Republic of Yemen Essay

GEOGRAPHY:

-Location:

The republic of Yemen is a small country situated in the southern part of the Middle East. It has borders with Saudi Arabia and Oman and has exits to some important seas and gulfs like: Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Red Sea and the straight Bab el Mandeb. Its geographical coordinates are: 15 00 N and 48 00 E. The total land boundaries are 1746 km and its coastline is 1906Km. Total land area is 527.970 square kilometres, all of it being land, none water. It is slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming and it is slightly bigger than the area of Thailand or Spain. Its current area includes Perim, Socotra, the former Yemen Arab republic (YAR / North Yemen) and People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen/ PDRY).

-Physical environment:

Yemen does not have any permanent river, which means that some rivers appear during the rainy season but do not last after the season ends. Some well known mountains are: The Haraz Mountains, The Sarawat Mountains (located in the western part of the country). The highest peak in the mountains is Jabal an Nabi Shu’ayb (3,760m), which is

(Yemen desert)

the highest peak on the Arabian Peninsula. Because the mountains have a more welcoming climate, better conditions and a higher rainfall, there is a higher density of population and agricultural activity than in the rest of the country.

(Yemen Haraz Mountains)

Climate:

Usually the temperatures are very high in Yemen, in the desert regions being the hottest, in the coastal regions cooler, and in mountains the coolest. The mountain regions have a nice summer temperature of an average of 21�C, and cool winter temperatures with minimums that usually do not go lower than 4�C and they are considered the best regions

to live in the Arabic Peninsula. The temperatures in Tihamah (located on the western coast of Yemen) usually are greater than 54�C, because the clime in Tihamah is tropical.

Average annual rainfall is 127mm. As you can see in the climate graph of Aden the average temperature is 25�C in January and 32�C in June, but the highs do not often exceed 35�C. Below are other climate graphs of Hudeidah, Taiz and Sana’a. As you can see, the temperatures and humidity in Hudeidah are the highest, as it is on the coast, and the climate is tropical, similar to Tihamah and Aden, but the temperatures and humidity is lower in Taiz and Sana’a as they are located in the mountains. In conclusion, Yemen has a supportable climate in the mountains, with relatively low temperatures and humidity, making the density of population greater there, and has a hot weather in the rest of the country, the humidity depending on the geographical location of the cities (closer to the coast equals a greater humidity).

How does geography hurt or benefit this country?

First: Yemen is situated in a good location, as it has access to both the Red Sea and the Northern part of Indian Ocean, so it can develop its fishing industry. It is also in a region with oil and natural gas, and it can extract and sell it.

Second: Yemen has mountains, which make the climate milder and cooler. Also the mountains allow the practice of Agriculture.

Third: However the most part of the country is desert, and in desert the climatic conditions are very rough so, the population density is going to be very low in desert.

HISTORY:

Early History:

In the pre-Islamic times the area that is now Yemen was called Arabia Felix or Happy/Prosperous Arabia and was ruled by different dynasties until the 20th century, most known and continuous were the Zaydis. The most important event was the introduction of Islam at approximate A.D. 630. After the Persian emperor converted to Islam many tribes converted to Islam too, and Yemen was ruled as an Arab caliphate.

North and South Yemen:

-Former North Yemen (YAR)

Until 1918 when The Ottoman Empire was dissolved, Yemen was part of it, and after it dissolved the leader of the Zaydis, Imam Yahya, took the control of the whole country. However he was assassinated, because many

people weren’t satisfied with his decisions.

(Coat of Arms of North Yemen)

His son followed him at throne. The reign of his son, Imam Ahmad was marked by a period of civil conflicts than let to a civil war, and at its end, North Yemen was recognised as an independent country.

(Flag of North Yemen)

-Former South Yemen (PDRY)

Since 1839 the whole South Yemen and especially Aden, were governed by the British as a Part of British India, until in 1965 when 2 parties started the fight for power in the South Yemen. By the end of the year one of the parties won, and made Britain and their troops out of the country, and by the end of the

(Coal of Arms of South Yemen)

year 1970 the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, also known as South Yemen, was declared independent.

(Flag of South Yemen)

Unification of the countries, and the more recent events:

In 1972 the 2 Republics off Yemen were in conflict. Although there were some attempts at piece and unification from the part of the Arab League, the 2 countries remained apart. More fighting broke in 1970, but after some months of war the 2 presidents of the countries decided to sign the document of unification. However it happened only after numerous civil fights, exiles and murders of the officialises from both countries, on May 22nd, 1990.

