Yemen

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 29, 2011
Flag of Yemen
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Location of Yemen
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Introduction

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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. Fighting in the northwest between the government and Huthi rebels, a group seeking a return to traditional Zaydi Islam, began in 2004 and has since resulted in six rounds of fighting - the last ended in early 2010 with a ceasefire that continues to hold. The southern secessionist movement was revitalized in 2008 when a popular socioeconomic protest movement initiated the prior year took on political goals including secession. Public rallies in Sana'a against President SALIH - inspired by similar demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt - slowly built momentum starting in late January 2011 fueled by complaints over high unemployment, poor economic conditions, and corruption. By the following month, some protests had resulted in violence, and the demonstrations had spread to other major cities. By March the opposition had hardened its demands and was unifying behind calls for SALIH's immediate ouster. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in late April 2011, in an attempt to mediate the crisis in Yemen, proposed an agreement in which the president would step down in exchange for immunity from prosecution. SALIH's third refusal to sign the GCC agreement in late May led to heavy street fighting, and in early June an explosion at the mosque in the presidential compound injured SALIH, who was evacuated to Saudi Arabia for treatment. June witnessed an increasing number of clashes with government and anti-government forces - some with links to al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula - in a number of cities and towns in southern Yemen. In late September, SALIH returned to Sanaa amid heavy shelling and machinegun fire between loyal regime forces and defector military forces. The UN Security Council passed Resolution 2014 in October calling on both sides to end the violence and complete a power transfer deal. In late November 2011, President SALIH finally signed the GCC-brokered agreement and stepped down.
 
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Geography

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Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
 
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15 00 N, 48 00 E
 
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total: 527,968 sq km
country comparison to the world: 50
land: 527,968 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)
 
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slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming
 
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total: 1,746 km
border countries: Oman 288 km, Saudi Arabia 1,458 km
 
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1,906 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
 
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mostly desert; hot and humid along west coast; temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon; extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in east
 
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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
 
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lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m
highest point: Jabal an Nabi Shu'ayb 3,760 m
 
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petroleum, fish, rock salt, marble; small deposits of coal, gold, lead, nickel, and copper; fertile soil in west
 
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arable land: 2.91%
permanent crops: 0.25%
other: 96.84% (2005)
 
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6,800 sq km (2008)
 
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4.1 cu km (1997)
 
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total: 6.63 cu km/yr (4%/1%/95%)
per capita: 316 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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sandstorms and dust storms in summer
volcanism: Yemen experiences limited volcanic activity; Jebel at Tair (Jabal al-Tair, Jebel Teir, Jabal al-Tayr, Jazirat at-Tair) (elev. 244 m), which forms an island in the Red Sea, erupted in 2007 after awakening from dormancy; other historically active volcanoes include Harra of Arhab, Harras of Dhamar, Harra es-Sawad, and Jebel Zubair, although many of these have not erupted in over a century
 
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limited natural freshwater resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
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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
 
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People and Society

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noun: Yemeni(s)
adjective: Yemeni
 
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predominantly Arab; but also Afro-Arab, South Asians, Europeans
 
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Arabic (official)
 
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Muslim including Shaf'i (Sunni) and Zaydi (Shia), small numbers of Jewish, Christian, and Hindu
 
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24,133,492 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
 
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0-14 years: 43% (male 5,285,218/female 5,094,736)
15-64 years: 54.4% (male 6,666,600/female 6,459,414)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 298,175/female 329,349) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 18.1 years
male: 18 years
female: 18.2 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.647% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
 
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33.49 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
 
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7.02 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
 
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0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
 
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urban population: 32% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 4.6% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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SANAA (capital) 2.229 million (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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210 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 57
 
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total: 55.11 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 39
male: 59.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 50.29 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 63.74 years
country comparison to the world: 173
male: 61.7 years
female: 65.87 years (2011 est.)
 
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4.63 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
 
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5.6% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 125
 
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0.3 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
country comparison to the world: 135
 
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0.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)
country comparison to the world: 161
 
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improved:
urban: 72% of population
rural: 57% of population
total: 62% of population
unimproved:
urban: 28% of population
rural: 43% of population
total: 38% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 94% of population
rural: 33% of population
total: 52% of population
unimproved:
urban: 6% of population
rural: 67% of population
total: 48% of population (2008)
 
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0.1% (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
 
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12,000 (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92
 
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NA
 
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degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2009)
 
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43.1% (2003)
country comparison to the world: 2
 
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5.2% of GDP (2008)
country comparison to the world: 54
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 50.2%
male: 70.5%
female: 30% (2003 est.)
 
