Yemen: History, Culture and Economy

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File:Flag of Yemen.svgYemen (Arabic: اليَمَن al-Yaman), officially the Republic of Yemen is a country located on the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia. It has an estimated population of more than 23 million people and is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden to the south, and Oman to the east.

Yemen is just under 530,000 km2 (204,634 sq mi) in land area. Its territory includes over 200 islands, the largest of which is Socotra, about 415 km (258 mi) to the south of mainland Yemen, off the coast of Somalia. Yemen is the only state in the Arabian Peninsula to have a purely republican form of government. Its capital is Sana’a. In Yemen, about 18% of the population live below US$1.25 a day.

The modern history of Yemen began in 1918 when North Yemen gained independence from the Ottoman Empire. North Yemen became a republic in 1962, but it was not until 1967 that the British Empire, which had set up a protective area around the southern port of Aden in the 19th century, withdrew from what became South Yemen. In 1970, the southern government adopted a Communist governmental system. The two countries were formally united as the Republic of Yemen on May 22, 1990.

Yemen is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the Arab World, struck down with widespread poverty, unemployment, and rapid population growth. Yemen has a weak economy compared to other Gulf Countries, mainly due to Yemen having very little oil.

The economy depends heavily on the oil it does produce, and its government receives the vast majority of its revenue from oil taxes. But Yemen’s oil reserves are expected to be depleted by 2017, with fears of a resulting economic collapse.  Yemen does have large proven reserves of natural gas.  Yemen’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant began production in October 2009.

Rampant corruption is a prime obstacle to development in the country, limiting local re-investments and driving away regional and international capital. The government has recently taken many measures to stamp out corruption, but efforts have been met with only partial success. Foreign investments remain largely concentrated around the nation’s hydrocarbon industry.

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Notes from Wikipedia

Victoria Levy
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