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Flag of Yemen
Map of Yemen
Introduction Yemen
North Yemen became independent of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. 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 South Yemen. Three years later, the southern government adopted a Marxist orientation. 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 in 1994 was quickly subdued. In 2000, Saudi Arabia and Yemen agreed to a delimitation of their border.
Geography Yemen
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
total: 527,970 sq km
land: 527,970 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)
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming
Land boundaries:
total: 1,746 km
border countries: Oman 288 km, Saudi Arabia 1,458 km
1,906 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
mostly desert; hot and humid along west coast; temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon; extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in east
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 extremes:
lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m
highest point: Jabal an Nabi Shu'ayb 3,760 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, fish, rock salt, marble, small deposits of coal, gold, lead, nickel, and copper, fertile soil in west
Land use:
arable land: 2.75%
permanent crops: 0.21%
other: 97.04% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
4,900 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
sandstorms and dust storms in summer
Environment - current issues:
very limited natural fresh water resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban
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
People Yemen
18,701,257 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 47% (male 4,468,928; female 4,317,648)
15-64 years: 50.1% (male 4,783,769; female 4,587,309)
65 years and over: 2.9% (male 273,282; female 270,321) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
3.4% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
43.3 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
9.31 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.01 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
66.78 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 60.59 years
female: 62.46 years (2002 est.)
male: 58.81 years
Total fertility rate:
6.9 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.01% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Yemeni(s)
adjective: Yemeni
Ethnic groups:
predominantly Arab; but also Afro-Arab, South Asians, Europeans
Muslim including Shaf'i (Sunni) and Zaydi (Shi'a), small numbers of Jewish, Christian, and Hindu
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 38%
male: 53%
female: 26% (1990 est.)
Government Yemen
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Yemen
conventional short form: Yemen
local short form: Al Yaman
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Yamaniyah
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
19 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Abyan, 'Adan, Ad Dali', Al Bayda', Al Hudaydah, Al Jawf, Al Mahrah, Al Mahwit, 'Amran, Dhamar, Hadramawt, Hajjah, Ibb, Lahij, Ma'rib, Sa'dah, San'a', Shabwah, Ta'izz
note: there may be one additional governorate of the capital city of Sanaa
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]; previously North Yemen had become independent on NA November 1918 (from the Ottoman Empire) and South Yemen had become independent on 30 November 1967 (from the UK)
National holiday:
Unification Day, 22 May (1990)
16 May 1991; amended 29 September 1994 and February 2001
Legal system:
based on Islamic law, Turkish law, English common law, and local tribal customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Field Marshall Ali Abdallah SALIH (since 22 May 1990, the former president of North Yemen, assumed office upon the merger of North and South Yemen); Vice President Maj. Gen. Abd al-Rab Mansur al-HADI (since 3 October 1994)
head of government: Prime Minister Abd al-Qadir BA JAMAL (since 4 April 2001)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
election results: Ali Abdallah SALIH elected president; percent of vote - Ali Abdallah SALIH 96.3%, Najib Qahtan AL-SHAABI 3.7%
elections: president elected by direct, popular vote for a seven-year term (recently extended from a five-year term by constitutional amendment); election last held 23 September 1999 (next to be held NA 2006); vice president appointed by the president; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president
Legislative branch:
a new constitutional amendment ratified on 20 February 2001 created a bicameral legislature consisting of a Shura Council (111 seats; members appointed by the president) and a House of Representatives (301 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - GPC 189, Islah 52, Nasserite Unionist Party 3, National Arab Socialist Baath Party 2, independents 54, election pending 1; seats by party as of January 2002: GPC 223, Islah 64, Nasserite Unionist Party 3, National Arab Socialist Baath Party 2, YSP 2, independents 7
elections: last held 27 April 1997 (next to be held 27 April 2003)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders:
there are over 12 political parties active in Yemen, some of the more prominent are: General People's Congress or GPC [President Ali Abdallah SALIH]; Islamic Reform Grouping or Islah [Shaykh Abdallah bin Husayn al-AHMAR]; National Arab Socialist Baath Party [Dr. Qassim SALAAM]; Nasserite Unionist Party [Abdel Malik al-MAKHLAFI]; Yemeni Socialist Party or YSP [Ali Salih MUQBIL]
