A thick dust cloud travels southward from Saudi Arabia's Rub al Khali sand sea towards the edge of the Arabian Peninsula. This natural-color satellite image shows the dense part of the cloud approaching Yemen (lower left) and translucent swirls of dust over the Arabian Sea.Lines of small clouds cling to the margins of the dust plumes south of Oman (lower right). These clouds may result from the same weather front that kicked up high winds and stirred the dust storm. This region is one of the world's most prolific dust-producing areas, thanks in part to the presence of the sand sea. The Rub al Khali holds about half as much sand as the Sahara Desert. Image courtesy of NASA.
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Introduction

Background

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 Arab Spring 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 2015, 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 cease-fire 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, and in December 2020, the signatories formed a new cabinet. In 2020 and 2021, fighting continued on the ground in Yemen as the Huthis gained territory, and also conducted regular UAV and missile attacks against targets in Saudi Arabia. 

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Geography

Location

Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea, between Oman and Saudi Arabia

Geographic coordinates

15 00 N, 48 00 E

Map references

Middle East

Area

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: 52

Area - comparative

almost four times the size of Alabama; slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming

Area comparison map
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 1,601 km

border countries (2): Oman 294 km; Saudi Arabia 1,307 km

Coastline

1,906 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

Climate

mostly desert; hot and humid along west coast; temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon; extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in east

Terrain

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

highest point: Jabal an Nabi Shu'ayb 3,666 m

lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 999 m

Natural resources

petroleum, fish, rock salt, marble; small deposits of coal, gold, lead, nickel, and copper; fertile soil in west

Land use

agricultural land: 44.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 2.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 41.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 1% (2018 est.)

other: 54.5% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

6,800 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

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

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

Geography - note

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

Map description

Yemen map showing major population centers as well as parts of neighboring countries and the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Yemeni(s)

adjective: Yemeni

Ethnic groups

predominantly Arab; but also Afro-Arab, South Asian, European

Languages

Arabic (official); note - a distinct Socotri language is widely used on Socotra Island and Archipelago; Mahri is still fairly widely spoken in eastern Yemen

major-language sample(s):
كتاب حقائق العالم، المصدر الذي لا يمكن الاستغناء عنه للمعلومات الأساسية (Arabic)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Arabic audio sample:

Religions

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) (2020 est.)

Age structure

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% (2018 est.) (male 366,891 /female 435,855)

2022 population pyramid
2022 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 71.7

youth dependency ratio: 66.7

elderly dependency ratio: 5

potential support ratio: 19.9 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 19.8 years (2018 est.)

male: 19.6 years

female: 19.9 years

country comparison to the world: 198

Birth rate

24.64 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 47

Death rate

5.62 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 177

Net migration rate

-0.19 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 112

Population distribution

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

urban population: 39.2% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 3.71% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

3.182 million SANAA (capital), 1.045 million Aden (2022)

Sex ratio

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: 1.04 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.84 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female

total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20.8 years (2013 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

164 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 54

Infant mortality rate

total: 46.54 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 51.9 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 40.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 26

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 67.51 years

male: 65.19 years

female: 69.94 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 189

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 98.5% of population

rural: 84.2% of population

total: 99.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.5% of population

rural: 15.8% of population

total: 10.4% of population (2020 est.)

Physicians density

0.53 physicians/1,000 population (2014)

Hospital bed density

0.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 83.5% of population

rural: 44.2% of population

total: 59.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 16.5% of population

rural: 55.8% of population

total: 40.9% of population (2020 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

(2020 est.) <500

Major infectious diseases

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

note: on 21 March 2022, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Asia; Yemen is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 0.02 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.02 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 182

Tobacco use

total: 20.3% (2020 est.)

male: 32.5% (2020 est.)

female: 8.1% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 85

Literacy

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)

total: 9 years

male: 11 years

female: 8 years (2011)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 24.5%

male: 23.5%

female: 34.6% (2014 est.)

Environment

Environment - current issues

limited natural freshwater resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 44.96 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 10.61 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 8.03 megatons (2020 est.)

