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الجمهورية اليمنية

al-Jumhūriyya al-Yamaniyya
Yemeni Republic
Flag of yemen
Yemen coat of arms
flag emblem
Official language Arabic
Capital Sanaa ( de jure )
Aden ( de facto )
Form of government republic
Government system Presidential system ( de jure )
Head of state President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi
Head of government Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malek
surface 528,076 km²
population 30,536,729 (July 2017) ( 47. )
Population density 53 inhabitants per km²
Population development   + 2.37% (2016)
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 16,511 million ( 117. )
  • $ 38,595 million ( 118. )
  • 551 USD ( 181. )
  • 1,229 USD ( 185. )
Human Development Index   0.482 ( 168th ) (2016)
currency Yemeni Rial (YER)
independence North Yemen : October 30, 1918 ( Ottoman Empire ); South Yemen : November 30, 1967 ( Great Britain )
National anthem National anthem of Yemen
National holiday May 22 (unification of North and South Yemen 1990)
Time zone UTC + 3
License Plate YEM
ISO 3166 YE , YEM, 887
Internet TLD .ye
Telephone code +967
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The Republic of Yemen (officially Yemeni Republic , Arabic الجمهورية اليمنية, DMG al-Ǧumhūriyya al-Yamaniyya ) is a state in Western Asia , in the south of the Arabian Peninsula . It is about one and a half times the size of Germany and borders Saudi Arabia to the north, Oman to the east, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea to the south, and the Red Sea to the west . The states of Djibouti and Eritrea are about 20 and 30 kilometers away on the other side of the Red Sea. The coastline is 2400 kilometers; the internal borders are 1746 kilometers long. Yemen also includes the 3814 km² island group of Socotra and numerous smaller islands in Bab al-Mandab in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.

In 1990 the two former states of North Yemen (capital Sanaa) and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (southeast, capital Aden ) united to form the current state. Since 2013 fighting Shiite Huthi -Rebellen, followers of ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh , Al-Qaeda offshoot of AQAP , with the army of the central government supported by the separatists of South Yemen for power. In this conflict, the Houthi militias succeeded in conquering the capital Sanaa and large parts of the country; in the meantime they were on the verge of conquering the provisional capital of Aden. As a result, Saudi Arabia, with the military involvement of eight other states, began a military intervention on March 25, 2015 under the name Storm of Resolve in favor of President Hadi and Prime Minister Khalid Bahah . In the course of the war, cholera broke out in Yemen in 2016 and has since caused the most severe occurrence of the disease globally and historically. Over 1.4 million fell ill and more than 2,800 died. According to the UN , 80 percent of the population are dependent on humanitarian aid as a result of the military intervention.

Yemen comes last on the Global Innovation Index , which in 2016 assessed the innovative capacity of a total of 128 countries. Yemen is also the last in the Global Gender Gap Report 2016, which measures the equality of men and women in a country. Yemen leads the Fragile States Index in first place.


Natural space

Yemen can be divided into three major landscapes:

The gently sloping coastal plain , between 30 and 60 kilometers wide, is divided, especially in the southwest, by protruding mountain flanks. Sometimes there are witnesses of earlier volcanism; Aden , for example , the former capital of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen ( South Yemen ), lies in a double crater . The plain on the west coast, the Tihama , is dominated by sand and gravel surfaces.

Jebel Haraz

Towards the interior of the country, the rugged peripheral mountain range rises steeply, in the west several times over 3000 meters high . The Jabal an-Nabi Shuʿaib rises southwest of the capital Sanaa , at 3760 meters the highest mountain in the country.

A highland joins the mountains, with average heights of 2000 to 2500 meters. It is criss-crossed by wadis ; the best known is the Wadi Hadramaut , which runs parallel to the south coast . To the northeast, the highlands descend in steps to the central Arabian sand desert ar-Rubʿ al-Chali .


The islands and the coastal plain are hot and humid and overall very little rainfall (Aden: January mean 25 ° C, June mean 33 ° C, 40 mm annual precipitation). Here the humidity is very high at 60 to 85 percent all year round. Precipitation is extremely low all year round and is usually only between 25 mm and 150 mm, which is equivalent to 5 to 15 rainy days a year. In the winter half of the year it is very warm, with 19 to 23 ° C at night and 28 to 31 ° C during the day. The summers are often unbearably hot due to the high humidity and daytime temperatures of 34 to 38 ° C and more. In addition, the night values ​​usually do not drop below 26 ° C, and there are often even periods of tropical nights with consistently above 30 ° C. The only, but very rare, cooling in summer is the occasional foothills of the Indian monsoon , which sometimes make it to the south-east coast of Yemen with light rain showers (they are completely absent on the west coast). However, this is offset by heat waves of 40 ° C and above. A phenomenon on the coasts is not infrequent morning fog , which the strong sun rays soon clear. On the west coast it is largely winter fog, on the southeast coast it is summer fog.

The mountains take up more than a third of the country and are shaped by the main mountain range of Al-Sarat . This mountain region knows many, very densely populated basins , which are consistently at an altitude of 1500 to 2500 meters. The climate here is very mild for the region. The winters are dry and characterized by high temperature fluctuations: at night it often cools down to almost freezing point (0 to 4 ° C), while during the day the warming rays of the sun ensure pleasant values ​​(22 to 24 ° C). The summer is moderately humid, which mainly benefits agriculture. The highest rainfall is recorded in the Yemeni mountains. In some areas it rains up to 50 days a year (200 to 700 mm), with the focus of precipitation in the period between March and August. On rainy days it is a little cooler, otherwise the daytime temperatures rise to 26 to 30 ° C, but in the nights it remains at rather subdued values ​​of 9 to 13 ° C. The air humidity is medium all year round and levels out at around 40 percent.

The climate in the highlands is largely dry all year round (5 to 25 rainy days). The winters are mild, but subject to large temperature fluctuations (23 to 28 ° C during the day, 0 to 6 ° C at night), the summers are relatively hot with daily values ​​around 36 ° C, followed by cool nights (10 to 16 ° C). At the edges of the desert, values ​​of 45 ° C are not uncommon. The air is rather dry all year round (25 to 45 percent).

Flora and fauna

Beach on the Red Sea near Chaucha


Yemen lies on the border between the plant kingdom of the Holarctic and the Paleotropic . It only houses a steppe landscape in the coastal plain . Towards the mountains, the vegetation corresponds to that of a thorn bush savannah . In the mountains, which are over 3000 meters high, there is an Afro-Alpine, frost-tolerant plant cover. Only in the extreme east does the vegetation gradually turn into a real desert via the semi-desert stage ; through millennia of cultivation (logging, grazing, arable farming) only remnants of near-natural plant communities are left.


