[Country map of Yemen]



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

Map references: Middle East

total area: 527,970 sq km
land area: 527,970 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming
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)

Land boundaries: total 1,746 km, 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

International disputes: undefined section of boundary with Saudi Arabia; a treaty with Oman defining the Yemeni-Omani boundary was ratified in December 1992

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

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

Land use:
arable land: 6%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 30%
forest and woodland: 7%
other: 57%

Irrigated land: 3,100 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: very limited natural fresh water resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
natural hazards: sandstorms and dust storms in summer
international agreements: party to - Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Climate Change

Note: controls Bab el Mandeb, the strait linking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, one of world's most active shipping lanes


Population: 14,728,474 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 50% (female 3,551,953; male 3,776,358)
15-64 years: 48% (female 3,505,735; male 3,508,229)
65 years and over: 2% (female 216,210; male 169,989) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 4.02% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 44.85 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 8.01 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 3.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 58.2 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 62.51 years
male: 61.57 years
female: 63.5 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 7.15 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Yemeni(s)
adjective: Yemeni

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

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

Languages: Arabic

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

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 half of the labor force


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

Digraph: YM

Type: republic

Capital: Sanaa

Administrative divisions: 17 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Abyan, Adan, Al Bayda, Al Hudaydah, Al Jawf, Al Mahrah, Al Mahwit, Dhamar, Hadramaut, Hajjah, Ibb, Lahij, Marib, Sadah, Sana, Shabwah, Taizz
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

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 Ali Abdallah SALIH (since 22 May 1990, the former president of North Yemen); Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur al-HADI (since NA October 1994)
head of government: Prime Minister Abd al-Aziz ABD AL-GHANI (since NA October 1994)
cabinet: Council of Ministers

Legislative branch: unicameral
House of Representatives: elections last held 27 April 1993 (next to be held NA 1997); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (301 total) GPC 124, Islaah 61, YSP 55, others 13, independents 47, election nullified 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: over 40 political parties are active in Yemen, but only three project significant influence; since the May-July 1994 civil war, President SALIH's General People's Congress (GPC) and Shaykh Abdallah bin Husayn al-AHMAR's Yemeni Grouping for Reform, or Islaah, have joined to form a coalition government; the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), headed by Ali Salih UBAYD, has regrouped as a loyal opposition

Other political or pressure groups: NA


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Muhsin Ahmad al-AYNI
chancery: Suite 705, 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 965-4760, 4761
FAX: [1] (202) 337-2017

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador David NEWTON
embassy: Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, Sanaa
mailing address: P. O. Box 22347 Sanaa; Sanaa, Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-6330
telephone: [967] (1) 238843 through 238852
FAX: [967] (1) 251563

Flag: 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


Overview: Whereas the northern city Sanaa is the political capital of a united Yemen, the southern city Aden, with its refinery and port facilities, is the economic and commercial capital. Future economic development depends heavily on Western-assisted development of the country's moderate oil resources. Former South Yemen's willingness to merge stemmed partly from the steady 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 large trade deficits have been compensated for by remittances from Yemenis working abroad and by foreign aid. Since the Gulf crisis, remittances have dropped substantially. Growth in 1994-95 is constrained by low oil prices, rapid inflation, and political deadlock that are causing a lack of economic cooperation and leadership. However, a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia in February 1995 and the expectation of a rise in oil prices brighten Yemen's economic prospects.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $23.4 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: -1.4% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $1,955 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 145% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 30% (December 1994)

revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

Exports: $1.75 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: crude oil, cotton, coffee, hides, vegetables, dried and salted fish
partners: Germany 28%, Japan 15%, UK 9%, Austria 7%, China 7% (1992)

Imports: $2.65 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: textiles and other manufactured consumer goods, petroleum products, sugar, grain, flour, other foodstuffs, cement, machinery, chemicals
partners: US 16%, UK 7%, Japan 6%, France 6%, Italy 6% (1992)

External debt: $7 billion (1993)

Industrial production: growth rate NA%, accounts for 18% of GDP

capacity: 810,000 kW
production: 1.8 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 149 kWh (1993)

Industries: crude oil production and petroleum refining; small-scale production of cotton textiles and leather goods; food processing; handicrafts; small aluminum products factory; cement

Agriculture: accounts for 26% of GDP; products - grain, fruits, vegetables, qat (mildly narcotic shrub), coffee, cotton, dairy, poultry, meat, fish; not self-sufficient in grain

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $389 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $2 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $3.2 billion; Communist countries (1970-89), $2.4 billion

Currency: Yemeni rial (new currency); 1 North Yemeni riyal (YR) = 100 fils; 1 South Yemeni dinar (YD) = 1,000 fils
note: following the establishment of the Republic of Yemen on 22 May 1990, the North Yemeni riyal and the South Yemeni dinar are to be replaced with a new Yemeni rial

Exchange rates: Yemeni rials per US$1 - 12.0 (official); 90 (market rate, December 1994)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 0 km

total: 51,390 km
paved: 4,830 km
unpaved: 46,560 km (1992 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 644 km; petroleum products 32 km

Ports: Aden, Al Hudaydah, Al Mukalla, 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

total: 46
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 2
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 4
with unpaved runways over 3,047 m: 2
with unpaved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 10
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 12


Telephone system: 65,000 telephones; since unification in 1990, efforts are still being made to create a national domestic civil telecommunications network
local: NA
intercity: the network consists of microwave radio relay, cable, and troposcatter
international: 3 INTELSAT (2 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean), 1 Intersputnik, and 2 ARABSAT earth stations; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia and Djibouti

broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 1, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 10
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, paramilitary (includes Police)

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 3,135,649; males fit for military service 1,771,226; males reach military age (14) annually 181,057 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $1.65 billion, 7.1% of GDP (1993)