Yemen [Country Flag of Yemen]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Yemen]



[Top of Page]

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

total: 527,970 sq km
land: 527,970 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)

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

Coastline: 1,906 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 18 nm in the North; 24 nm in the South
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

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 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: 3%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 30%
forests and woodland: 4%
other: 63% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 3,600 sq km (1993 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, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

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


[Top of Page]

Population: 16,387,963 (July 1998 est.)
note: other estimates range as high as 16.6 million

Age structure:
0-14 years: 48% (male 4,016,052; female 3,859,079)
15-64 years: 49% (male 4,066,601; female 3,902,686)
65 years and over: 3% (male 280,152; female 263,393) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.31% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 43.36 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 10.27 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 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: 1.06 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 72.2 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 59.47 years
male: 57.71 years
female: 61.32 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 7.14 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Yemeni(s)
adjective: Yemeni

Ethnic groups: predominantly Arab; Afro-Arab concentrations in western coastal locations; South Asians in southern regions; small European communities in major metropolitan areas

Religions: Muslim including Shaf'i (Sunni) and Zaydi (Shi'a), small numbers of Jewish, Christian, and Hindu

Languages: Arabic

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 38%
male: 53%
female: 26% (1990 est.)


[Top of Page]

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Yemen
conventional short form: Yemen
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Yamaniyah
local short form: Al Yaman

Data code: YM

Government type: republic

National capital: Sanaa

Administrative divisions: 17 governorates (muhafazat, singular—muhafazah); Abyan, Aden, Al Bayda, Al Hudaydah, Al Jawf, Al Mahrah, Al Mahwit, 'Ataq, Dhamar, Hadhramaut, Hajjah, Ibb, Lahij, Ma'rib, Sa'dah, San'a', Ta'izz
note: there may be a new governorate for the capital city of Sanaa

Independence: 22 May 1990 Republic of Yemen was established on 22 May 1990 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: Proclamation of the Republic, 22 May (1990)

Constitution: 16 May 1991; amended 29 September 1994

Legal system: based on Islamic law, Turkish law, English common law, and local tribal customary law; does not accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Lt. Gen. 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 NA October 1994)
head of government: Acting Prime Minister Dr. Abd al-Karim Ali al-IRYANI (since NA April 1998)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
elections: President SALIH was elected by the House of Representatives for a five-year term, however, future presidents will be elected by direct, popular vote for five-year terms; election last held 1 October 1994 (next to be held NA 1999); vice president appointed by the president; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president
election results: Ali Abdallah SALIH elected president; percent of House of Representatives vote—NA

Legislative branch: unicameral House of Representatives (301 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 27 April 1997 (next to be held NA April 2001)
election results: percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—GPC 189, Islaah 52, Nasserite Unionist Party 3, National Arab Socialist Baath Party 2, independents 54, election pending 1

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 (GPC), President Ali Abdallah SALIH; Islamic Reform Grouping (Islaah), Shaykh Abdallah bin Husayn al-AHMAR; Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), Ali Salih UBAYD; Nasserite Unionist Party, leader NA; National Arab Socialist Baath Party, Dr. Qassim SALAAM
note: President SALIH's General People's Congress (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 (Islaah) - 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

Political pressure groups and leaders: NA

International organization participation: ACC, AFESD, AL, AMF, CAEU, CCC, ESCWA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OIC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Abd al-Wahhab Abdallah al-HAJRI
chancery: Suite 705, 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 965-4760
FAX: [1] (202) 337-2017

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Barbara K. BODINE
embassy: Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, Sanaa
mailing address: P. O. Box 22347, Sanaa
telephone: [967] (1) 238843 through 238852
FAX: [967] (1) 251563

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 symbolic eagle centered in the white band


[Top of Page]

Economy—overview: The northern city Sanaa is the political capital of a united Yemen, and the southern city Aden, with its refinery and port facilities, is the economic and commercial capital. Future economic development depends heavily on the attraction of foreign investment to diversify the economy. Former South Yemen's willingness to merge stemmed partly from the sharp decline in Soviet economic support. The low level of domestic industry and agriculture has made northern Yemen dependent on imports for practically all of its essential needs. Once self-sufficient in food production, northern Yemen has become a major importer. Land once used for export crops—cotton, fruit, and vegetables - has been turned over to growing a shrub called qat, whose leaves are chewed for their stimulant effect by Yemenis and which has no significant export market. Economic growth in former South Yemen has been constrained by a lack of incentives, partly stemming from centralized control over production decisions, investment allocation, and import choices. Yemen's GDP has been supplemented by remittances from Yemenis working abroad and by foreign aid. Since the Gulf crisis, however, remittances have dropped substantially. Floods in June 1996 caused the loss of much valuable topsoil in the agricultural sector, increasing the need for imports of foodstuffs. Oil production and GDP as a whole are expected to increase moderately in 1998.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$31.8 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 5% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2,300 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 15%
industry: 39%
services: 46% (1995)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 5% (1997 est.)

Labor force: no reliable estimates exist, most people are employed in agriculture and herding or as expatriate laborers; services, construction, industry, and commerce account for less than one-half of the labor force

Unemployment rate: 30% (1995 est.)

revenues: $2.6 billion
expenditures: $2.7 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.1 billion (1998 est.)

Industries: 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: NA%

Electricity—capacity: 810,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 1.85 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 126 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: grain, fruits, vegetables, qat (mildly narcotic shrub), coffee, cotton; dairy products, poultry, meat; fish

total value: $2.3 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
commodities: crude oil, cotton, coffee, dried and salted fish
partners: China 23%, South Korea 19%, Thailand 14%, Brazil 13%, Japan 12%, Thailand 7% (1995)

total value: $2.3 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
commodities: textiles and other manufactured consumer goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs, cement, machinery, chemicals
partners: US 12%, France 11%, UAE 10%, Saudi Arabia 7%, UK 5% (1995)

Debt—external: $8 billion (1996)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $148 million (1993)

Currency: Yemeni rial (YRl) (new currency)

Exchange rates: Yemeni rials (YRl) per US$1—129.158 (1997), 94.157 (1996), 40.839 (1995), 12.010 (official fixed rate 1991-94)

Fiscal year: calendar year


[Top of Page]

Telephones: 131,655 (1992 est.)

Telephone system: since unification in 1990, efforts have been made to create a national telecommunications network
domestic: the network consists of microwave radio relay, cable, and tropospheric scatter
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 4, FM 1, shortwave 0

Radios: 325,000 (1993 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 10

Televisions: 100,000 (1993 est.)


[Top of Page]

Railways: 0 km

total: 64,725 km
paved: 5,243 km
unpaved: 59,482 km (1996 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 644 km; petroleum products 32 km

Ports and harbors: Aden, Al Hudaydah, Al Mukalla, As Salif, Mocha, Nishtun

Merchant marine:
total: 3 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 12,059 GRT/18,563 DWT
ships by type: cargo 1, oil tanker 2 (1997 est.)

Airports: 48 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 11
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 37
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 3 (1997 est.)


[Top of Page]

Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, paramilitary (includes Police)

Military manpower—military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 3,611,419 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 2,026,175 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 204,674 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $407 million (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 5% (1998 est.)

Transnational Issues

[Top of Page]

Disputes—international: a large section of boundary with Saudi Arabia is not defined; a dispute with Eritrea over sovereignty of the Hanish Islands in the southern Red Sea has been submitted to arbitration under the auspices of the International Court of Justice; a decision on the Islands is expected in mid-1998