Yemen is home to an abundance of endemic plant species. Small mangrove areas occur along the Red Sea coast. Acacias largely determine the landscape. Depending on the altitude and the amount of precipitation - from the drier (lower altitudes) to the more humid (high altitudes) - the following zoning occurs: Acacia tortilis, Acacia mellifera (honey acacia), Acacia asak, A. etbaica . A. ehrenbergiana and A. oerfota (from urfut, the "smelly") are common in wadis in the mountains and in the Tihama. Yemen was famous in ancient times for its "scented bushes" (incense route). Frankincense ( Boswellia sacra ) on the Jol plateau in the south, myrrh ( Commiphora erythrea, C. myrrha ) and balsam bush ( C. opobalsamum ) grow on the damp, western mountain slopes. The imposing flowering desert rose ( Adenium obesum ) is considered the country's national tree. Large strangler figs ( Ficus sycomorus ) and tamarinds ( Tamarindus indica ) grow in deeply incised wadis . From the group of millet growing millet ( Pennisetum ) rather in the lowlands of the Tihama and proso millet ( Panicum miliaceum ) more in the mountainous areas. Wheat and barley grow in the high areas. Coffee occurs at altitudes between 1000 and 2000 m, with the lower limit being formed by heat and the upper limit by frost. The ecologically much more undemanding qat , the well-known drug plant in Yemen, has largely displaced coffee. Henna bushes grow at medium altitudes with sufficient water supply. Cultivated date palms ( Phoenix dactylifera ) occur along rivers with high groundwater levels. Okra , peppers, and broad beans are important vegetable crops. Tropical fruits such as papaya and bananas are cultivated in the lowlands, apples and pears grow in the mountains. Melons are found at almost all altitudes.


The abundance of reptile species is normal for a dry area. The location in the southwest zone of the Arabian Peninsula has produced various endemics that only live in Yemen. The Yemen monitor lizard ( Varanus jemense ) climbing trees was not scientifically described until 1988. The existence of this animal species was unknown to science until 1985. The Yemen chameleon ( Chamaeleo calyptratus ) and the Yemen agame ( Acanthocerus adramitanus ) are other colorful endemic representatives. The bird life is also abundant due to the country's location and topography. Goliath Heron ( Ardea goliath ) on the coast, spectacular species such as hammerhead (Scopus umbretta) Abessinische European Roller and various sunbirds to wadis of Gebirgstihama, steppe eagle ( Aquila nipalensis orientalis ) and Short-toed Eagle ( Circaetus gallicus ), various harriers ( Circus ) in the hill country and griffon vulture Everywhere in the country where large carrion attracts them, there are striking representatives of birds.

Wild mammals have become rare because of extreme hunting. Mountain animals such as the Nubian ibex and steppe animals such as the oryx have already died out or are threatened with extinction. Baboons still exist in inaccessible areas of the Jabal Burrah . Some leopards are also present in Yemen. There are also said to be smaller populations of hyenas . The Gulf of Aden is rich in fish, especially sardines , tuna and sharks .


Yemen has an extremely young population

The population of Yemen is growing rapidly, rising from 17.8 to 28.2 million between 2000 and 2017. On average, it is very young; almost half are 15 years or younger. This results in a poor ratio between the employed and inactive population (100: 477) and puts a heavy burden on the public infrastructure and the labor market: the population between the ages of 15 and 24 was almost 4 million and for Estimated at more than 5 million in 2010; 10 million are expected for 2050. The urban population is growing by almost 5% annually. Youth unemployment in 2005/2006 was estimated at 29%, 57% of all unemployed were young people. Due to the high birth rate, the population will grow to almost 50 million by the year 2050 (UN estimate), which will further burden economic and political stability. Yemen’s limited resources can hardly support the growing population.

According to the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there were around 250,000 refugees in urban areas of Yemen in July 2015. Most of them were from Somalia. On September 5, 2005, at least 58 Somali refugees drowned off the coast of Yemen during the sea escape organized by smugglers' gangs. Another 155 were missing after they had been forced to swim ashore several kilometers from the coast. According to the UNHCR, other accidents also occurred in the following months.

Population development

Population development in millions of inhabitants
year population
1950 04,402,000
1960 05,172,000
1970 06,194,000
1980 08,120,000
1990 12,057,000
2000 17,875,000
2010 23,607,000
2017 28,250,000

Source: UN


Distribution of ethno-religious groups in Yemen with Shiite (green) and Sunni (yellow) Arabs (2002)
Men from Yemen

Around 97 percent of the population are Arabs . The population of Tihama is partly of black African origin: the Achdam population group is said to be of Ethiopian descent. The Achdam are still a discriminated “ caste ” in Yemeni society, which leads to problems. Around one percent of the population are Pakistani or Muslim Indian labor migrants, around two percent are ethnic Somali , many of whom have lived in the country for a longer period of time.

In 2007, Yemen hosted around 110,000 refugees from Somalia . In 2007 alone, 30,000 people fled Somalia across the Gulf of Aden towards Yemen, with an estimated 1,400 people who drowned or disappeared on the crossing. Furthermore, the conflict in the north of the country has made 35,000 refugees in their own country ( internally displaced persons ). The treatment of refugees in Yemen is described as inadequate .

The official language is standard Arabic. Bedouin dialects and South Arabic languages are also used. Foreign language skills suitable for communication are very rare even in the south; the most widely taught foreign language in schools is English, which is mainly found in the south, which was formerly colonized by Great Britain.



Almost all of Yemen's residents are Muslim . The Sunnis make up the largest proportion , mostly followers of the Shafiite school of law . A large minority (30–45% of the population) belong to the Shiite Zaidis . A small minority of Ismailis and a diaspora of fewer Jews (around 300) live in North Yemen . 4,500 religious schools were closed and foreign students were expelled from the country. The number of Christians is estimated at a few hundred to a few thousand.

Religiously motivated armed uprisings were repeatedly fought by the military; most recently since 2004 in the northern Sa'da governorate . The al-Haq party, whose leaders are believed to have had links with the insurgents, was banned in 2007. The government tries to curb extremism by monitoring sermons in mosques and observing the activities of Islamic organizations. However, there are several large Salafist religious schools in Yemen , such as the “Dar al-Hadith” in Dammaj near Saadah.

The constitution of Yemen declares Islam the state religion and requires that the President of the Republic should fulfill his duties as a Muslim . At the same time, the constitution grants freedom of belief . This is only partially implemented by the government: proselytizing and proselytizing among Muslims are prohibited, a special permit is required for the construction of non-Islamic houses of prayer, non-Muslims are allowed to participate in elections, but are not allowed to stand for election. Public schools only offer Islamic religious instruction. The public consumption of alcohol is a criminal offense in Yemen under Islamic law. Homosexual acts are also prohibited and can be punished with death.

Social situation

There is no social security system; The traditional family association is still the most important provider of social security. Falling oil revenues and the social crisis, exacerbated by massive population growth and water shortages, are an additional threat to the stability of the Yemeni state.


