marxist-dominated People's Democratic Republic of Yemen [Yemen (Aden) or South Yemen]); notable earlier dates: North Yemen became independent on 1 November 1918 (from the Ottoman Empire) and became a republic with the overthrow of the theocratic Imamate on 27 September 1962; South Yemen became independent on 30 November 1967 (from the UK)
    National holiday field listing
    Unification Day, 22 May (1990)
    Constitution field listing
    history: adopted by referendum 16 May 1991 (following unification); note - after the National  Dialogue ended in January 2015, a Constitutional Drafting Committee appointed by the president worked to prepare a new draft constitution that was expected to be put to a national referendum before being adopted; however, the start of the current conflict in early 2015 interrupted the process
    amendments: amended several times, last in 2009
    International law organization participation field listing
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    Citizenship field listing
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Yemen; if the father is unknown, the mother must be a citizen
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years
    Suffrage field listing
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: President Abd Rabuh Mansur HADI (since 21 February 2012); Vice President ALI MUHSIN al-Ahmar, Lt. Gen. (since 3 April 2016)
    head of government: Prime Minister Maeen Abd al-Malik SAEED (since 15 October 2018)
    cabinet: appointed by the president
    elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 7-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 21 February 2012 (next election NA); note - a special election was held on 21 February 2012 to remove Ali Abdallah SALIH under the terms of a Gulf Cooperation Council-mediated deal during the political crisis of 2011; vice president appointed by the president; prime minister appointed by the president
    election results: Abd Rabuh Mansur HADI (GPC) elected as a consensus president with about 50% popular participation; no other candidates
    Legislative branch field listing
    description: bicameral Parliament or Majlis consists of:
    Shura Council or Majlis Alshoora (111 seats; members appointed by the president; member tenure NA)
    House of Representatives or Majlis al Nuwaab (301 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 6-year terms)
    House of Representatives - last held on 27 April 2003 (next scheduled for April 2009 but postponed indefinitely)
    election results:
    percent of vote by party - GPC 58.0%, Islah 22.6%, YSP 3.8%, Unionist Party 1.9%, other 13.7%; seats by party - GPC 238, Islah 46, YSP 8, Nasserist Unionist Party 3, National Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party 2, independent 4
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the court president, 2 deputies, and nearly 50 judges; court organized into constitutional, civil, commercial, family, administrative, criminal, military, and appeals scrutiny divisions)
    judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council, which is chaired by the president of the republic and includes 10 high-ranking judicial officers; judges serve for life with mandatory retirement at age 65
    subordinate courts: appeal courts; district or first instance courts; commercial courts
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    General People’s Congress or GPC (3 factions: pro-Hadi [Abdrabbi Mansur HADI], pro-Houthi [Sadeq Ameen Abu RAS], pro-Saleh [Ahmed SALEH]
    National Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party [Qassem Salam SAID]
    Nasserist Unionist People's Organization [Abdulmalik al-MEKHLAFI]
    Southern Transitional Council or STC [Aidarus al-ZOUBAIDA]
    Yemeni Reform Grouping or Islah [Muhammed Abdallah al-YADUMI]
    Yemeni Socialist Party or YSP [Dr. Abd al-Rahman Umar al-SAQQAF]
    International organization participation field listing
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador Ahmad Awadh BIN MUBARAK (since 3 August 2015)
    chancery: 2319 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 965-4760
    FAX: [1] (202) 337-2017
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador Christopher HENZEL (since 20 May 2019); note - the embassy closed in March 2015; Yemen Affairs Unit currently operates out of US Embassy Riyadh
    telephone: US Embassy Riyadh [966] 11-488-3800
    previously - [967] 1 755-2000
    embassy: previously - Sa'awan Street, Sanaa
    mailing address: US Embassy Riyadh
    previously - US Embassy in Sana'a
    Address: Sa’awan Street
    P.O. Box 22347
    FAX: US Embassy Riyadh [966] 11-488-7360
    Flag description field listing
    three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; the band colors derive from the Arab Liberation flag and represent oppression (black), overcome through bloody struggle (red), to be replaced by a bright future (white)

    note: similar to the flag of Syria, which has two green stars in the white band, and of Iraq, which has an Arabic inscription centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Egypt, which has a heraldic eagle centered in the white band