Climate

mostly desert; hot and humid along west coast; temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon; extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in east

Land use

agricultural land: 44.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 2.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 41.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 1% (2018 est.)

other: 54.5% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 39.2% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 3.71% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 186

Major infectious diseases

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

note: on 21 March 2022, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Asia; Yemen is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Food insecurity

widespread lack of access: due to conflict, poverty, floods, high food and fuel prices - the number of food insecure people was projected to increase by over 1 million to 17.4 million between January and May 2022, increasing to 19 million starting from June until the end of the year; economic conditions in the country remain dire; the conflict is further hampering the already constrained livelihood activities and humanitarian access; income earning opportunities have declined due to COVID‑19‑related business disruptions (2022)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 4,836,820 tons (2011 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 386,946 tons (2016 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 8% (2016 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 265 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 65 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 3.235 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

2.1 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

Country name

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

in transition

Capital

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

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

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

Unification Day, 22 May (1990)

Constitution

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

Legal system

mixed legal system of Islamic (sharia) law, Napoleonic law, English common law, and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

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

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Chairperson, Presidential Council Rashad Muhammad al-ALIMI, Dr. (since 19 April 2022); Vice Chairperson, Presidential Council Sultan al-ARADA (since 19 April 2022); Vice Chairperson, Presidential Council Faraj Salmin al- BAHSANI, Brig. Gen. (since 19 April 2022); Vice Chairperson, Presidential Council Abdullah Al-Alimi BA WAZIR (since 19 April 2022); Vice Chairperson, Presidential Council Uthman Hussain Faid al-MUJALI (since 19 April 2022); Vice Chairperson, Presidential Council TARIQ Muhammad Abdallah Salih, Brig. Gen. (since 19 April 2022); Vice Chairperson, Presidential Council 'Abd-al-Rahman ABU ZARA'A al-Muharrami al-Yafai, Brig. Gen. (since 19 April 2022); Vice Chairperson, Presidential Council Aydarus Qasim al-ZUBAYDI, Maj. Gen. (since 19 April 2022)

head of government: Chairperson, Presidential Council Rashad Muhammad al-ALIMI, Dr. (since 19 April 2022); Vice Chairperson, Presidential Council Sultan al-ARADA (since 19 April 2022); Vice Chairperson, Presidential Council Faraj Salmin al- BAHSANI, Brig. Gen. (since 19 April 2022); Vice Chairperson, Presidential Council Abdullah Al-Alimi BA WAZIR (since 19 April 2022); Vice Chairperson, Presidential Council Uthman Hussain Faid al-MUJALI (since 19 April 2022); Vice Chairperson, Presidential Council TARIQ Muhammad Abdallah Salih, Brig. Gen. (since 19 April 2022); Vice Chairperson, Presidential Council 'Abd-al-Rahman ABU ZARA'A al-Muharrami al-Yafai, Brig. Gen. (since 19 April 2022); Vice Chairperson, Presidential Council Aydarus Qasim al-ZUBAYDI, Maj. Gen. (since 19 April 2022)

cabinet: NA

elections/appointments: formerly, the president was 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: 2012: in a special election held on 21 February 2012, Abd Rabuh Mansur HADI (GPC) was elected as a consensus president

note: on 7 April 2022, President Abd Rabuh Mansur HADI announced the dismissal of Vice President ALI MUHSIN al-Ahmar and the formation of a Presidential Council, an eight-member body chaired by former minister Rashad AL-ALIMI; on 19 April 2022, the Council was sworn in before Parliament and began assuming the responsibilities of the president and vice president and carrying out the political, security, and military duties of the government

Legislative branch

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)

elections: Shura Council - last appointments NA (next appointments NA)
House of Representatives - last held in April 2019 (next to be held NA)

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

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

General People’s Congress or GPC (3 factions: pro-Hadi [Abdrabbi Mansur HADI], pro-Houthi [Sadeq Ameen Abu RAS], pro-Saleh [Ahmed SALEH]
Nasserist Unionist People's Organization [Abdulmalik al-MEKHLAFI]
National Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party [Qassem Salam SAID]
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

AFESD, AMF, CAEU, CD, EITI (temporarily suspended), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMHA, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNVIM, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Mohammed Al-HADHRAMI (since 2019)

chancery: 2319 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 965-4760

FAX: [1] (202) 337-2017

email address and website:
Information@yemenembassy.org

https://www.yemenembassy.org/

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Steven H. FAGIN (since 1 June 2022); note - the embassy closed in March 2015; Yemen Affairs Unit currently operates out of US Embassy Riyadh

embassy: previously - Sa'awan Street, Sanaa

mailing address: 6330 Sanaa Place, Washington DC  20521-6330

telephone: US Embassy Riyadh [966] 11-488-3800
previously - [967] 1 755-2000

FAX: US Embassy Riyadh [966] 11-488-7360

email address and website:
YemenEmergencyUSC@state.gov

https://ye.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

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)

golden eagle; national colors: red, white, black

National anthem

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 4 (3 cultural, 1 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Old Walled City of Shibam (c); Old City of Sana'a (c); Historic Town of Zabid (c); Socotra Archipelago (n)

Economy

Economic overview

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.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$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: 100

Real GDP growth rate

-5.9% (2017 est.)