For 2015 it was estimated that 85 percent of men and 55 percent of women can read and write. Thus, the illiteracy rate in the population over 15 years was just under 30 percent. In Yemen, compulsory schooling is anchored in law and school attendance is free, but the rate of school dropouts is high. In 2012, 86 percent of all children started school, but only 60 percent of girls completed elementary school. In most cases the reason for this is that the girls are forced to marry at a young age. The teaching conditions in Yemeni schools are poor and the quality of education is extremely poor. In particular in the natural sciences, mathematics and Arabic, the performance of the students is below average compared to the other countries in the region. Although schooling is compulsory under the laws of Yemen and school attendance is free, only about 75 percent of children attend primary school. The proportion is even lower for girls; only 65 percent of school-age girls go to school. After completing primary school, only 37 percent of young people - 26 percent of girls - receive further training. These low percentages are due on the one hand to the costs associated with school attendance ($ 10 per child per year) and on the other hand to the lack of the necessary infrastructure. Educational institutions and teaching materials are insufficient and only of poor quality.

Government spending on education rose from 4.5 percent of GDP in 1995 to 9.6 percent of GDP in 2005. With the support of international organizations, several programs are underway to improve school infrastructure and to reduce the disadvantage of girls.

There are seven state and eight private universities in Yemen. The most important university in the country is the University of Sanaa , founded in 1970 in Sanaa, and the forerunner of Aden University was also founded in 1970 . The number of those who now study abroad at their own expense is growing; Yemeni universities remain heavily dependent on foreign staff. The most common foreign language is English; however, the spread of foreign languages ​​is very low.

Health system

Development of child mortality (deaths per 1000 births)

In recent years, Yemen has made significant progress in expanding and improving its health system. Nevertheless, the health system is underdeveloped. In 2004 5 percent of the gross domestic product was spent on health. The WHO estimated that spending per capita was $ 34, which is very low compared to other Middle Eastern countries. In 2004 there were three doctors for every 10,000 people, in 2005 there were 6.1 hospital beds for 10,000 people.

The supply of medical services is particularly poor in rural areas. While 80 percent of cities have medical facilities, only 25 percent of rural areas do. There are no emergency medical services or blood banks. Many children die of diseases for which there are vaccinations or which could otherwise be prevented or treated. The number of HIV- positive residents of Yemen was estimated at 12,000 in 2003.

Life expectancy has increased by 14 years in the past ten years, but it remains low compared to other developing countries. It is around 64.2 years (62.2 years for men, 64.9 years for women). The fertility rate is around 5.9 live births per woman, although it is significantly higher in rural areas (7.0) than in cities (5.0). Women without education have more children on average (6.9) than women with basic education (3.2). In 2016, the infant mortality rate was 55 per 1,000 live births.

Not least, malaria is a problem in Yemen , while it has already been eliminated in almost all other Arab states; Further progress in the fight against malaria in the Middle East depends on progress in Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

Cholera in Yemen: Graphic representation of the diseases per 10,000 inhabitants in the individual governorates of Yemen since April 24, 2017, as of April 30, 2019

In September and October 2016, cholera occurred in Yemen, followed by two epidemic-like waves of the infectious disease . Over 1,700,000 people fell ill with cholera and more than 3,430 died in the course of both waves. The second cholera epidemic is the largest ever recorded in human history.

On April 9, 2020, the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition announced a two-week ceasefire due to the COVID-19 pandemic at the initiative of the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, but the Houthi rebels reject it as a "political maneuver". A day later, the government's emergency committee confirmed a first infection with the coronavirus on Twitter . Aid organizations are warning of a disaster amid poor medical care and the possible spread of the pandemic in the country.

Development of life expectancy

Period Life expectancy Period Life expectancy
1950-1955 34.7 1985-1990 56.8
1955-1960 34.7 1990-1995 58.5
1960-1965 34.7 1995-2000 59.8
1965-1970 39.1 2000-2005 61.0
1970-1975 43.3 2005-2010 62.8
1975-1980 48.1 2010-2015 64.2
1980-1985 53.0

Source: UN


Apart from brief intervals, the history of Yemen has been shaped by poverty. This is caused by scarce water resources, little land available for agriculture, harsh geography and political instability.

Estimates of how many Yemenis live in poverty range from 41.8 percent (1998) to 59.5 percent (2002). The country's Human Poverty Index is given at 36.6 percent, with Yemen doing poorly particularly in terms of education, access to clean drinking water and nutrition for children. The number of those who cannot eat adequately has increased in recent years. 57 percent of people do not have access to sanitary facilities and 32 percent do not have access to clean drinking water.

View of the city of Shibam

In Yemen, poverty is primarily a rural problem. 83 percent of the poor live in rural areas, where almost half of the population lives below the poverty line. The rural population has to spend two thirds of their income on food. Poverty is not evenly distributed in Yemen: the governorates with the highest proportion of poor are Ta'izz , Ibb , Abyan and Lahidsch , while al-Baida ' , the capital district , Sa'da and Adan are least affected by poverty .

The number of people in Yemen who cannot eat adequately is estimated at 8 million; 38 percent of the population are exposed to great food insecurity. The average calorie intake per person is only 2000 kcal . Along with Sudan, Yemen is the country with the largest army of hungry people. Large families, the rural population, families with only small areas of land available, or households that have to be supported by women alone are particularly at risk of hunger. The number of hungry people actually increased between 1990 and 2002, both in absolute terms (from 4.2 million to 7.8 million) and their share of the total population (from 34 to 38 percent). Thus, Yemen is not only missing the first UN Millennium Development Goals , namely to reduce the number of starving people, but it is even moving further away from it. In 2003, 45.6 percent of children under five in Yemen were underweight.

The civil war and the Saudi-led military intervention have further exacerbated the food situation and the extent of poverty. Almost two thirds of the population were threatened with hunger in 2017 and had to rely on help from abroad.


Pre-Islamic period

Late Hellenistic influenced Qataban bronze: Cupid on a lion, around 75–50 BC BC, excavated at the southern city gate of Timna at the Yafasch house under Wendell Phillips .

In the pre-Islamic period under the cultures of the Mineans and Sabaeans (from the 2nd millennium BC), the area of ​​today's Yemen developed as a hub for long-distance trade between East Africa, India and the Mediterranean and the main supplier of coveted products such as precious stones, spices and incense and myrrh to the political and cultural center of Arabia. The economic basis was a highly developed irrigation technology that made the rain from the mountains usable. The most important installation was the dam of Ma'rib (8th century BC ) (rebuilt today as a major project ).

Among several regional kingdoms, Saba practiced particularly from the 6th to 4th centuries BC. A certain supremacy. With the establishment of the new capital Zafar around 20 BC The rise of the Himyar empire began (until 525 AD). The Romans named Yemen Arabia Felix (Happy Arabia) because of its riches . Their attempt to conquer the country failed. After their defeat by the Romans in the First Jewish War in AD 70, refugees brought Judaism to Yemen. Although the Himjarites succeeded in unifying the country again in the 3rd century, it was conquered by the Ethiopian Kingdom of Aksum in 525 .

