Sana’a, 30 November 2021 (TDI): The Republic of Yemen celebrates its independence anniversary today. Yemen is an Arab-majority country located in the Southwestern part of the Arabian peninsula. It is located south of Hijaz, the birthplace of Islam.
Yemen shares land borders with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the North, the eastern neighbor is Oman, the southern Yemen shores meet the Indian ocean and, African countries such as Somalia, Djibouti, and Eritrea share the western maritime border of Yemen. It is considered to be the second-largest Arab country located in the peninsula. It covers around 214,000 square miles (555,000 square kilometers) and the coastline measures 1200 miles (2000 kilometers). San’a is the capital of Yemen with Aden following up as the second-most important city.
Historically, Yemen is famous for being the home place of the Sabaeans. Later, the Jewish Kingdom of Himyar also established its rule in Yemen during the third century. Christianity spread into Yemen during the fourth century.
However, Islam became the major religion followed by residents of Yemen shortly after its early period of conquests led by Muslims. Subsequently, the Rasulid dynasty consolidated its rule over Yemen during the 9th-16th century. Furthermore, the Ottomans and British empires vied for control and managed to establish influence as contending rivals during the 1800s.
Although, Zaydi Mutawakil group amongst locals managed to wrest control the Yemen Arab Republic rose in 1962 to witness South Yemen become a British protectorate through Aden. It adopted Marxist-Leninist ideals till 1967. However, the two Yemeni sides united in 1990 in order to establish the modern-day Republic of Yemen. President Ali Abdullah Saleh became the first president of the Republic of Yemen.
كل عام وانتم واليمن بخير وامن واستقرار بفضل الله ومنته pic.twitter.com/535DtLI3kN
— Yemen Embassy Islamabad (@YemenEmbassyPk) November 29, 2021
Yemen is a member of the Arab League, the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Government and State
The President is the head of state. Prime Minister is the head of government. The (i) elected president, (ii) elected 301-seat Assembly of Representatives, and (iii) 111-member Shura Council share power.
The legal system; Supreme Court based in Sana’a. Sharia is the main source of laws.
Yemen has the second-largest military force on the Arabian Peninsula. Total armed forces numbers about 401,000 active personnel.
In 2014, a constitutional panel decided to divide the country into six regions—four in the north, two in the south, and capital Sana’a outside of any region—creating a federalist model of governance. Yemen is divided into twenty governorates:
Saada, Al Jawf, Hadhramaut, Al Mahrah, Hajjah, Amran, Al Mahwit, Amanat Al Asimah (Sana’a City), Sana’a, Ma’rib, Al Hudaydah, Raymah, Dhamar, Ibb, Dhale, Al Bayda, Shabwah, Taiz, Lahij, Abyan, Aden, Socotra
Yemen’s GDP (PPP) is recorded at US$61.63 billion and $2,500 income per capita. Services (61.4% GDP) contribute as the largest economic sector. The industrial sector (30.9%) and agriculture (7.7%) are the subsequent highest contributors. Of these, petroleum production represents around 25% of GDP and 63% of the government’s revenue.
Yemen’s population is estimated to be around 28 million as per 2018 figures. Importantly, 46% of the population is under 15 years old and 2.7% above 65 years. As well as, the population is estimated to increase to about 60 million by 2050. The country has a high total fertility rate ranked at the 30th highest recorded at 4.45 children per woman.
Yemenis are mostly associated with agriculture. Agricultural commodities produced include grain, vegetables, fruits, pulses, qat, coffee, cotton, dairy products, fish, livestock (sheep, goats, cattle, camels), and poultry.
Sorghum is a famous crop. In addition, Cotton, as well as fruit trees, are grown with mangoes being the most valuable.
Yemen’s industrial sector is mostly composed of crude oil production and petroleum refining, food processing, handicrafts, small-scale production of cotton textiles and leather goods, aluminum products, commercial ship repair, cement, and natural gas production. Yemen had an industrial production growth rate of 4.8%. It also possesses large, recorded reserves of natural gas with production running since 2009.
Around 7 million workers are employed in Services, industry, construction and commerce but together represent 25% of the labor force.
Export and import
Yemen’s total exports were recorded at $6.694 billion in 2013. The main export commodities are crude oil, coffee, dried and salted fish, liquefied natural gas. Major export destinations include China (41%), Thailand (19.2%), India (11.4%), and South Korea (4.4%). In contrast, the total imports were recorded at $10.97 billion in 2013. The main imported commodities are machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, livestock, and chemicals. A significant portion of major imports was from the EU (48.8%), UAE (9.8%), Switzerland (8.8%), China (7.4%), and India (5.8%).
Yemen’s national budget included $7.769 billion in revenues and $12.31 billion in expenditures. The Taxes and other revenues represented 17.7% of GDP with a 10.3% budget deficit. Yemen also has reserves of foreign exchange and gold of around $5.538 billion in 2013.
Yemeni Jews as a minority Yemeni group represent distinct culture from other Jewish communities around the world. An estimated 100,000 people of Indian origin are concentrated in the southern part of the country.
An interesting account regarding the country is that Yemen spectacularly comprises of ethnic groups with their settlements which includes people from Hadhramawt, Mail, and other tribes or groups then settling in different parts of the world. The sizeable and influential Yemeni diaspora can be found in South East Asia, Arabian Peninsula, and Africa.
Modern Standard Arabic is the official language of Yemen, while Yemeni Arabic is used as an off-shoot vernacular. Yemeni is part of the homeland of the South Semitic languages such as Mehri and Sogotri. Yemen was also home to the Old South Arabian languages such as Razihi.
According to WIN/Gallup International polls, Yemen has the most religious population among Arab countries and it is one of the most religious populations worldwide.
Yemen is a culturally rich country with influence from many civilizations, such as the early civilization of Saba’.
Television is the most significant media platform and main news source in Yemen to address issues of the low literacy rate in the country. Moreover, There are six free-to-air channels currently headquartered in Sana’a, of which four are state-owned.
Historically speaking, the southern port city of Aden is the cradle of Yemeni theatre. Sana’a has also recently hosted numerous theatre festivals and is well-known for conducting World Theatre Day.
Football is the most popular sport in Yemen. The Yemeni national football team participates internationally.
Yemen’s mountains such as Sarawat and An-Nabi Shu’ayb are known for outdoor sports.
The coastal areas of Yemen and Socotra Island also provide infrastructure for water sports.
World Heritage sites: Shubham, Sana’a, Zabid, and Socotra.
According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are the Yemeni University of Science & Technology (6532nd worldwide), Al Ahgaff University (8930th), and Sanaa University (11043rd). Yemen was ranked 131st in the Global Innovation Index in 2020, down from 129th in 2019.
Recently, the Ambassador of Yemen to Pakistan Mohammed Motahar Alashabi also received Global Ambassadors Award 2021.
Overall, Yemen offers an exciting tour package for tourists. As the Middle East, particularly the Gulf region, progresses along with North Africa (and other countries on the African continent) and South Asia, the growth potential of Yemen can reach impressive standards.
The restoration of stable Government and Peace has also strengthened the state. Therefore, Yemen can overcome challenges as it becomes the major and focal point of investment in the Arabian Peninsula. The leisure activities offered by Yemen in terms of tourist points and sports can be a game-changer for the region.