-13.6% (2016 est.)

-16.7% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 219

Real GDP per capita

$2,500 (2017 est.)

$2,700 (2016 est.)

$3,200 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 204

GDP (official exchange rate)

$54.356 billion (2018 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 20.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 11.8% (2017 est.)

services: 67.9% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

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.)

Agricultural products

mangoes/guavas, potatoes, sorghum, onions, milk, poultry, watermelons, grapes, oranges, bananas

Industries

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

Labor force - by occupation

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, youth ages 15-24

total: 24.5%

male: 23.5%

female: 34.6% (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 57

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.6%

highest 10%: 30.3% (2008 est.)

Budget

revenues: 2.821 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 4.458 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

74.5% of GDP (2017 est.)

68.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$1.236 billion (2017 est.)

-$1.868 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 153

Exports

$384.5 million (2017 est.)

$940 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 195

Exports - partners

China 53%, Saudi Arabia 10%, United Arab Emirates 7%, Australia 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, gold, fish, industrial chemical liquids, scrap iron (2019)

Imports

$4.079 billion (2017 est.)

$3.117 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 149

Imports - partners

China 25%, Turkey 10%, United Arab Emirates 9%, Saudi Arabia 8%, India 7% (2019)

Imports - commodities

wheat, refined petroleum, iron, rice, cars (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$245.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$592.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 170

Debt - external

$6.805 billion (2018 est.)

$7.181 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 125

Exchange rates

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

Electricity access

population without electricity: 16 million (2019)

electrification - total population: 47% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 72% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 31% (2019)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 1.772 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 2,677,920,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 753 million kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 84.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 15.4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 22,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 22,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 70,100 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 75,700 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 barrels/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 barrels/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 3 billion barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 89.906 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 89.906 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2020 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 478.554 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

10.158 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 79,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 9.896 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 183,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 105

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1.24 million (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 4 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 15,357,900 (2019)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 55.18 (2019)

country comparison to the world: 68

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Yemen continues to provide an exceptionally challenging market for telcos; civil unrest has caused havoc and devastation across most parts of the country, while the threat of sanctions has also made it a challenging environment in which to operate; a large proportion of the population requires humanitarian assistance, and there is little disposable income for services upon which telcos can generate revenue; essential telecom infrastructure, such as mobile towers and fiber cabling, has often been targeted, destroyed, or damaged by the opposing sides in the ongoing conflict; these difficulties have proved to be a disincentive to telcos investing in infrastructure, with the result that the country lacks basic fixed-line infrastructure, and mobile services are based on outdated GSM; this has prevented the development of a mobile broadband sector, or the evolution of mobile data services; the ownership of telecommunication services, and the scrutiny of associated revenues and taxes, have become a political issue in Yemen; in 2019 the recognized government moved Tele Yemen’s headquarters from Sana’a to Aden in a bid to regain control of the company; until telecom infrastructure can be improved across Yemen, and until civil unrest eases, there will be little progress for the sector; MTN Group in November 2021 completed its exit from the country, having incurred losses for several years, and considered that continuing its presence in this market was no longer worth its while. (2022)

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 roughly 4 per 100 but mobile cellular use expanding at over 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 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced a downturn, particularly in mobile device production; progress towards 5G implementation has resumed, as well as upgrades to infrastructure; consumer spending on telecom services has increased due to the surge in demand for capacity and bandwidth; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home is still evident, and the spike in this area has seen growth opportunities for development of new tools and increased services

Broadcast media

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 users

total: 7,873,719 (2019 est.)

percent of population: 27% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 72

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 391,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 98

Transportation

National air transport system

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 (2018) mt-km

Airports - with paved runways

total: 17

over 3,047 m: 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 9

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 40

over 3,047 m: 3

2,438 to 3,047 m: 5

1,524 to 2,437 m: 7

914 to 1,523 m: 16

under 914 m: 9 (2021)

Pipelines

641 km gas, 22 km liquid petroleum gas, 1,370 km oil (2013)

Roadways

total: 71,300 km (2005)

paved: 6,200 km (2005)

unpaved: 65,100 km (2005)

country comparison to the world: 67

Merchant marine

total: 34

by type: general cargo 2, oil tanker 4, other 28 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 130