Under Ethiopian influence, Christianity spread in parts of southern Arabia. From approx. 570 to 627 Yemen was a province of the Persian Sassanid Empire . A Persian legacy was the ar-Radrad mine, rediscovered in 1980 .

The Islamic Dynasties

Cityscape of Djibla with the Queen Arwa Mosque
al-Hajara with the typical Yemeni facade paints

In the 7th century the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed spread to the Arabian Peninsula. The last Persian governor, Badham, became a Muslim in 628. From this time Yemen fell under the rule of Islam and from 661 belonged to the empire of the Umayyad caliphs . Due to religious and political power struggles, this empire disintegrated into separate states at the end of the 9th century. In the 10th century a Zaidite imamate was formed in Yemen , which continued to exist with interruptions until the middle of the 20th century. In addition, various other dynasties ruled over large parts of Yemen at times: the Ismaili Fatimids and Sulaihids (11th / 12th centuries), the Ayyubids (12th / 13th centuries) and Rasulids (13th-15th centuries) and from 1538 to 1630 the Ottomans . In the 16th century, the Portuguese temporarily occupied Aden and Socotra .

Division between British and Turks

In 1839 the British occupied Aden, which became a base on the important sea route to India (crown colony from 1937). With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Aden's strategic importance for Great Britain increased further. In 1905 the Ottoman Empire and Great Britain established the border between their protectorates. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, north Yemen became an independent kingdom in 1918 under Imam Yahya . This led to a territorial conflict with Saudi Arabia, which erupted in a war between the two monarchies in 1934 . In 1944, while in exile in Aden, merchants, intellectuals and religious leaders founded the "Free Yemenites" opposition movement against Yahya. In the course of a revolt, the group succeeded in murdering him in 1948; however, his son, Imam Ahmad, was able to put down the uprising. Another uprising failed in 1955.

Two independent states

North and South Yemen

However, the conservative imams in North Yemen had not succeeded in modernizing the country. Ahmad rejected Gamal Abdel Nasser's Arab nationalism, which, however, met with the approval of large sections of the armed forces. Before the situation could escalate, the ruler died. After Ahmad's death, on September 26, 1962, a group of nationalist Sunni officers led by General Abdallah al-Sallal overthrew the Zaidi monarchy and proclaimed the Yemeni Arab Republic in the north . The last Zaidi imam, Muhammad al-Badr, fled to the mountains to meet loyal tribes. In the ensuing eight-year civil war between royalists and republicans, Great Britain and Saudi Arabia supported the overthrown monarchy in a proxy war, while Egypt helped the republicans with a 20,000-strong expeditionary army, which ultimately prevailed. As in London , fears dominated in Washington that a failure by the Saudis could strengthen pan-Arab nationalism and thus endanger the Saudi monarchy. Even after the defeat of al-Badr, the political situation remained unstable. 200,000 people died in the civil war in which Egyptian troops also used chemical weapons ; the north was totally shattered. In 1970 the civil war ended with a compromise that did not satisfy either side and, above all, strengthened the autonomy of the tribes.

The south was also shaken by political unrest. Many left nationalists and communists had fled to Aden during the civil war. In 1963 the newly founded, more radical “National Liberation Front” (NLF) and the Cairo- supported, Arab nationalism “Front for the Liberation of South Yemen” (Flosy) started a guerrilla war against the colonial power Great Britain. The NLF was well equipped and also used mortars and bazookas in their fight. After Britain had promised independence for 1968, the NLF was able to bring most of the areas of the Crown Colony under its control with the help of the population. Great Britain then started negotiations with the NLF and withdrew its troops. On November 20, 1967, the last British High Commissioner, Humphrey Trevelyan, left Yemen. On November 30, 1967, the NLF proclaimed the Republic of South Yemen . As a result, there was a conflict between left forces, which dominated the NLF, and the military, which almost led to civil war. The new government under Qahtan Muhammad al-Sha'abi pursued a socialist course from the start and leaned closely on the Soviet Union . When the right wing of the NLF blocked the demands of the party congress, the "May 14th Movement" emerged to mobilize the people in support of the reforms. After a year this movement gained the upper hand against the army.

After the fall of as-Sallal in 1967, frequent changes of government and assassinations followed in the north. President Abdul Rahman al-Iriani was overthrown in 1974, his successor Ibrahim al-Hamdi was murdered in October 1977 and his successor Ahmed Hussein al-Ghashmi in June 1978. The worsening contrast between the fundamentalist Shiite tribal federations in the northeast and the predominantly Sunni, modern, western tendencies towards open-minded urban populations contributed to the conflict.

Contrary to Moscow and Beijing's advice, the south received a new, socialist constitution in 1970 after Salim Rubai Ali became the new head of state in 1969 . The result was the monopoly of the Yemeni Socialist Party (JSP), a Marxist unity party , and a total ban on traditionally important small businesses. In 1976, after repeated clashes, there was a reconciliation with Saudi Arabia, which, like Kuwait, offered extensive economic aid. In 1978 Ali Nasir Muhammad was head of state for a short time ; he was replaced in the same year by Abd al-Fattah Ismail . The charismatic Ismail resigned in 1980 for health reasons. Ali Nasir Muhammad, a ruthless and almost illiterate apparatchik , took power. He is associated with counter-revolutionary influences from abroad, especially Saudi Arabia and the USA . Ismail returned from Moscow in 1985 after a long convalescence . He had played a leading role in the fight against British colonial power and therefore still enjoyed great support. Soon after his return he was re-elected to the Politburo of the state party, where he had a majority of the members behind him. The economic ties to the Eastern bloc also increased. A civil war broke out on January 13, 1986, when Ali Nasir did not appear at the Politburo meeting, but instead his bodyguards killed Vice President Ali Ahmed Antar and four other members of the Politburo. Several thousand people died in the ensuing clashes, and Haidar Abu Bakr al-Attas came to power, while Ali Nasir, who was deposed on January 24, 1986, fled to northern Yemen with 60,000 others. In the Western media, this episode was communicated as a Moscow-backed failed coup attempt by communists against a moderate and pragmatic president.

In 1972, 1979 and 1981 there were numerous border incidents between the north and the south. At the same time, negotiations took place aimed at a political union between the two states. In 1973 an advance failed because of the North Yemeni resistance, but bilateral relations have improved since the early 1980s. In the 1980s, socialist South Yemen suffered from foreign policy pressures and domestic counterrevolutionary tendencies, especially during the Reagan era .

Unification and another civil war

On January 22, 1990, the Prime Ministers of both countries announced the opening of their common border. On May 22 of the same year, the Yemen Arab Republic and the Yemen People's Democratic Republic merged to form the Republic of Yemen ( merger (international law) ). The first all-Yemeni president was Ali Abdullah Salih , who had ruled the Yemen Arab Republic since 1978. In the Gulf War of 1990, Yemen still supported Iraq , which had a catastrophic effect for Yemen inasmuch as, as a voting member of the UN Security Council, it was now exposed to cuts, and often cancellations, of development aid measures by the Arab oil states. In addition, the Gulf States expelled all Yemeni labor migrants, i.e. around 800,000 people, from their countries, which led to the failure of remittances of around one billion dollars and an extremely heavy burden on the state budget. In 1999, Yemen was able to normalize its relations with Kuwait .

