Copyright © 2003 Yemen Times:
widely read English newspaper | yementimes.com
“Yemen has capacity
deficits, financial constraints and governance shortcomings standing
as major obstacles for the country to be able to achieve 2015
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” said Flavia Pansieri, United
Nations resident coordinator at Saturday’s consultation meeting of
the third national Development Plan for Poverty Reduction and Reform
(DPPR) in Sana’a. “Yemen is progressing, but in slow incremental
steps. It needs to rev up or double its efforts,” she
Yemen ranks among nations with the highest population
growth rate. According to Dr. Ralf Dreyer, European Commission
Charge d’ Affaires in Sana’a, Yemen faces difficulties in the next
20 years due to population growth. Citizens are distributed among
129,299 villages and districts in the countryside, an indication of
their wide scattering, thereby affecting the process of distributing
Increasing internal immigration poses yet another
development problem, as the workforce heads for main cities in
search of jobs, leaving behind agricultural land. All of these
factors have negative consequences for the country’s economy and
Yemen lacks an investment environment
capable of attracting both internal and foreign investors. According
to the DPPR, there are a variety of reasons for this, most notably
security, administration, taxation, customs, limited qualified human
resources, land problems and infrastructure deficiency. Internal
terrorist acts figure prominently as well.
“Now more than
ever, Yemen requires rigorous action to move ahead toward improving
its governance status and creating enabling environment for doing
business. Apart from fighting corruption, this entails comprehensive
judicial and land registration reform programs to provide an
enabling environment to attract internal as well as foreign
investors,” Pansieri said.
European Parliament member Avril
Doyle criticized Yemen’s investment environment as failing to
attract investors, pointing out that rich Yemenis abroad don’t
invest in Yemen because they don’t trust the country’s
Inability of human resources development poses a
threat to society’s development, with illiteracy as a case in point,
as illiterate adults comprise 47.2 percent of Yemen’s population.
School dropout rates have increased remarkably, especially among
female secondary students; consequently, Yemeni education outputs
The number of secondary school students was
484,000 in 2001, whereas there are now 682,765 students nationwide.
There are 14,617 basic education schools, of which 260 are private.
Regarding basic education, the number of female students remains low
at 53.9 percent of the population, whereas males comprise 73.1
Looking at vocational and technical education, there
previously were 26 institutes with 6,567 students; however, this
number increased during 2001-2005 to 29 institutes with 20,203
students. This sector faces problems, as evidenced by increasing
students while the institutes suffer capacity deficits. The third
DPPR aims to increase the number of institutes to 145 by 2010, with
a seven percent student increase.
participation is not high. They comprise 28.3 percent of the private
sector workforce, with 78.8 percent working in agriculture and
grazing. Working women in the education sector are 18 percent, 25
percent work in Health and Social Affairs and 16.4 percent work in
state administrative staffs.
Two women were appointed
ministers in the last Cabinet reshuffle. Also, there is only one
female ambassador abroad and one in Parliament, indicating the low
number of women candidates. The third DPPR aims to increase women’s
participation in decision making by increasing their participation
in running in parliamentary and local elections by five percent and
by 30 percent as electors; participating in government employment by
five percent and in diplomatic affairs by five percent; and in
police and security authorities by five percent.
agricultural sector plays a vital role in achieving food security,
creating job opportunities and reducing poverty, as it is a basic
means for development in the countryside. However, Yemen has limited
agricultural resources, with 1.5 million hectares of agricultural
land equivalent to 2.5 percent of its total area, which doesn’t
match population growth to ensure food security. Also, most farmers
depend on traditional tools, resulting in low production and
consequently, affecting limited-income farmers.
continually increased during 2000-2005 – involving 10.6 percent of
agricultural lands – whereas grain production slowed remarkably.
Over the past three decades, qat fields increased 18-fold.
Approximately 108 tons of qat were produced in 2000, increasing to
124 tons in 2005. Qat planting consumes approximately 30 percent of
agricultural water use in general; that is, 850 million cubic meters
Many poor and limited-income citizens chew qat,
with studies showing that qat spending comprises 26 percent of
family income. Some YR 250 billion is spent on qat annually and 20
million working hours wasted daily due to qat chewing.
agricultural sector also faces various structural challenges like
water shortage, limited agricultural lands, incompetent irrigation
systems and inadequate rainwater