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Aden, Al Hudaydah, Al Mukalla

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Republic of Yemen Government (ROYG) forces; Ministry of Defense: Yemeni National Army, Air Force and Air Defense, Navy and Coastal Defense Forces, Border Guard, Strategic Reserve Forces (includes Special Forces and Presidential Protection Brigades, which are under the Ministry of Defense but responsible to the president), Popular Committee Forces (government-backed tribal militia); Ministry of Interior: Special Security Forces (paramilitary; formerly known as Central Security Forces), Political Security Organization (state security), National Security Bureau (intelligence), Counterterrorism Unit

Saudi-backed forces: paramilitary/militia border security brigades based largely on tribal or regional affiliation (deployed along the Saudi-Yemen border, especially the areas bordering the governorates of Saada and Al-Jawf)

United Arab Emirates-backed forces include tribal and regionally-based militia and paramilitary forces (concentrated in the southern governates):  Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces, including the Security Belt Forces, the Shabwani and Hadrami “Elite” Forces, the Support and Backup Forces (aka Logistics and Support Forces), Facilities Protection Forces, and Anti-Terrorism Forces; Republican Forces; Joint Forces; note – under the 2019 Riyadh Agreement, the STC forces were to be incorporated into Yemen’s Ministries of Defense and Interior under the authority of the HADI government

Huthi: ground, air/air defense, coastal defense, presidential protection, special operations, missile, and tribal militia forces (2022)

note: a considerable portion--up to 70 percent by some estimates--of Yemen’s military and security forces defected in whole or in part to former president SALAH and the Huthi opposition in 2011-2015

Military expenditures

prior to the start of the civil war in 2014, annual military expenditures were approximately 4-5% of Yemen's GDP 

Military and security service personnel strengths

information limited and widely varied; Yemen Government: up to 300,000 estimated military, paramilitary, militia, and other security forces; UAE- and Saudi-backed forces: estimated 150-200,000 trained militia and paramilitary fighters; Huthis: up to 200,000 estimated fighters (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

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 the start of the civil war in 2014, it has received limited amounts of donated equipment from some Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia and UAE

Huthi forces are armed largely with weapons seized from Yemeni Government forces (2021)

Military service age and obligation

18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2001; 2-year service obligation (note - limited information since the start of the civil war in 2014) (2021)

Military - note

in 2015, a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states intervened militarily in Yemen in support of the Republic of Yemen Government (ROYG) against the separatist Huthis; as of 2022, Saudi military forces continued to conduct operations in Yemen; Saudi Arabia also has raised and equipped paramilitary/militia security forces in Yemen based largely on tribal or regional affiliation to deploy along the Saudi-Yemen border, especially the areas bordering the governorates of Saada and Al-Jawf

the United Arab Emirates (UAE) intervened in Yemen in 2015 as part of the Saudi-led coalition with about 3,500 troops, as well as supporting air and naval forces; UAE withdrew its main military force from Yemen in 2019, but has retained a small military presence while working with proxies in southern Yemen, most notably the Southern Transitional Council (STC); as of 2021, UAE had recruited, trained, and equipped an estimated 150-200,000 Yemeni fighters and formed them into dozens of militia and paramilitary units

Iran has provided some military and political support to the Huthis (2022)

Maritime threats

the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation has issued Maritime Advisory 2022-003 (Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean-Violence Due to Regional Conflict and Piracy) effective 28 February 2022, which states in part the "Conflict in Yemen continues to pose potential risk to US flagged commercial vessels transiting the southern Red Sea, Bab al Mandeb Strait, and Gulf of Aden. Threats may come from a variety of different sources including, but not limited to, missiles, rockets, projectiles, mines, small arms, unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned surface vessels, or waterborne improvised explosive devices. These threat vectors continue to pose a direct or collateral risk to US flagged commercial vessels operating in the region. Additionally, piracy poses a threat in the Gulf of Aden, Western Arabian Sea, and Western Indian Ocean."

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)/Qods Force; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham - Yemen; al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

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

Disputes - international

Yemen-Oman: none identified

Yemen-Saudia Arabia: in 2004, Saudi Arabia reinforced its concrete-filled security barrier along sections of the fully demarcated border with Yemen to stem illegal cross-border activities, including militants and arms; in 2013 and 2015, Saudi Arabia again erected fences


 

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 69,785 (Somalia), 18,687 (Ethiopia) (2022)

IDPs: 4,288,739 (conflict in Sa'ada Governorate; clashes between al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula and government forces) (2022)