Yemen Economy


Many people in Yemen are poor

As a country located in Middle East according to allunitconverters, Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world. In particular, the global economic crisis of 2008 and conflicts within the country have weakened the economy so much that many people are very poor and the population is dependent on the help of other countries. Every second person lives on less than two dollars a day. Due to the weak economy, Yemen is unable to feed its own people and there is hunger and poverty. According to official figures, 40 out of 100 people are unemployed, and the actual number is estimated to be much higher. More than 70 out of 100 people can neither read nor write.

Economic development at the end of the 20th century

After the unification of the two Yemeni states (see History and Politics), two different economic systems collided: while there was a market economy in the north, in the south one acted according to the principle of the planned economy. At the beginning, Yemen was supported with funds from abroad, mainly from Saudi Arabia. When he took a pro-Iraq stance during the Gulf War in 1990/1991, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and some western states stopped their financial support. Even if relations with these countries have improved again to this day, consequences such as enormous devaluation of money and great poverty persist.

What is Kath?

The leaves of the Kathstrauch, a plant that grows in Yemen, are picked and chewed. In the long run, Kath chewing is very unhealthy and can cause strokes and heart problems, which has made many people in Yemen very sick. The fact that many can not keep their hands off the dangerous plant is due to its effect: For a few hours after ingestion, you feel carefree and happy, which creates a kind of addiction. Many people in Yemen therefore spend a large part of their wealth on the drug. Although Kath is very harmful to both people and agriculture, it is still being cultivated and has largely replaced the cultivation of coffee and vegetables.

Water scarcity harms agriculture

Yemen consists of over 70 percent desert. That’s why it’s not that easy to farm there. Only a very small part of the country can be used for agriculture. Nevertheless, over half of the population works in this area. Mainly millet, corn, fruits, vegetables and traditionally coffee are grown. Unfortunately, the land lacks water to further develop agriculture. 90 percent of the water in Yemen is already used in agriculture. Half of it is used for the cultivation of Kath.

Growing the drug makes money for farmers

As a farmer earns more with the Kathan cultivation than, for example, with grain, over half of the available usable area is used solely for the so-called everyday drug. Both the water shortage in Yemen and the limited area available for cultivation have meant that the country has not been able to feed its population for several years. That is why 70 percent of the food has to be imported from abroad.

No future for oil

Like many Arab countries, Yemen also produces oil and natural gas, but significantly less than its neighbors. This industry accounts for 90 percent of Yemen’s economic revenue. However, experts now assume that the reserves of oil could be used up within the next 15 years, which is why attempts are being made to promote other economic sectors.


After the production of oil and natural gas, the fish trade is the second largest source of income in Yemen. Shark and tuna, sardines and lobsters are fished from the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and then largely sold abroad. With the help of foreign supporters, Yemen is trying to expand this branch of the economy, because there is currently a lack of machines for cooling and processing the fish.

Terrorism instead of tourism

Since the supply of oil and gas in Yemen continues to decline, the Yemeni government has tried to promote other economic sectors more. The tourism industry should also be expanded. Yemen has some sights such as the old town of Sanaa or the historic capital Shibam to offer, but tourism is still declining. This is partly due to the poor travel opportunities within the country, but partly to the danger for tourists. Terrorist attacks and assaults have recently increased. In addition, Yemen is a retreat for the radical terrorist organization Al Qaeda.

In addition, a bad civil war is raging in Yemen (also have a look at history and politics), which threatens the entire population and makes any form of tourism impossible.

Yemen Economy

War in Yemen

There is constant talk of wars in the Middle East and refugees. Syria, a country with a civil war, is the center of interest, you hear a lot about it on television and maybe your parents talk about it too. That is also right to talk about and help. At the same time, it is often forgotten that there are also other countries in which conflicts and wars reign.

Yemen is one of these countries. Even before there was a war here, Yemen was a poor country and the poorest in the so-called Middle East. The situation is completely different in neighboring countries such as Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East.

Many people in Yemen are dependent on outside help and have far too little to eat. There is often no safe drinking water and many houses are destroyed. Often it is a matter of getting drinking water at all, an occupation of many hours a day. And then there is no time for other things. Children also have to help and carry canisters with drinking water home.

War within and war without

The attacks by the Saudi army began in March 2015, but at the same time a civil war raged inside, which was even worse for the population (see also history and politics in Yemen). The attacks came on. In July 2016, 2.8 million people in Yemen were on the run and many left the country, for example to Saudi Arabia or Djibouti.

Many people in Yemen are at risk of starvation

In the spring of 2017, two thirds of the people in Yemen were at risk of starvation. So reported the aid organization “Care”, which is also active in Yemen. The public supply had almost completely collapsed. Children in particular were malnourished and in need of help. The entire infrastructure no longer worked. At this point, however, a political solution that would bring all parties to the conflict around the table was not in sight.

Hunger in East Africa

There is hunger in many countries in East Africa. Yemen is practically opposite and is separated from Africa by the Gulf of Aden. Due to the drought in this region, very many people are threatened with starvation. This is where the international community should actually act. There are always donor conferences. Here it is negotiated how much money the richer countries give to the poorest in the world. But often a lot more is announced here than paid out.