However the unification did not let to piece and economic prosperity, example being the continuous civil wars between 1990 and 1994.

How has the past affected this country today?

Yemen’s history has been marked by a period of civil wars that have decimated the people and have lowered the possible economical growth.

Cultural Diversity:

Ethnic groups:

Yemen’s population is mostly composed out of Arabs, but it also contains afro-arabs, South Asians and Europeans. Arabs make 92.8% of the total population, Somali 3.7%, Black 1.1%, Indo-Pakistan 1% and other minorities make up only 1.4% of the total.

Religions:

In Yemen almost all people are Muslim, 70% of them are in the Shafii school of Sunni Islam and 30% to the Zaydi sect of Shia Isla. Furthermore there are a few thousand Ismaili Muslim and 500 Jews in the North of Yemen.

Some religion practises and traditions that take place in Yemen are: If a person dies his body is washed, perfumed and wrapped in a white material. The deceased has to be buried that day before sunset and no women are allowed at the burial in the cemetery. During the first three days of mourning the Koran is read and friends visit the relatives of the deceased.

Traditions/ Rituals

Another tradition in Yemen are the Kin groups, this society is based on the belief that they are coming from the same ancestors, so they have to help each other. Literature is rich in historical, geographic, religious work, agricultural almanacs, astronomical treaties and rhymed prose. Since Middle Ages poetry was sung, performed during social events.

Languages:

The national and spoken language in Yemen is Arabic. However there are 3 more active languages. (5 dialects of Arabic, Bathari, Mehri, Soqotri).

As you can see almost 99.5% of the population speaks different dialects of Arabic.

Do the differences help or hurt the national identity?

There are almost no differences in population, as almost all the population speaks different dialects of Arab.

Population:

The birth rate is 42.42/ 1000 people.

The death rate is 7.83/ 1000 people.

The density is 40 people per km^2.

The population growth rate is 3.46%.

The dependency load is 49% of the population.

27% leave in urban areas and 73% of the population life in rural areas.

Do you foresee any future problems as a result of growth or lack of population?

I think the population is too big for a country not really developed like Yemen, and if the population is going to grow, as i think it will the poverty rate is going to crow and a higher percentage of the population is going to be malnourished.

Economics:

Yemen is one of the poorest and less developed countries in the Middle East, with a growth rate of only 3-4% between 2000 and 2007 and with a percentage less than 3 in 2008 due to the lowering of the prices of oil and less demand on the market. However Yemen has tried to improve its economy by trying to diversify its earnings. In 2006 they designed a plan to boost the non-oil branches of economy and to attract new international funding. Soon, it is scheduled to open a natural gas facility.

Some of Yemen’s natural resources are: petroleum, gas, fish, rock salt, marble; small deposits of gold, lead, nickel and copper; also fertile land in the west of the country.

Agriculture:

Only 2.91% of the lands country is arable and only 0.25% of it has permanent crops.

As you can see from the chart, even if 54.1% of the population are employed in the field of agriculture, still 76% of the necessary food needs to be imported. Furthermore, agriculture makes up only 9.4% GDP, with more than half of the population working as “farmers”.

Fishing:

Fishermen work along the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea coasts. The annual fish catch in 2000 was about 114,751 tons. Principal species of that catch included Indian and Spanish mackerel, cuttlefish, lobster, and scavengers. Fish-processing plants are located at Al-Hudaydah and Al-Mukalla. Exports of fish and fish products were valued at $40.9 million in 2000. Pearl and coral diving have been practiced for centuries.

Insurance:

There were at least 10 insurance companies in Yemen in 1999, much of their business being transacted abroad. In 1999 the revenues from insurance were 18.8 million dollars which consisted ~ 30% of the GDP.

Oil:

The most developed industry is the oil industry, with revenues of approximately 5billion in 2008. To attract the investors in the oil company Yemen government reduced taxes for the extraction of oil, lowered signature bonuses, introduction of a sliding scale, motivated with their geographical position which allows quick transportation.

Natural gas:

Even if Yemen has a fair amount of natural gas resources (478.5 m^3), the natural gas industry is not developed, with the first natural gas factory planned for this year.

GDP per capita was $2600 in 2008, and it is mainly made up of industry revenue (oil), than services, and in the end agriculture.

The Yemen GDP per capita has registered a huge raise in the past 5 years, its value being almost 5 times as high as it was in 2003.

Yemen has an external debt of 6,044b US $ according to the CIA world fact book.