    National symbol(s) field listing
    golden eagle; national colors: red, white, black
    National anthem field listing
    name: "al-qumhuriyatu l-muttahida" (United Republic)
    lyrics/music: Abdullah Abdulwahab NOA'MAN/Ayyoab Tarish ABSI

    note: adopted 1990; the music first served as the anthem for South Yemen before unification with North Yemen in 1990

  • Economy :: Yemen
  • Economy - overview field listing

    Yemen is a low-income country that faces difficult long-term challenges to stabilizing and growing its economy, and the current conflict has only exacerbated those issues. The ongoing war has halted Yemen’s exports, pressured the currency’s exchange rate, accelerated inflation, severely limited food and fuel imports, and caused widespread damage to infrastructure. The conflict has also created a severe humanitarian crisis - the world’s largest cholera outbreak currently at nearly 1 million cases, more than 7 million people at risk of famine, and more than 80% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance.

    Prior to the start of the conflict in 2014, Yemen was highly dependent on declining oil and gas resources for revenue. Oil and gas earnings accounted for roughly 25% of GDP and 65% of government revenue. The Yemeni Government regularly faced annual budget shortfalls and tried to diversify the Yemeni economy through a reform program designed to bolster non-oil sectors of the economy and foreign investment. In July 2014, the government continued reform efforts by eliminating some fuel subsidies and in August 2014, the IMF approved a three-year, $570 million Extended Credit Facility for Yemen.

    However, the conflict that began in 2014 stalled these reform efforts and ongoing fighting continues to accelerate the country’s economic decline. In September 2016, President HADI announced the move of the main branch of Central Bank of Yemen from Sanaa to Aden where his government could exert greater control over the central bank’s dwindling resources. Regardless of which group controls the main branch, the central bank system is struggling to function. Yemen’s Central Bank’s foreign reserves, which stood at roughly $5.2 billion prior to the conflict, have declined to negligible amounts. The Central Bank can no longer fully support imports of critical goods or the country’s exchange rate. The country also is facing a growing liquidity crisis and rising inflation. The private sector is hemorrhaging, with almost all businesses making substantial layoffs. Access to food and other critical commodities such as medical equipment is limited across the country due to security issues on the ground. The Social Welfare Fund, a cash transfer program for Yemen’s neediest, is no longer operational and has not made any disbursements since late 2014.

    Yemen will require significant international assistance during and after the protracted conflict to stabilize its economy. Long-term challenges include a high population growth rate, high unemployment, declining water resources, and severe food scarcity.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $73.63 billion (2017 est.)
    $78.28 billion (2016 est.)
    $90.63 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 98
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $31.27 billion (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    -5.9% (2017 est.)
    -13.6% (2016 est.)
    -16.7% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 219
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $2,500 (2017 est.)
    $2,700 (2016 est.)
    $3,200 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 199
    Gross national saving field listing
    -1.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
    -3.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
    -4.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 182
    GDP - composition, by end use field listing
    household consumption: 116.6% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 17.6% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 2.2% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 7.5% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -43.9% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 20.3% (2017 est.)
    industry: 11.8% (2017 est.)
    services: 67.9% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    grain, fruits, vegetables, pulses, qat, coffee, cotton; dairy products, livestock (sheep, goats, cattle, camels), poultry; fish
    Industries field listing
    crude oil production and petroleum refining; small-scale production of cotton textiles, leather goods; food processing; handicrafts; aluminum products; cement; commercial ship repair; natural gas production
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    8.9% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    Labor force field listing
    7.425 million (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 62
    Labor force - by occupation field listing

    note: most people are employed in agriculture and herding; services, construction, industry, and commerce account for less than one-fourth of the labor force

