So I will be focusing on Yemen this semester and wanted to begin by providing some basic data on the country. The above link leads to the CIA World Factbook profile page for Yemen. Below is a quick overview and some analysis on information from the profile that I found to be pertinent:
Yemen has a population of 24,133,492 people (July 2011 estimates) with a high concentration of youth (median age: 18.1 years). It is quite homogeneous with a predominantly Arab ethnic composition. The vast majority of Yemenis are Muslims and either Shaf’i (Sunni) or Zaydi (Shi’a). In addition, small contingents of Christian, Jewish and Hindu are also present. The capital city is Sana’a and Ali Abdullah Salih remains the President of the Republic of Yemen to date.
Yemen’s GDP (PPP) is $ 63.4 billion (2010 est.) and Yemen has a GDP (PPP) per capita of $ 2,700 (2010 est.). They had a GDP real growth rate of 8% in 2010, up from 3.9% in 2009. Yemen is considered a low income country.
Yemen’s unemployment rate was estimated in 2003 to be 35% and is exacerbated by the country’s considerable youth bulge. And with 43% of the population being 14 years of age or younger, the influx of youth seeking employment in upcoming years may increase unemployment as job creation will likely struggle to keep pace with the countries growing labor force.
Yemen’s economy is highly dependent on their depleting oil resources, with Petroleum constituting 25% of GDP and 70% of Government revenues. Yemen’s oil production has 2009 estimates of 288,400 bbl/day, placing them 37th out of 209 countries. Also, Yemen has proven reserves of 3.16 billion bbl as of January 1, 2010. Yemen’s exports other than crude include coffee, dried and salted fish as well as a relatively recent venture into exporting liquefied natural gas. Yemen has strong trade ties with China and India.
One more point: an important geopolitical consideration is Yemen’s strategic location on the Bab el Mandeb, a strait that links the Gulf of Aden with the Red Sea. Ultimately, the strait is a crucial passageway linking the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea and out to the Atlantic via the Red Sea to the Suez Canal and is considered a choke point in the maritime transportation of oil. More on this and the political dynamics of Yemen in future posts.