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The World Factbook (1990)/Yemen, People's Democratic Republic of


Yemen, People's Democratic Republic of [Yemen (Aden) or South Yemen]

World Factbook (1990) Yemen, People's Democratic Republic of.jpg

See regional map VI


Total area: 332,970 km²; land area: 332,970 km²; includes Perim, Socotra

Comparative area: slightly larger than New Mexico

Land boundaries: 1,699 km total; Oman 288 km, Saudi Arabia 830 km, YAR 581 km

Coastline: 1,383 km

Maritime claims:

Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Continental shelf: edge of continental margin or 200 nm
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: sections of boundary with YAR indefinite or undefined; Administrative Line with Oman; no defined boundary with Saudi Arabia

Climate: desert; extraordinarily hot and dry

Terrain: mostly upland desert plains; narrow, flat, sandy coastal plain backed by flat-topped hills and rugged mountains

Natural resources: fish, oil, minerals (gold, copper, lead)

Land use: 1% arable land; NEGL% permanent crops; 27% meadows and pastures; 7% forest and woodland; 65% other; includes NEGL% irrigated

Environment: scarcity of natural freshwater resources; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Note: controls southern approaches to Bab el Mandeb linking Red Sea to Gulf of Aden, one of world's most active shipping lanes


Population: 2,585,484 (July 1990), growth rate 3.2% (1990)

Birth rate: 48 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 14 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -2 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 110 deaths/ 1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 50 years male, 54 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 7.0 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Yemeni(s); adjective—Yemeni

Ethnic divisions: almost all Arabs; a few Indians, Somalis, and Europeans

Religion: Sunni Muslim, some Christian and Hindu

Language: Arabic

Literacy: 25%

Labor force: 477,000; 45.2% agriculture, 21.2% services, 13.4% construction, 10.6% industry, 9.6% commerce and other (1983)

Organized labor: 348,200; the General Confederation of Workers of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen has 35,000 members


Long-form name: People's Democratic Republic of Yemen; abbreviated PDRY

Type: republic

Capital: Aden

Administrative divisions: 6 governorates (muḩāfaz̧at, singular—muḩāfaz̧ah); Abyan, ‘Adan, Al Mahrah, Ḩaḑramawt, Laḩij, Shabwah

Independence: 30 November 1967 (from UK)

Constitution: 31 October 1978

Legal system: based on Islamic law (for personal matters) and English common law (for commercial matters)

National holiday: National Day, 14 October

Executive branch: president, prime minister, two deputy prime ministers, Council of Ministers

Legislative branch: unicameral Supreme People's Council

Judicial branch: Federal High Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President Haydar Abu Bakr al-‘ATTAS (since 8 February 1986);

Head of Government—Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) Dr. Yasin Sa‘id NU‘MAN (since 8 February 1986); Deputy Prime Minister Salih Abu Bakr bin HUSAYNUN (since 8 February 1986); Deputy Prime Minister Salih Munassir al-SIYAYLI (since 8 February 1986)

Political parties and leaders: only party Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) is a coalition of National Front, Ba‘th, and Communist Parties

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: Supreme People's Council—last held 28-30 October 1986 (next to be held NA); results—YSP is the only party; seats(111 total) YSP or YSP approved 111

Communists: NA

Other political or pressure groups: NA

Member of: Arab League, FAO, G-77, GATT (de facto), IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB—Islamic Development Bank, IFAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, ITU, NAM, OIC, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation: none; the UK acts as the protecting power for the US in the PDRY

Flag: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black with a light blue, isosceles triangle based on the hoist side bearing a red five-pointed star


Overview: The PDRY is one of the poorest Arab countries, with a per capita GNP of about $500. A shortage of natural resources, a widely dispersed population, and an arid climate make economic development difficult. The economy has grown at an average annual rate of only 2-3% since the mid-1970s. The economy is organized along socialist lines, dominated by the public sector. Economic growth has been constrained by a lack of incentives, partly stemming from centralized control over production decisions, investment allocation, and import choices.

GNP: $1.2 billion, per capita $495; real growth rate 5.2% (1988 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.8% (1987)

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget: revenues $429 million; expenditures $976 million, including capital expenditures of $402 million (1988 est.)

Exports: $82.2 million (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—cotton, hides, skins, dried and salted fish; partners—Japan, YAR, Singapore

Imports: $598.0 million (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—grain, consumer goods, crude oil, machinery, chemicals; partners—USSR, Australia, UK

External debt: $2.25 billion (December 1989 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

Electricity: 245,000 kW capacity; 600 million kWh produced, 240 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: petroleum refinery (operates on imported crude oil); fish

Agriculture: accounts for 13% of GNP and 45% of labor force; products—grain, qat (mildly narcotic shrub), coffee, fish, livestock; fish and honey major exports; most food imported

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-80), $4.5 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $241 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $279 million; Communist countries (1970-88), $2.2 billion

Currency: Yemeni dinar (plural—dinars); 1 Yemeni dinar (YD) = 1,000 fils

Exchange rates: Yemeni dinars (YD) per US$1—0.3454 (fixed rate)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Highways: 11,000 km; 2,000 km bituminous, 9,000 km natural surface (est.)

Pipelines: refined products, 32 km

Ports: Aden, Al Khalf, Nishtūn

Merchant marine: 3 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,309 GRT/6,568 DWT; includes 2 cargo, 1 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker

Civil air: 8 major transport aircraft

Airports: 42 total, 29 usable; 7 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 11 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 10 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: small system of open-wire, radio relay, multiconductor cable, and radio communications stations; 15,000 telephones (est.); stations—1 AM, no FM, 5 TV; satellite earth stations—1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT, 1 Intersputnik, 1 ARABSAT; radio relay and tropospheric scatter to YAR

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, People's Militia, People's Police

Military manpower: males 15-49, 544,190; 307,005 fit for military service

Defense expenditures: NA