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North Yemen became independent from 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 and brief civil war in 1994 was quickly subdued. In 2000, Saudi Arabia and Yemen agreed to delineate their border. Fighting in the northwest between the government and the Huthis, a Zaydi Shia Muslim minority, continued intermittently from 2004 to 2010. The southern secessionist movement was revitalized in 2007.


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

Natural Resources

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

Population - distribution

the vast majority of the population is found in the Asir Mountains (part of the larger Sarawat Mountain system), located in the far western region of the country

Arabic (official)
SANAA (capital) 2.962 million; Aden 882,000 (2015)
Conventional long form
Republic of Yemen
Conventional short form
Local long form
Al Jumhuriyah al Yamaniyah
Local short form
Al Yaman
in transition
Geographic coordinates
15 21 N, 44 12 E
Time difference
UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Yemen is a low-income country that faces difficult long-term challenges to stabilizing and growing its economy, and the current conflict has only exacerbated those issues. The ongoing war has halted Yemen’s exports, pressured the currency’s exchange rate, accelerated inflation, severely limited food and fuel imports, and caused widespread damage to infrastructure. More than 80% of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance and over half are food insecure.
External debt stocks
US$ 7,287,189,000
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ -3,026,024,546
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 6,854,527,750
Exports of goods and services
US$ 897,781,961
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ -15,444,808
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 262,405,370
grain, fruits, vegetables, pulses, qat, coffee, cotton; dairy products, livestock (sheep, goats, cattle, camels), poultry; fish
crude oil production and petroleum refining; small-scale production of cotton textiles, leather goods; food processing; handicrafts; aluminum products; cement; commercial ship repair; natural gas production
crude oil, coffee, dried and salted fish, liquefied natural gas
China 25.5%, UAE 17.1%, South Korea 10.4%, Saudi Arabia 10.3%, Kuwait 9.4%, India 5.3% (2015)
food and live animals, machinery and equipment, chemicals
UAE 18.5%, Oman 13.9%, China 12.6%, Saudi Arabia 8.7%, Kuwait 6.5%, India 4.1% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
The highest-risk political and economic situation and the most difficult business environment. Corporate default is likely.
Business Climate Rating
The highest possible risk in terms of business climate. Due to a lack of available financial information and an unpredictable legal system, doing business in this country is extremely difficult.
  • Political and financial backing of neighboring countries and several western countries given the geostrategic importance of Yemen
  • Architectural and cultural heritage
  • Civil war resulting in an economic and humanitarian crisis
  • The poorest country in the Arab peninsula
  • Heavy reliance on international aid
  • Depletion of oil reserves, not made up for by production of liquefied natural gas
  • Water shortage affecting farming
  • Disadvantageous business environment (bureaucracy, corruption, deficient infrastructure)

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