Yemen

Last updated: July 2nd, 2021

Yemen, like Germany reunified in 1990, is located in the southwest of the Arabian Peninsula. It borders Saudi Arabia to the north, Oman to the east, the Gulf of Aden to the south, and the Red Sea to the west. This is also where the capital Sanaa is located with its picturesque old town being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The second largest city, Aden, has an important port and was the former capital of the socialist South Yemen. The Yemeni population in 2018 was estimated at around 28.5 million living in an area around one and a half times larger than Germany. According to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, three quarters of them are affected by the humanitarian crisis in the country, which has persisted since the start of a joint military operation against armed insurgents by several Arab countries in March 2015.

Yemen is a member of the UN and the Arab League, the Worldbank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as other international organizations.

The country is formally a presidential republic in transition, headed by President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi since 2012. He replaced long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who did not run for reelection in the course of the 2011 revolution, which can be seen in the broader context of the political upheavals in many Arab countries, and who ultimately fell victim to an attack in December 2017. The main goal of the international community is to resolve the crisis and civil war in Yemen. There is a transition plan of the Gulf Cooperation Council and, in December 2018, a fragile UN ceasefire for the important port city of Hudaida had been implemented, which could no longer be approached by large ships due to large parts of the infrastructure and cranes having been destroyed. In April 2021, the UN again urged for an immediate ceasefire after further fighting had broken out in the northern region of Marib, threatening displaced people that had previously found refuge there.

Wheat and other cereals, refined petroleum, raw iron bars and other metal goods, rice and sugar, as well as cars were the most important import goods in 2019. Germany exported mostly packaged medicaments, refined petroleum, medical instruments, and other machines to Yemen. In 2020, Yemen was said to import around 90 percent of its food supply due to the ongoing crisis. However, the weak national currency makes imports immensely expensive. German imports from Yemen in 2019 constituted mainly crude oil and, to a lesser extent, scrap copper, coffee, and fish.

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