On April 27, 1993, the first free parliamentary elections took place in Yemen, in which three major parties faced each other: the General People's Congress, the Socialist Party and the Yemeni Association for Reforms (Islah). The coalition of Islah and the People's Congress almost became a model for Arab democratization. However, all parties kept their troops, which ensured a certain stability through military balance. On February 20, 1994, in Amman, Jordan, an agreement was signed between the political leaders of North and South Yemen, but this did not prevent the civil war between the parties that lasted from May to July 1994 and with the defeat of the southern armed forces and the flight into exile of many Yemenis and supporters of the Socialist Party ended. The civil war began when the Sanaa government declared a state of emergency. Between May 5 and July 7, 1994, 7,000 people lost their lives. The civil war was a blatant setback for the democratization process.

The parliamentary elections in April 1997 were boycotted by the socialists because they were discredited in the South Yemeni electorate after the civil war of 1994 and did not have the resources necessary for an election campaign due to the confiscation of their accounts and real estate after the end of the war, so President Salih henceforth with an absolute majority without which Islah could rule.

Increasing authoritarianism

On September 23, 1999, Salih was elected President for the fifth time. His only opponent, the long-time parliamentary chairman and Sheikh Abdallah al-Ahmar , had been chosen from among his own ranks, and Salih therefore received 96.3% of the vote. In just six years the country had become a one-party state again.

In February 2001 the state party was able to strengthen its power with a third constitutional reform secured by a referendum. The Consultative Council was converted into a second chamber ( Majlis asch-Shura ) and the presidential term of office now lasts seven instead of five years. The pressure on the opposition parties was immediately increased, although the regional elections in February 2002 led to pluralistic municipal and regional councils through a decentralization law .

Salih himself announced that he would not run in the next presidential election. He reversed this decision in June 2006 after mass demonstrations organized by his party called for his renewed candidacy. In 2006, Ali Abdullah Salih won the first genuinely competitive presidential election on the Arabian Peninsula against Faisal bin Shamlan, candidate for the opposition alliance, with 77.2% of the vote.

Worsened security situation

Since the deportation of Yemeni migrant workers from Saudi Arabia in 1991, attacks on Western facilities and tourists in Yemen have increased. Attacks abroad have also been linked to terrorist structures in Yemen (such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula).

The military conflict with the Zaidite al-Houthi movement in northern Yemen, which had also spread to neighboring governorates and Saudi Arabia, claimed thousands of lives and drove an estimated 77,000 civilians to flight. Hussein Badr ed-Din al-Huthi was killed in September 2004 after a three-month rebellion. On September 25, 2005, President Salih granted amnesty to the imprisoned followers (over 600 people) of the Shiite preacher; however, there were later new arrests and convictions, including death sentences. A secessionist movement in the former South Yemen has also been active since 2009 and sometimes has bloody clashes with units loyal to the regime.

In recent years there have been repeated kidnappings of foreign tourists. Unlike in Iraq or Afghanistan, these usually have no religious or ideological background. The kidnappers mostly wanted to use the hostages as leverage against the government, for example to release imprisoned tribesmen or to build schools or roads in their region. On December 28, 2005, Jürgen Chrobog , former State Secretary in the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, who was on a private trip to Yemen, was kidnapped together with his family, but released on December 31. This was the third abduction of foreigners within a few weeks. On Christmas weekend, two Austrians were released after being kidnapped for several days. The hostage-taking of five Italians on January 1, 2006 ended five days later with their release. Such kidnappings are not always harmless: on June 12, 2009, two cousins ​​were kidnapped in a desert region of Northern Yemen, where they worked as nurses, and shot a little later with their hands tied behind their backs. A Korean colleague also died.

By means of a spectacular escape on February 3, 2006, a group of 23 prisoners managed to escape from a maximum security prison in Sanaa. These included 13 members of al-Qaeda who had been arrested on October 6, 2002, for the attack on the US warship USS Cole in October 2000 and the French oil tanker Limbourg . Nine of the escapes could be caught again by May 2006. On February 27, the death penalty was carried out in Sanaa against the murder of three US employees at a mission hospital in Djibla in December 2002. The Yemeni government took an unusual approach with the re-education program for imprisoned Islamists led by judge al-Hitar.

As a result of the protests in the Arab world in early 2011, demonstrations also broke out in Yemen on January 27th. The demonstrators called for the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Salih , who has been in power for more than 30 years, and blames him for the poor economic situation of large sections of the population. Salih announced his resignation in November 2011. In the following presidential election , the previous Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi was elected "as the only candidate and protégé of Saudi Arabia" for a term of two years, during which he is supposed to bring about constitutional reform.

Protests in Yemen 2011

See also : Protests in Yemen 2011

Another civil war since 2013

When, after the elections in February 2012, President Ali Abdullah Salih resigned after 34 years of government, it was hoped that his successor Mansur Hadi would have more democracy and a balancing effect on the opponents. However, he proved to be unsuitable for this and soon lost control of his power apparatus. Individual generals have been fighting on their own with their troops since 2013.

Since the Shiite Houthi rebels from the former North Yemen conquered the capital Sanaa as well as the important port metropolis al-Hudaida , they have clashed with al-Qaeda fighters from the east in the coastal regions. The Yemeni al-Qaeda offshoot, which the US drone attacks were unable to significantly hinder, succeeded in capturing the provincial capital Ibb in 2014 and Mudaichira to the west . In mid-October 2014, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Houthi gathering, killing 50 people, and on October 21, 2014 a further 33 people died in a bomb in an office building.

The central government tries in vain to control the situation. Sunni tribal fighters have now joined forces with al-Qaeda against the Houthi, and the fighting is spreading.

On January 23, 2015, the president, prime minister and cabinet resigned. On February 6, 2015, the Houthi rebels announced a transitional constitution and declared parliament dissolved. It is to be provisionally replaced by a National Council with 551 members, and President Hadi for two years by a five-member presidential council.

Saudi Arabian Offensive 2015

War in Yemen, March 2016
  • Controlled by the Houthi
  • Controlled by followers of Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi
  • Controlled by the Southern Movement
  • Controlled by Al Qaeda
  • Controlled by the Islamic State
  • Controlled by local forces
  • On March 26, 2015, a military intervention with Saudi Arabian air strikes in Yemen called the Storm of Resolve began . The armed forces of Egypt , Bahrain , Qatar , Kuwaits , Jordan , Morocco , Sudan and the United Arab Emirates actively participated in the Saudi- led military intervention, which was logistically supported by the United States of America , France and Great Britain . At the beginning of July 2015, the UN declared the UN's highest level of emergency for Yemen due to the escalating humanitarian emergency during the war, while UNESCO declared two World Heritage Sites in Yemen to be threatened due to the armed conflict . Since then, "No-Strike" lists have been created by Blue Shield to protect cultural assets. According to the United Nations, over 4,600 civilians had been killed in Yemen by February 2017. According to the UN, at least 19 million Yemenis were dependent on humanitarian aid. The Norwegian Refugee Aid has issued many warnings of an acute food shortage. The supply line to the port of al-Hudaida is essential, as this is where most of the imports are processed. In January 2017, the international emergency medical aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) published a report on medical care in Yemen, highlighting the devastating situation in the city of Taizz, in the southern part of the country.



    Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi (right) with US Secretary of State John Kerry (2015)

    According to Article 1, Paragraph 1 of the 1994 Constitution, last amended in 2001, Yemen is an Arab-Islamic independent and sovereign state.

    houses of Parliament

    The parliament, the House of Representatives of Yemen has been dissolved since 2015, a new election was postponed indefinitely. According to the constitution, it is to be elected every six years and consists of 301 members (159 from the north and 111 from the south as well as 31 political personalities who represent the “national forces”). The last parliamentary elections on April 27, 2003 were won by the General People's Congress (MSA - formerly the unity party in North Yemen ) with 238 (1997: 187) seats. The Association for Reforms ( Islah - has received political impetus since the mujahideen returned from Afghanistan to their home countries) also won 46 (53), the Socialist Party of Yemen (YSP - formerly the Unity Party of South Yemen ) 8 (0), the Nasserist Unionist People's Party ( TWSN) shared with the Baath Arab Socialist Party (Baath) 5 (7) and independent candidates 4 (54) seats. The new elections scheduled for 2009 were postponed and then canceled.

    Women's suffrage should also be seen against this background . Before unification, women in what was then the Democratic Republic of Yemen in 1967, and in North Yemen in 1970, were given the right to vote and to stand as candidates. At the unification in 1990 the rights were confirmed. In the elections since 1990, women made up at least a third of the electorate, and their share rose to 42% in the 2003 general election. However, the number of women candidates for parliamentary seats decreased over the same period. The number of women parliamentarians also fell from 11 women in the parliament of the former People's Republic of Yemen before 1990 to one woman in parliament in 2003. Although women were courted by the parties as voters, they were less welcome in the active role as candidates.


    The head of state is elected by the people with the possibility of one re-election. All Yemenis aged 18 and over have the right to vote. President Salih served from 1978 to 2012, only in northern Yemen until unification in 1990. He was re-elected for a five-year term in 1999, and for another seven-year term in 2006 amid protests from opposition parties. His son Ahmad Salih was said to have intended to succeed his father in 2013.

    On November 23, 2011, Salih handed over power to his previous deputy Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi as a result of ongoing popular protests . In the early presidential election in Yemen in 2012 , he was elected unopposed candidate on February 21, 2012 as interim president for two years. New elections with several candidates planned for 2014 did not take place. Hadi resigned on January 22, 2015 and was placed under house arrest, but escaped and resigned on February 22. In March 2015 he fled to Saudi Arabia, where he has lived since then.

    Situation since 2015

    In the current civil war, there is a major main line of conflict between the Houthi, who are supported by Hezbollah and supplied with arms by Iran, and their opponents around the internationally recognized President Hadi, who receive their weapons from Saudi Arabia. The Southern Transitional Council around Aydarua al-Zubaidi, founded in May 2017, wants to restore an independent South Yemen and is cooperating with militias equipped by the United Arab Emirates. A large number of local militias and tribal leaders fight for their own interests. At the end of 2019, there were direct talks between the Houthi and Saudi Arabia on border issues, which the international community saw as a possible starting point for upcoming peace talks.

    Domestic politics

    Since 2004, the government has been trying to put down the uprising of the Zaidite movement “Believing Youth” (الشباب المؤمنين) under the leadership of the al-Houthi family in Sa'da Governorate . The "believing youth" oppose Sunni-Wahhabi conversion campaigns in the Zaidi north, against the disadvantage of the traditionally anti-republican governorates on the Saudi border in the development of the country and against the Yemeni government, which is perceived as an ally of the United States.

    The Hirak movement, on the other hand, is pursuing a secession of South Yemen following the civil war of 1994. Its leaders include exiled former socialist South Yemeni President Salim al-Bid, but also prominent Islamists. Since the beginning of 2009 , violent protests against the supremacy of the North Yemeni elite have flared up in the country's southern governorates (particularly Lahedsch , Aden , Abjan ).

    The conflicts are fueling fears that the state will lose control - which is already limited by the tribal structures - and that Yemen, like Afghanistan or Somalia, could become a failed state that offers refuge for terrorist movements. In this context, there is also the risk that al-Qaida terrorists from Somalia and Yemen will increasingly cooperate. On the other hand, the situation in Yemen is special in that the organs of the Yemeni state still exercise effective control over all parts of its territory, and the tribes are neither ethnically diverse nor are they in conflict with each other in larger associations. In large parts of the country, especially the cities and in the post-communist south, tribal structures no longer play a political role. Nevertheless, the lack of equipment and the vulnerability of the security organs to corruption in a geographically vast and increasingly poor country limit the state's ability to intervene.

    Justice and Human Rights

    The parliament is the legislative body, the judiciary autonomous. According to the constitution, only the imposition of the death penalty requires the approval of the state president, who is also in charge of the supervisory control body of the judiciary. The highest judicial organ is the Supreme Court. Islam is the state religion , Sharia applies . The strict orientation of the law leads to the denial of many human rights , such as the free choice of religion.

    The age of consent from which a person is legally regarded as capable of giving consent with regard to sexual acts was lowered in 1999 from the previous 15 years to the beginning of puberty , which in Yemen usually means an age of nine years. The proportion of girls who are married before they come of age is 37% in Yemen and is only exceeded by Somalia (45%). In this context, the case of a ten-year-old girl Nojoud Ali made headlines around the world at the beginning of 2008 , after she was divorced from her husband 22 years her senior in court. At the end of February 2009, the Yemeni parliament passed a law that sets the minimum age for marriage at 17 years. A group of prominent Yemeni religious figures opposed this law, calling it incompatible with Sharia law.

    Homosexual acts are a criminal offense. Penalties range from fines and flogging to the death penalty for men for homosexual intercourse.

    Yemen is one of the countries in which female genital cutting is practiced. Around 22.6% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 were affected in 1997. Although Yemen ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women back in 1984 , it is estimated that 50% of all married women are exposed to violence. Yemen has ratified the Additional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child , which prohibits the recruitment of children in armed conflicts.

    In the 2017 press freedom ranking published by Reporters Without Borders , Yemen was ranked 166th out of 180 countries. Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are not given. A journalist is in custody in Yemen.

    On January 22, 2018, a journalist, Mohamed Al Qadesi, was killed in Yemen. It has been proven that the victim's death is directly related to his journalistic activities.

