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Business Profile

 

 

Yemen Business Profile

Statistics

• GDP: US$15.9 billion (2005).
• Main imports: Petroleum products, cereal, feed grains, food, machinery, transport equipment, iron, sugar and honey.
• Main exports: Crude petroleum, refined oil products, seafood, fruit, vegetables, hides and tobacco products.
• Main trade partners: China, France, India, Indonesia, Korea (Rep), Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and USA.

Economy

Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, and among the principal motivations behind the unification of Yemen in 1990 was the prospect of economic transformation and expansion. However, it is only in the last few years that the economy has started to show sporadic signs of improvement.

Under IMF auspices, the government has implemented a programme of structural reforms involving privatisation and an overhaul of the financial system. In exchange, the Yemenis received financial support and some relief of Yemen’s US$5 billion foreign debt. The economy is now growing at around 5%, and inflation eased to 11%, after a rapid increase in previous years. Large-scale unemployment persists; an estimated 30% of the workforce are out of work and there is serious under-employment.

Agriculture is concentrated in the fertile northern part of the country. The principal cash crops are cereals, cotton, coffee, fruit, vegetables and qat (a narcotic leaf); sorghum, potatoes, wheat and barley are grown for local consumption. Livestock rearing and fishing, both of which occur throughout the country, are also important. The manufacturing industry is mainly involved in the production of construction materials, processed foods, tobacco, drinks and chemicals.

However, the most important industrial activity is oil and gas production. Yemeni reserves are modest by regional standards but since the opening of the refining complex at Aden in 1994 and new fields coming on stream, the sector accounts for the majority of export earnings. Aden also hosts a newly established free-trade zone. Other mineral deposits, which are concentrated in the south, include copper, gold, lead, zinc and molybdenum.

 

Business Etiquette

Businesspeople are expected to dress smartly for meetings and formal social occasions. English is commonly used in business circles. Appointments are needed and visitors should be punctual. Business cards are often exchanged. Do not be surprised during a meeting if Yemeni businessmen chew qat.

Office hours: Sat-Wed 0800-1500, during Ramadan 1000-1500.

Commercial Information

General Investment Authority
Al-Quds Street, Southern Safya, PO Box 19022, Republic of Yemen
Tel: (1) 262 962/3.
Website: www.giay.gov.ye

 

 

 

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