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total: 9 years
male: 11 years
female: 7 years (2005)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Republic of Yemen
conventional short form: Yemen
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Yamaniyah
local short form: Al Yaman
former: Yemen Arab Republic [Yemen (Sanaa) or North Yemen] and People's Democratic Republic of Yemen [Yemen (Aden) or South Yemen]
 
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republic
 
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name: Sanaa
geographic coordinates: 15 21 N, 44 12 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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21 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Abyan, 'Adan (Aden), Ad Dali', Al Bayda', Al Hudaydah, Al Jawf, Al Mahrah, Al Mahwit, Amanat al 'Asimah (Sanaa City), 'Amran, Dhamar, Hadramawt, Hajjah, Ibb, Lahij, Ma'rib, Raymah, Sa'dah, San'a' (Sanaa), Shabwah, Ta'izz
 
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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]); note - previously North Yemen became independent in November 1918 (from the Ottoman Empire) and became a republic with the overthrow of the theocratic Imamate in 1962; South Yemen became independent on 30 November 1967 (from the UK)
 
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Unification Day, 22 May (1990)
 
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16 May 1991; amended 29 September 1994 and February 2001
 
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mixed legal system of Islamic law, English common law, and customary law
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: president (vacant); Vice President Abd al-Rabuh Mansur HADI (Maj. Gen.); note - on 24 November 2011 President SALIH signed a GCC-brokered agreement to step down
head of government: Interim Prime Minister Muhammad Salim BA SINDWAH (since 27 November 2011)
cabinet: on 27 November 2011, Vice President HADI requested Interim Prime Minister Muhammad BA SINDWAH to form a new government following the resignation of President SALIH on 24 November
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; election last held on 20 September 2006 (next to be held in February 2012); 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 vote - Ali Abdallah SALIH 77.2%, Faysal BIN SHAMLAN 21.8%, other 1%
 
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bicameral legislature consisting of a Shura Council (111 seats; members appointed by the president) and House of Representatives (301 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve eight-year terms)
elections: last held on 27 April 2003 (scheduled April 2009 election postponed for two years)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - GPC 238, Islah 47, YSP 6, Nasserite Unionist Party 3, National Arab Socialist Ba'th Party 2, independents 5
 
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Supreme Court
 
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General People's Congress or GPC [Abdul-Kader BAJAMMAL]; Islamic Reform Grouping or Islah [Muhammed Abdallah AL-YADUMI]; Nasserite Unionist Party [Abd al-Malik al-MAKHLAFI]; National Arab Socialist Ba'th Party [Dr. Qasim SALAM]; Yemeni Socialist Party or YSP [Yasin Said NU'MAN]; note - there are at least seven more active political parties
 
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Muslim Brotherhood; Women National Committee
other: conservative tribal groups; Huthis, southern secessionist groups; al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
 
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AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, MIGA, MINURSO, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Abd al-Wahab Abdallah al-HAJRI
chancery: 2319 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 965-4760
FAX: [1] (202) 337-2017
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Gerald M. FEIERSTEIN
embassy: Sa'awan Street, Sanaa
mailing address: P. O. Box 22347, Sanaa
telephone: [967] (1) 755-2000 ext. 2153 or 2266
FAX: [967] (1) 303-182
 
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three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; the band colors derive from the Arab Liberation flag and represent oppression (black), overcome through bloody struggle (red), to be replaced by a bright future (white)
note: similar to the flag of Syria, which has two green stars in the white band, and of Iraq, which has an Arabic inscription centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Egypt, which has a heraldic eagle centered in the white band
 
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golden eagle
 
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name: "al-qumhuriyatu l-muttahida" (United Republic)
lyrics/music: Abdullah Abdulwahab NOA'MAN/Ayyoab Tarish ABSI
note: adopted 1990; the music first served as the anthem for South Yemen before unification with North Yemen in 1990
 
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Economy

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Yemen is a low income country that is highly dependent on declining oil resources for revenue. Petroleum accounts for roughly 25% of GDP and 70% of government revenue. Yemen has tried to counter the effects of its declining oil resources by diversifying its economy through an economic reform program initiated in 2006 that is designed to bolster non-oil sectors of the economy and foreign investment. In October 2009, Yemen exported its first liquefied natural gas as part of this diversification effort. In January 2010, the international community established the Friends of Yemen group that aims to support Yemen's efforts towards economic and political reform, and in August 2010 the IMF approved a three-year $370 million program to further this effort. Despite these ambitious endeavors, Yemen continues to face difficult long term challenges, including declining water resources and a high population growth rate.
 
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$63.4 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
$58.69 billion (2009 est.)
$56.51 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$31.27 billion (2010 est.)
 
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8% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20
3.9% (2009 est.)
3.6% (2008 est.)
 
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$2,700 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173
$2,600 (2009 est.)
$2,500 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 8.3%
industry: 38.5%
services: 53.3% (2010 est.)
 