    Foreign policy

    Protest against the war in Yemen , 2017

    Yemen is a member of the United Nations ( UN ) and the Arab League . Yemen wants to become a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council . In January 2002, Yemen joined the Gulf Cooperation Council, initially only as an observer. Yemen accuses Iran of supporting the Yemeni Shiite uprising in its own interest.

    The United States and Yemen are united by the fight against terrorism, but relations are always strained. Since the beginning of the Second Intifada in Palestine, Yemen has been adopting a tougher course in the Middle East conflict and is hesitant in working together for more security. But the use of a US drone that killed six alleged al-Qaida fighters in Yemen on November 3, 2002, and the murder of three American missionaries on December 31, 2002, are also straining relations. A large number of those detained in Guantanamo come from Yemen. Nevertheless, Washington is interested in strengthening the Yemeni government. In 2004, US President George W. Bush received Ali Abdullah Salih at the White House. The subsequent administration under President Obama also continued to lead military aid in Yemen, even after the fall of Salih.

    The conflict over the exact border with the Sultanate of Oman has been settled. The Jeddah Agreement ended the border disputes with Saudi Arabia . Yemen received a strip of territory under which there is most likely oil, and in return accepted the Taif 1934 Agreement , in which Imam Yahya bin Muhammad gave Saudi Arabia two provinces. With regard to the Hanisch Islands , the International Court of Justice was referred, which ruled against Eritrea in October 1998 .

    In 1998 diplomatic relations between Yemen and the Holy See were established, and France classified Yemen as a "Zone de solidarité prioritaire", which means increased cooperation between the two countries. In December 2000, the Yemeni government successfully mediated the Somalia conflict .


    The Yemeni armed forces officially emerged from the union of the armies of North and South Yemen in May 1990, with fighting between the two armies starting in May 1994, which could not be finally ended until they were fully combined in March 1995. In the wake of the civil war in Yemen and the military intervention in Yemen since 2015 , the armed forces are divided between supporters of ex-President Ali Abdullah Salih in the north and the troops allied with the Gulf Alliance in the south.


    Administrative division

    Yemen is divided into 21 governorates and the capital district. These 22 administrative units are divided into 333 districts, further into 2200 sub-districts, 36,986 villages and 91,489 districts ( localities and neighborhoods ).

    Seven of the 21 governorates formed South Yemen by 1990.

    In 2016, a commission set up by President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi recommended that Yemen be administratively divided into six regions - two of them in the former southern Yemen and four in northern Yemen. This should also include a decentralization of governance. These plans have not yet been implemented due to the civil war.


    Capital Sanaa

    The largest cities are (as of January 1, 2005): Sanaa 1,937,451 inhabitants, al-Hudaida 617,888 inhabitants, Taizz 615,467 inhabitants, Aden 550,744 inhabitants and al-Mukalla 258,428 inhabitants.


    Multi-storey residential buildings in the old town of Shibam, Wadi Hadhramaut, 1999

    The gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 28.1% in 2015 due to the civil war. In 2016 it shrank again by 4.2%. In the same year, agriculture had a share of 23.6%, industry of 8.8% and the service sector of 67.5% of GDP. In 1999 48.5% of the workforce were employed in agriculture, 15.1% in industry and 36.4% in the service sector. Unemployment averaged 27% in 2014 and inflation averaged 31.5%.

    With a gross domestic product adjusted for purchasing power of around 2500 US dollars per capita in 2016, Yemen was one of the poorest countries in the world. In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, the country ranks last (as of 2017–2018).

    In the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International , Yemen was ranked 175th out of 180 countries in 2017, making it one of the most corrupt countries in the world.


    Only 2.9% of Yemen's territory is arable, and less than 0.3% is built on year-round. Around 5,500 square kilometers are irrigated. Furthermore, almost 4% of the territory is forested. More than 70% of the country consists of desert.

    Agriculture in Yemen employs more than 50% of the labor force and contributes 20% to the gross domestic product. Are grown sorghum , especially sorghum , corn , fruits, vegetables and coffee. Agricultural productivity is low due to the lack of water resources and the scarcity of arable land. The grain harvest per hectare in Yemen is 800 kg, which is well below the world average of 3000 kg. Their own agriculture is therefore not able to feed the population. Yemen was still self-sufficient until a few years ago, but today it has to import 75% of its food, which is why food makes up 23% of all imports (world average: 7%). The inhabitants of Yemen are particularly exposed to rising world market prices for food due to their low incomes.

    The cultivation of the everyday drug Kath has displaced many traditional agricultural products in recent years, which has led to a further increase in import dependency for food. In 1990, Kath was grown on half of the available usable area, with an upward trend. Many families spend a remarkably high proportion of their income on Kath, and the price for Kath is very volatile . In total, about 5% of GDP is implemented with Kath. Aside from the impact on people's productivity, the cultivation of kath uses a lot of water. However, it offers the rural population the opportunity to earn a higher income than through subsistence farming or the cultivation of other crops and has thus slowed down the rural exodus and the rapid growth of the urban population.

    For several years now, an FAO training program has been trying to motivate people to grow vegetables. This is rejected by the male rural population because smoking together, often for hours, is a tradition. However, some peasant women like Ahlam al-Alaja have started it despite this resistance - and save many dollars every day in electricity costs for the water pumped up deeply. This is good for the environment and the loss of family income is low.

    Agriculture consumes 90% of the available water resources. However, the irrigation methods are inefficient and lossy, there is no state control over the use of the water and the water supply and sewage disposal companies do not have sufficient management and operational capacities. The large number of wells has led to a sharp drop in the groundwater level, in the region around Sanaa it drops by six to eight meters per year. The renewable freshwater resources for 2005 were estimated at 200 m³ per person. This is far below the global average of 6700 m³ and also below the level of 1000 m³, which is considered to be water scarcity; UNDP speaks of serious water stress . At the same time, the pollution of the available water resources increases. In addition, climate change is expected to lead to even greater drought in Yemen. Of the 146 countries for which the UNDP has calculated an Environmental Sustainability Index , Yemen is in 137th place. It is therefore questionable how long farmers can still settle in the Yemeni highlands, where the majority of the population lives.

    Fishing accounts for around 1.7% of GDP, but fish are the second most important export after oil. Around 290,000 tons of fish are caught annually, mostly by fishermen with small, unseaworthy boats. The infrastructure for cooling and processing fish as well as facilities for monitoring fishing activities is currently being built with the help of the World Bank.

    Mining and industry

    Yemen is an oil-producing state. However, its output is small compared to its neighbors, and the country is not an OPEC member. In contrast to other countries in the Middle East, the Yemeni government leaves the production of oil to foreign ( American , French and South Korean ) companies, who share the profits with the government. The remaining reserves were estimated at three billion barrels in 2007 , and the country's oil reserves are expected to be depleted by 2020. Daily oil production is also falling. It was 400,000 barrels per day in 2005; in 2008 only 350,000 barrels per day were produced.