    Unemployment rate field listing
    27% (2014 est.)
    35% (2003 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    Population below poverty line field listing
    54% (2014 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: 2.6%
    highest 10%: 30.3% (2008 est.)
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 2.821 billion (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 4.458 billion (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 216
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    -5.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    Public debt field listing
    74.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
    68.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    Fiscal year field listing
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    24.7% (2017 est.)
    -12.6% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 218
    Current account balance field listing
    -$1.236 billion (2017 est.)
    -$1.868 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    Exports field listing
    $384.5 million (2017 est.)
    $940 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    Exports - partners field listing
    Egypt 29.4%, Thailand 16.7%, Belarus 13.5%, Oman 10.5%, UAE 6.5%, Saudi Arabia 5% (2017)
    Exports - commodities field listing
    crude oil, coffee, dried and salted fish, liquefied natural gas
    Imports field listing
    $4.079 billion (2017 est.)
    $3.117 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    Imports - commodities field listing
    food and live animals, machinery and equipment, chemicals
    Imports - partners field listing
    UAE 12.2%, China 12.1%, Turkey 8.7%, Brazil 7.3%, Saudi Arabia 6.5%, Argentina 5.5%, India 4.7% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold field listing
    $245.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $592.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    Debt - external field listing
    $7.068 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $7.181 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Exchange rates field listing
    Yemeni rials (YER) per US dollar -
    275 (2017 est.)
    214.9 (2016 est.)
    214.9 (2015 est.)
    228 (2014 est.)
    214.89 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Yemen
  • Electricity access field listing
    population without electricity: 16 million (2019)
    electrification - total population: 47% (2019)
    electrification - urban areas: 72% (2019)
    electrification - rural areas: 31% (2019)
    Electricity - production field listing
    4.784 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    3.681 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 219
    Electricity - imports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 219
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    1.819 million kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    79% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 215
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    21% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    Crude oil - production field listing
    61,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    8,990 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 217
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    3 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    20,180 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    104,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    12,670 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    75,940 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    Natural gas - production field listing
    481.4 million cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    481.4 million cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    478.5 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    13.68 million Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
  • Communications :: Yemen
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 1,253,287
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 4.28 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 16,158,028
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 55.18 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    Telecommunication systems field listing
    general assessment: large percent of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance, and given the civil conflict, telecommunications services are vital but disrupted; mobile towers are often deliberately targeted; maintenance is dangerous to staff; aid organization rely on satellite and radio communications; there is a scarcity of telecommunications equipment in rural areas; ownership of telecommunications services and the related revenues and taxes have become a political issue; Chinese company Huawei helping with rebuilding and moving some equipment; little progress in the near future until civil unrest stabilizes; earlier damage to the FALCON submarine cable, left Internet service interrupted for a month until repaired (2020)
    domestic: the national network consists of microwave radio relay, cable, tropospheric scatter, GSM and CDMA mobile-cellular telephone systems; fixed-line teledensity remains low by regional standards at 4 per 100 but mobile cellular use expanding at 55 per 100 (2019)
    international: country code - 967; landing points for the FALCON, SeaMeWe-5, Aden-Djibouti, and the AAE-1 international submarine cable connecting Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Southeast Asia; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean), 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region), and 2 Arabsat; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia and Djibouti (2020)
    note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
    Broadcast media field listing
    state-run TV with 2 stations; state-run radio with 2 national radio stations and 5 local stations; stations from Oman and Saudi Arabia can be accessed
    Internet country code field listing
    Internet users field listing
    total: 7,659,884
    percent of population: 26.72% (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    total: 386,330
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
  • Transportation :: Yemen
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 8
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 336,310 (2018)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 3.27 million mt-km (2018)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    7O (2016)
    Airports field listing
    57 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 17 (2013)
    over 3,047 m: 4 (2013)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 9 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 40 (2013)
    over 3,047 m: 3 (2013)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 5 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 7 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 16 (2013)
    under 914 m: 9 (2013)
    Pipelines field listing
    641 km gas, 22 km liquid petroleum gas, 1370 km oil (2013)
    Roadways field listing
    total: 71,300 km (2005)
    paved: 6,200 km (2005)
    unpaved: 65,100 km (2005)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 34
    by type: general cargo 3, oil tanker 4, other 27 (2019)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Aden, Al Hudaydah, Al Mukalla
  • Military and Security :: Yemen
  • Military and security forces field listing
    Land Forces (includes seven Military Regional Commands, supported by Strategic Reserve Forces), Naval and Coastal Defense Forces (includes naval infantry/marines and Coast Guard), Air and Air Defense Force (although it still exists in name, in practice many of the officers and soldiers in this branch have been distributed to other military branches and jobs), Border Guards, Strategic Reserve Forces (supports the Land Forces at the discretion of the Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief; includes a Missile Group, Presidential Protection Brigades, and Special Operations Forces) (2018)
    Military expenditures field listing
    3.98% of GDP (2014)
    4.08% of GDP (2013)
    4.57% of GDP (2012)
    4.19% of GDP (2011)

