Yemen Overview


The Republic of Yemen was born on May 22, 1990 following the merger of North Yemen, formerly an Arab Republic since 1962, and South Yemen, formerly a British protectorate, independent since 1967 and People’s Democratic Republic since 1970. Based on the approved Constitution in May 1991 (later amended in 1994), the exercise of executive power was entrusted to the President of the Republic (elected by direct suffrage for a seven-year term), assisted by a Council of Ministers appointed by the President in agreement with the Prime Minister; the legislative power exercised by a House of Representatives (301 members in office for 6 years) elected by direct universal suffrage and by the Shura Council, made up of 111 members appointed by the president.British Common Law as well as local regulations. International jurisdiction is not accepted and the death penalty is in effect. Justice is administered, in its highest degree, by the Supreme Court. The defense of the country is entrusted to the army, navy and air force; There is also a National Guard and a Coast Guard. Military service is compulsory and lasts 3 years; since 2001 a program has been authorized to launch a form of voluntary conscription. Primary education starts at 6 years and lasts for 6 years, secondary education comprises two cycles of three years each. The universities present in the country are located in Sanʽā, Aden, Hodeida and Shibām. Illiteracy in the country is very high: in fact it concerns 41.1% of the population (2007).


The hydrographic network is represented by the numerous furrows of the uidians, which have different paths from one end of the country to the other: in the western belt the edge of the plateau feeds fast and torrential watercourses, which descend from the escarpment both towards the sea (wadi Saham), both towards the deserts of the interior (wadi Adhanah); in the center of the territory, on a stretch parallel to the coast line, it flows for approx. 600 km, the largest of the Yemeni rivers, the wadi Ḥaḍramawt (which then, in the direction of the mouth, takes the name of wadi al-Masīlah). In the eastern belt, the uidians are mostly lost in the desert sands.


The Yemeni vegetation varies according to the altitude. Around the springs and along the uidians there are crops and spontaneous plants such as date palms, tamarisks, acacias but as you go up the flora becomes richer with sycamores, figs and euphorbias, thanks also to a greater water supply, given by the rainfall, which allows the cultivation of tropical fruits (coffee). Ziziphus is still mentioned among the numerous species present in the country spina-christi, the tree from which, according to biblical tradition, the crown of Christ was made, and Adenium obesum, also known as the bottle tree or the desert rose. The major environmental problems are related to desertification, soil erosion, especially in grazing areas, and the scarcity of water resources, as groundwater is used intensively. Few specimens of the original fauna remain (baboon, hyena, fox) and many wild species are extinct (oryx of Arabia, panther, antelope, rhinoceros); migratory birds and, in the territorial waters, various species of fish can still be observed. In the country there are 3 protected areas (the community of Bura, the island of Suquṭrā and the community of the Wadi Zabīd catchment area) and a reserve as well as a series of parks and natural oases not recognized internationally.


The financial system is based on banks. The opening of modern communication routes has contributed to giving significant economic impulses to the country; in particular, trade flows have benefited. On the other hand, the increase in foreign trade was more consistent. The trade balance is in any case passive: among the few exported goods there are oil and its derivatives, cotton, coffee, hides and skins, fish. The main trading partners are China, India, Thailand, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, the USA, the United Arab Emirates and Brazil (for imports). Railways and roads have an overall development of approx. 24,000 Km; the roads are only half paved and mostly date back to the 1970s. The main artery is the highway that connects the capital, Sanʽā, with the port of Hodeida, the most active in the country, after that of Aden. Other important port centers are Al-Mukhā, Al-Salīf and Loheia. The air transport sector also recorded a moderate increase: Yemen can count on six international airports.


According to itypeauto, contemporary literary production is mainly focused on the problems and tragedies that have hit the Arab world. One of the best known poets is Muḥammad Maḥmūʽd az-Zubayrī (1909-1964), and valuable poets are also Ibrāhīm al-Hadrānī (b. 1915), engaged in the Liberation Movement; ʽAbd Allāʽh al-Baradūnī (b. 1929), who is also one of the greatest writers; ʽAbd ar-Raḥmāʽn Fakhrī (b.1936) and, among the younger ones, ʽAbd ar-Raḥmāʽn Ibrāhīm (b.1954) and Ǧunaid Muḥammad Ǧunaid (b.1955). Among the writers, in addition to the aforementioned al-Baradūnī, there are Muḥammad ʽAbd al-Wālī (1940-1973), Zayd Muṭīʽ Dammāǧ (b.1943), author of short stories and the novel The Hostage (1984); Mayfaʽ ʽAbd ar-Raḥmāʽn (b.1951) and Muḥammad Ṣāliḥ Ḥaydara (b.1952). The theatrical production is also good, also focused on political themes, with ʽAbd al-Magīd al-Qādī (b. 1934) and Saʽīd ʽAulaqī (b. 1940).

Yemen Overview

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