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6.832 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
 
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note: most people are employed in agriculture and herding; services, construction, industry, and commerce account for less than one-fourth of the labor force
 
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35% (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181
 
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45.2% (2003)
 
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lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 30.8% (2005)
 
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37.7 (2005)
country comparison to the world: 76
33.4 (1998)
 
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19.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
 
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revenues: $8.861 billion
expenditures: $8.492 billion (2010 est.)
 
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28.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
 
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1.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
 
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30.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
35.4% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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11.2% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 207
5.4% (2009 est.)
 
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NA%
 
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25% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
18% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$3.679 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
$3.659 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$10.13 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
$9.346 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$6.183 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
$4.988 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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grain, fruits, vegetables, pulses, qat, coffee, cotton; dairy products, livestock (sheep, goats, cattle, camels), poultry; fish
 
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crude oil production and petroleum refining; small-scale production of cotton textiles and leather goods; food processing; handicrafts; small aluminum products factory; cement; commercial ship repair; natural gas production
 
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9% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
 
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6.153 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107
 
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4.646 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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258,800 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
 
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157,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
 
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207,700 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
 
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64,610 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
 
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3 billion bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
 
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520 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
 
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100 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
 
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420 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
 
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478.5 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
 
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-$1.944 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
-$2.565 billion (2009 est.)
 
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$7.718 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
$5.855 billion (2009 est.)
 
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crude oil, coffee, dried and salted fish, liquefied natural gas
 
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China 34.4%, India 23%, Thailand 6.6%, South Africa 5.7%, Japan 5.3%, UAE 4.8% (2010)
 
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$8.701 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
$7.868 billion (2009 est.)
 
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food and live animals, machinery and equipment, chemicals
 
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UAE 13.5%, China 12.2%, India 8.9%, Saudi Arabia 6.4%, Kuwait 4.7%, France 4.3%, Brazil 4.1% (2010)
 
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$5.942 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
$6.993 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$6.586 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
$6.356 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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Yemeni rials (YER) per US dollar -
220.05 (2010)
202.85 (2009)
199.76 (2008)
199.14 (2007)
197.18 (2006)
 
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Communications

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1.046 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 76
 
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11.085 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 64
 
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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, GSM and CDMA mobile-cellular telephone systems; fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity remains low by regional standards
international: country code - 967; landing point for the international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); 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
 
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state-run TV with 2 stations; state-run radio with 2 national radio stations and 5 local stations; stations from Oman and Saudi Arabia can be accessed (2007)
 
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.ye
 
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255 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 188
 
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2.349 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 71
 
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Transportation

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55 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 85
 
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total: 17
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 38
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 14
under 914 m: 10 (2010)
 
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gas 423 km; liquid petroleum gas 22 km; oil 1,367 km (2010)
 
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total: 71,300 km
country comparison to the world: 66
paved: 6,200 km
unpaved: 65,100 km (2005)
 
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total: 6
country comparison to the world: 127
by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 2, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 1
registered in other countries: 14 (Moldova 1, Panama 4, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Sierra Leone 2, unknown 6) (2010)
 
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Aden, Al Hudaydah, Al Mukalla
 
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the International Maritime Bureau reports offshore waters in the Gulf of Aden are high risk for piracy; numerous vessels, including commercial shipping and pleasure craft, have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; crew, passengers, and cargo are held for ransom; the presence of several naval task forces in the Gulf of Aden and additional anti-piracy measures on the part of ship operators reduced the incidence of piracy in that body of water by more than half in 2010
 
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Military

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Army, Navy (includes Marines), Yemen Air Force (Al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Jamahiriya al Yemeniya; includes Air Defense Force), Republican Guard Forces (2011)
 
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voluntary military service program authorized in 2001; 2-year service obligation (2006)
 
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males age 16-49: 5,652,256
females age 16-49: 5,387,160 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 4,056,944
females age 16-49: 4,116,895 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 287,141
female: 277,612 (2010 est.)
 
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6.6% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 7
 
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a Coast Guard was established in 2002
 
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Transnational Issues

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Saudi Arabia has reinforced its concrete-filled security barrier along sections of the fully demarcated border with Yemen to stem illegal cross-border activities
 
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refugees (country of origin): 91,587 (Somalia) (2007)
 
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current situation: Yemen is a country of origin and, to a much lesser extent, a transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Yemeni children, mostly boys, migrate to the Yemeni cities, Saudi Arabia or, to a lesser extent, to Oman and are forced to work in domestic service, small shops, or as beggars; some of these children are subjected to prostitution; to a lesser extent, Yemen is also a source country for girls subjected to sex trafficking within the country and in Saudi Arabia
tier rating: Tier 3 - the Yemeni cabinet approved the country's accession to the 2000 UN Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Protocol and the government reportedly prosecuted and convicted traffickers; despite these efforts, the Yemeni Government did not take steps to address trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation or to institute formal procedures to identify and protect victims of trafficking (2011)
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