    note - no reliable information exists following the start of renewed conflict in 2015

    country comparison to the world: 13
    Military and security service personnel strengths field listing
    N/A; note: prior to the civil war, Yemeni Government armed forces had approximately 70,000 active personnel, including about 60,000 Army (2019 est.)
    Military equipment inventories and acquisitions field listing
    the inventory of the Yemeni Government forces consists primarily of Russian and Soviet-era equipment, although much of it has been lost in the current conflict; since 2010, it has received limited amounts of equipment from a variety of countries, including Belarus, Czechia, Jordan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, UAE, Ukraine, and the US (2019 est.)
    Military service age and obligation field listing
    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription; 2-year service obligation (2018)
    Maritime threats field listing
    the International Maritime Bureau reports offshore waters in the Gulf of Aden are high risk for piracy; numerous vessels, including commercial shipping and pleasure craft, have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; crew, passengers, and cargo have been held for ransom; the presence of several naval task forces in the Gulf of Aden and additional anti-piracy measures on the part of ship operators reduced the incidence of piracy in that body of water; one attack was reported in 2016 while three ships reported being fired upon in 2017
  • Terrorism :: Yemen
  • Terrorist group(s) field listing
    Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Qods Force; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham - Yemen; al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (2020)
    note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T
  • Transnational Issues :: Yemen
  • Disputes - international field listing

    Saudi Arabia has reinforced its concrete-filled security barrier along sections of the fully demarcated border with Yemen to stem illegal cross-border activities

    Refugees and internally displaced persons field listing
    refugees (country of origin): 14,638 (Ethiopia) (2019); 220,753 (Somalia) (2020)
    IDPs: 3,635,000 (conflict in Sa'ada Governorate; clashes between al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula and government forces) (2019)
    Trafficking in persons field listing
    current situation: Yemen is a source and, to a lesser extent, transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and women and children subjected to sex trafficking; trafficking activities grew in Yemen in 2014, as the country’s security situation deteriorated and poverty worsened; armed groups increased their recruitment of Yemeni children as combatants or checkpoint guards, and the Yemeni military and security forces continue to use child soldiers; some other Yemeni children, mostly boys, migrate to Yemeni cities or Saudi Arabia and, less frequently Oman, where they end up as beggars, drug smugglers, prostitutes, or forced laborers in domestic service or small shops; Yemeni children increasingly are also subjected to sex trafficking in country and in Saudi Arabia; tens of thousands of Yemeni migrant workers deported from Saudi Arabia and thousands of Syrian refugees are vulnerable to trafficking; additionally, Yemen is a destination and transit country for women and children from the Horn of Africa who are looking for work or receive fraudulent job offers in the Gulf states but are subjected to sexual exploitation or forced labor upon arrival; reports indicate that adults and children are still sold or inherited as slaves in Yemen
    tier rating: Tier 3 – Yemen does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; weak government institutions, corruption, economic problems, security threats, and poor law enforcement capabilities impeded the government’s ability to combat human trafficking; not all forms of trafficking are criminalized, and officials continue to conflate trafficking and smuggling; the status of an anti-trafficking law drafted with assistance from an international organization remains unknown following the dissolution of the government in January 2015; the government did not report efforts to investigate, prosecute, or convict anyone of trafficking or slavery offenses, including complicit officials, despite reports of officials willfully ignoring trafficking crimes and using child soldiers in the government’s armed forces; the government acknowledged the use of child soldiers and signed a UN action plan to end the practice in 2014 but made no efforts to release child soldiers from the military and provide them with rehabilitative services; authorities failed to identify victims and refer them to protective services; the status of a draft national anti-trafficking strategy remains unknown (2015)