note: President SALIH's General People's Congress or GPC won a landslide victory in the April 1997 legislative election and no longer governs in coalition with Shaykh Abdallah bin Husayn al-AHMAR's Islamic Reform Grouping or Islah - the two parties had been in coalition since the end of the civil war in 1994; the YSP, a loyal opposition party, boycotted the April 1997 legislative election, but announced that it would participate in Yemen's first local elections which were held in February 2001; these local elections aim to decentralize political power and are a key element of the government's political reform program
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Abd al-Wahhab Abdallah al-HAJRI
FAX: [1] (202) 337-2017
telephone: [1] (202) 965-4760
chancery: Suite 705, 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Edmund J. HULL
embassy: Dhahar Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, Sanaa
mailing address: P. O. Box 22347, Sanaa
telephone: [967] (1) 303-161
FAX: [967] (1) 303-182
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; similar to the flag of Syria which has two green stars and of Iraq which has three green stars (plus an Arabic inscription) in a horizontal line centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Egypt which has a heraldic eagle centered in the white band
Economy Yemen
Economy - overview:
Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, reported strong growth in the mid-1990s with the onset of oil production, but has been harmed by periodic declines in oil prices. Yemen has embarked on an IMF-supported structural adjustment program designed to modernize and streamline the economy, which has led to substantial foreign debt relief and restructuring. Aided by higher oil prices in 1999-2000, Yemen worked to maintain tight control over spending and implement additional components of the IMF program. A high population growth rate and internal political dissension complicate the government's task.
purchasing power parity - $14.8 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $820 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 17%
industry: 40%
services: 43% (1998)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 26% (1998) (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
33 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
10% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
most people are employed in agriculture and herding; services, construction, industry, and commerce account for less than one-fourth of the labor force
Unemployment rate:
30% (1995 est.)
revenues: $3 billion
expenditures: $3.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
crude oil production and petroleum refining; small-scale production of cotton textiles and leather goods; food processing; handicrafts; small aluminum products factory; cement
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
3.2 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
2.976 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
grain, fruits, vegetables, pulses, qat (mildly narcotic shrub), coffee, cotton; dairy products, livestock (sheep, goats, cattle, camels), poultry; fish
$3.9 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
crude oil, coffee, dried and salted fish
Exports - partners:
Thailand 34%, China 26%, South Korea 14%, Singapore 9%, Japan 3%, Saudi Arabia 3% (1999)
$3 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
food and live animals, machinery and equipment
Imports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 10%, UAE 8%, France 7%, US 7%, Italy 6% (1999)
Debt - external:
$4.7 billion (2001)
Economic aid - recipient:
$176.1 million (1995) (1995)
Yemeni rial (YER)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Yemeni rials per US dollar - 171.860 (December 2001), 168.678 (2001), 161.718 (2000), 155.718 (1999), 135.882 (1998), 129.281 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Yemen
Telephones - main lines in use:
291,359 (1999)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
32,042 (2000)
Telephone system:
general assessment: since unification in 1990, efforts have been made to create a national telecommunications network
domestic: the national network consists of microwave radio relay, cable, tropospheric scatter, and GSM cellular mobile telephone systems
international: 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
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 6, FM 1, shortwave 2 (1998)
1.05 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
7 (plus several low-power repeaters) (1997)
470,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
17,000 (2002)
Transportation Yemen
0 km
total: 69,263 km
paved: 9,963 km
unpaved: 59,300 km (1999)
crude oil 644 km; petroleum products 32 km
Ports and harbors:
Aden, Al Hudaydah, Al Mukalla, As Salif, Ras Issa, Mocha, Nishtun
Merchant marine:
total: 4 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 15,002 GRT/23,752 DWT
ships by type: cargo 1, petroleum tanker 3
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Hong Kong 2 (2002 est.)
49 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 16
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 28
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 4 (2002)
Military Yemen
Military branches:
Army (includes Special Forces, established in 1999), Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Forces, Republican Guard
Military manpower - military age:
14 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 4,272,156 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 2,397,914 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 238,690 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$482.5 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
5.2% (FY01)
Military - note:
establishement of a Coast Guard, scheduled for May 2001, has been delayed
Transnational Issues Yemen
Disputes - international:
demarcation of delimited boundary with Saudi Arabia involves nomadic tribal affiliations; Yemen has asserted traditional fishing rights to islands ceded to Eritrea in ICJ ruling

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003