Here is an old distribution of wealth chart in Yemen in 1992, but it I am pretty sure it did not change too much for the past years:

Lowest 10% of the population 2.3% of the wealth

Lowest 20% 6.1%

Second 20% 10.9%

Third 20% 15.3%

Fourth 20% 21.6%

Highest 20% 46.1%

Highest 10% 30.8%

As you can see from the chart the distribution of wealth is unequal in all the country, with 10% of the population having almost 30% of the wealth.

Yemen poverty statistics:

16% of the population lives with under 1$ per day.

45% of the population lives with under 2$ per day.

Below is a chart of the Inflation rate in Yemen over 7 years. From the chart it can be concluded that prices have went up for the past 7 years.

Can this country support its people?

This country definitely cannot support its people, because this country’s economy is based on oil extraction and refining which does not involve too many employees. The government should redirect their funds to developing services like medicine, teaching, etc. Also, they should help people maximize the revenues from agriculture as 54% of the countries people work in agriculture, by giving away equipment in exchange of a small part from the crops.

Politics:

The current president of Yemen is Ali Abdallah Salih, and he has been elected in 2006 for a 7 year term by 77% of the vote. The vice president and the prime minister are appointed by the president, who appoint 35 members in the Council of Ministries. The current vice president is Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi and the prime minister is Ali Muhammad Mujawwar.

Yemen is a republic.

Yemen is divided into 19 governorates, muhafazat, singular – muhafazah); Abyan, ‘Adan, Ad Dali’, Al Bayda’, Al Hudaydah, Al Jawf,

(Yemen president, Ali Abdallah Salih)

Al Mahrah, Al Mahwit, ‘Amran, Dhamar, Hadramawt, Hajjah, Ibb, Lahij, Ma’rib, Sa’dah, Sana’a’, Shabwah, Ta’izz, but for electoral and administrative purposes, the capital city of Sana’a is treated as an additional governorate.

The Executive branch is made up by the president, vice president, prime minister and the Council of Ministers.

The Legislative branch is made up of Shura Council and a House of Representatives

The Judicial branch is the Supreme Court, but as other systems in Yemen it is corrupt and badly managed.

Political parties in Yemen:

General People Congress (gained 74% of the votes in the 2006 elections)

JMP (gained 22% of the votes in the 2006 elections)

Does the government help or hinder development? Do people have say in decision making?

The government did some tries to raise the economy of Yemen and attract foreign investors, although they were not really successful, because of the raised poverty rates and not really good conditions for the investors regarding the money they win from their investment. This is a republic, so people have the right to vote, but elections are held only once in 7 years, so it does not really give a chance for the voters to change their opinion about their vote.

Health and Education:

Infant mortality is 58 deaths per 1000 live birth.

Life expectancy is 60.6 years for males, 65.5 years for females and 62.5 years overall.

The number of doctors in Yemen does not exceed 6000, so there are approximately 3

doctors per 10000 people and only 6.5 hospitals available per 1000 people.

In Yemen the calorie consumption per capita per day is of only 2100 calories (855 of the calories are taken from cereal, the main source of calories in Yemen, and 9% from meat).

40% of the population is malnourished.

Yemen has one of the lowest calorie consumption in Arab countries compared to 3200 in Egypt and 2800 in Sudan.

The literacy rate in Yemen is very low, only 35 percent of females and 73 percent of males over 15 are literate, and an overall percentage of 54%.

There is a direct relation between low literacy rate and school enrolment. Even though the education if compulsory and free for children aged 6-15, the class attendance is not compulsory and there is an additional fee of 10$ US per year for the school. So, in 2006 only 75% of the eligible population was enrolled in primary school and in the same year only 37% of the school-age population was enrolled in secondary school.

What do the statistics tell you about the state of health and education in nation?

People in this country do not have access to doctors as they are only 3 doctors per 10000 people. The education is poor too as the literacy rate in only 54%, and a lot of people under 15 do not attend neither the primary or the secondary level of education.

ASSESMENT:

I will give Yemen 1.5 stars.

I did not give Yemen 1 star, because there are some attempts of developing the economy and redirecting the earnings to different industries: for example the plan for a new natural gas refining plant.

However the health and education in Yemen are really poor, 54% of the population only are literate and there are few doctors and hospitals available to the people. Furthermore the government is corrupt, so a lot of wrong and biased decisions are made. Also there is a lot of population for such a little land and job opportunities, and the population is denser in the mountains and coasts than in the whole country. However geography benefits Yemen in a way, making Yemen one of the best places to live in the Arabic Peninsula, because of the mild climate in the mountains. Also Yemen has access to the Red Sea and to the northern part of the Indian Ocean, which enables fishing, and gives really good trade routes, which should be used more.

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