    In order to be able to export the country's natural gas reserves better, a liquefaction plant was built in Balhaf for 2.6 billion US dollars . It was commissioned in 2009 and can produce 6.8 million tons of liquid gas per year, two thirds of which is exported to the USA. The income from oil exports currently make up around three quarters of the state budget. The export of liquefied gas can only partially compensate for the expected loss of income after the oil reserves have been exhausted.

    The share of the value added of the manufacturing industry in the GDP of Yemen is only 7%. This is also low for an Arab country, where the average is 9.5%. Most of the production takes place in small companies with one to four employees. They focus on the processing of agricultural products and the manufacture of materials for housing. In addition, the cement and textile industries have a certain importance.

    Foreign trade

    Crude oil and natural gas are Yemen's most important exports, accounting for 90% of all exports in 2007. The country also exports fish to a very limited extent. There are practically no other export goods. Mainly machines, vehicles and finished goods are imported. Since Yemen has no significant refineries, fuels and lubricants have to be imported. The high proportion of food in imports is also remarkable. The most important suppliers are the United Arab Emirates , Saudi Arabia , the People's Republic of China , Switzerland and the USA . For the German-speaking countries, Yemen is of very little importance as a sales market; Since the country cannot guarantee the safety of foreigners, it is not uncommon for Central European companies to reject orders from Yemen.

    The trade balance is negative. In 2007 the trade balance deficit was 7%, after positive years between 2002 and 2006. On the one hand, the deficit reflects the high investments that are being made in the development of liquefied gas production, whereby the plants have to be imported in their entirety. On the other hand, the deficit highlights the country's vulnerability to falling oil prices and rising food prices. The trade deficit has to be compensated for by remittances from guest workers from abroad, direct investments and aid from the donor community. The balance of payments of Yemen is greatly replaced under pressure since Yemeni guest workers in the Arab world for safety by workers from Asia.


    Historic stone bridge in Shaharah

    The number of tourists visiting Yemen in 2005 was estimated at 336,000 and has now dropped to a few thousand. The old town of Sanaa , the historical capital Shibam , the Medina of Zabid , the historical city of Tarim or the excavations of Baraqish are attractive for European tourists . Recreational tourism, on the other hand, is very limited.

    The further development of tourism is made more difficult by the lack of the necessary infrastructure, but above all by the unstable security situation. The Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany is currently warning of the "considerable risk of terrorist attacks" and the "constantly high risk of kidnapping" as well as the "continually flaring up tribal conflicts" and expressly advises against traveling to Yemen.

    State budget

    The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditures equivalent to US $ 5.6 billion , which was offset by revenues equivalent to US $ 1.7 billion. This results in a budget deficit of 13.9% of GDP .

    The national debt in 2016 was $ 23.4 billion, or 85.8% of GDP.

    In 2006 the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:



    Telecommunication services are offered almost exclusively by TeleYemen . The high costs in view of the very low incomes of the population mean that in 2016 only 24.7% of the country's population used the Internet. For the same reason, there were fewer than one million telephone connections and two million cell phone users in 2006.



    Passengers and goods are transported almost exclusively by road in Yemen. The road network has grown from 48,000 to 71,300 kilometers in recent years. Nevertheless, it is still in a less than satisfactory condition: only 6,200 kilometers of road are paved, and many rural areas are not connected to the road network. In the northern part of the country, however, the main cities are connected with good roads and regular buses have been set up. Improvements to the road network are being carried out with the help of the World Bank . The number of vehicles per 1000 inhabitants was estimated at 50 for 2002–2004. The numerous old vehicles in Yemen lead to high levels of air pollution.


    The main port of Yemen is in Aden . Other ports are in al-Hudaida , Al-Mukalla and Mokka , while Ras Isa handles the country's oil exports. The port of Aden has a container terminal that was opened in 1999, but was faced with a drastic drop in throughput after the bomb attack on the French tanker Limburg in October 2002. The volume handled has since recovered and amounted to 503,325 TEU in 2007 . There are no inland waterways in Yemen.

    Air traffic

    Four Yemeni cities have international airports, namely Aden , Sanaa , Taizz and al-Hudaida . Flight connections exist mainly to other countries in the region and some destinations in Europe. The national airline is called Yemenia .


    Yemen has no rail transport. In 1911, during Ottoman times, the construction of a meter-gauge railway line from the port of Ra's Kathib (north of al-Hudaida ) to Sanaa began. After an Italian bombardment of the port, the work was canceled, so that only 7 km of track had been laid. Subsequent conflicts between Ottoman officials and local rulers prevented work from resuming. Traces of the project could still be seen in the 1980s, including the remains of a steam locomotive.

    In principle, there is agreement to connect Yemen to the planned rail network of the Gulf Cooperation Council .

    power supply

    The supply of electrical energy cannot keep up with the demands. Less than half of the country's population and less than a quarter of the rural population are connected to the power grid, the supply is unstable and forces businesspeople to install expensive alternatives to the public grid or to accept reduced productivity. In 2005, the total electricity production of 4.46 billion kWh came from thermal generation. The development of renewable energy sources is planned.

    Yemen has its own oil and gas reserves, but these cannot be compared with the natural resources of neighboring countries and their yields are also falling. After the government decided to almost double fuel prices, riots broke out in six provinces on July 20, 2005, killing at least 39 people, including 12 members of the security forces. Looting took place in Aden despite a strong military presence.

    So far, fuel prices have been kept low by means of government subsidies. Due to the previously strong increase in demand - the government attributed it to a flourishing smuggling business with neighboring countries, since prices there are significantly higher - the budget for subsidies had already been exceeded in the first few months of the year. The reduction in subsidies was also part of a reform program negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Part of the money saved should be used to raise wages for civil servants and to adjust pensions. After President Salih had agreed to partially withdraw the price increase, the situation calmed down again.


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    • Peter Wald: Yemen. North and South Yemen. Ancient and Islamic South Arabia - history, culture and art between the Red Sea and the Arabian Desert . DuMont Art Travel Guide, Cologne 1980, ISBN 3-7701-1092-7 .
    • Peter Wald: Yemen. Antiquity and Islam. History, culture and art in southwestern Arabia. DuMont, Cologne 1997, ISBN 3-7701-4091-5 .
    • Jonathan Walker: Aden insurgency. The savage was in Yemen 1962-67 , Barnsley (Pen & Sword Military), 2014, ISBN 978-1-4738-2763-9 .
    • Shelagh Weir: Qat in Yemen. Consumption and social change. British Museum Publ., London 1985, ISBN 0-7141-1568-1 .
    • Reinhold Wepf: Yemen. Land of the Queen of Sheba. Kümmerly & Frey, Bern 1966.
    • Daniel Zadra: Effects of Somali piracy and refugee flows on Yemen, a country caught between tribal culture and the central state. University of Vienna, Vienna 2009 (Diploma thesis. PDF, 4 MB ).

    Web links

    Commons : Yemen  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
     Wikinews: Yemen  - on the news
    Wiktionary: Yemen  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
    Wikivoyage: Yemen  travel guide

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    Coordinates: 16 °  N , 48 °  E