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Yemen has long been recognized as the poorest country in the region and has yet to be fully-integrated to the global economy. As a consequence of low confidence levels, money and assets have been diverted out of the country and invested elsewhere for decades.

By the end of 2015, roughly one-quarter of all businesses had closed and exports of oil and natural gas – once the country’s principal commodity – had tumbled by 85 per cent, leaving Yemen with limited foreign exchange. Imports have been halved – and with the operations of the Central Bank of Yemen difficult – they being directed primarily through unofficial channels. Gross domestic product decreases every year, shrinking nearly 28 per cent in 2015, 9.8 per cent in 2016, and 7.5 per cent in 2017. The government has been unable to pay its employees and many Yemenis have lost their jobs or income sources. As a result, some have resorted to negative coping mechanisms – taking their children out of school, forcing girls under 18 to marry or recruiting children to participate in violence.

The SDGs promote sustained economic growth, higher levels of productivity and technological innovation. Encouraging entrepreneurship and job creation are key to this, as are effective measures to eradicate forced labour, slavery and human trafficking. With these targets in mind, the goal is to achieve full and productive employment, and decent work, for all women and men by 2030.

Goals in action

  • Samiah: Caught between war and displacement

    Samiah hopes for peace to prevail in Yemen and that the war will come to an end soon. She tells us of her story fleeing war in hopes of a better life, and how she found that life come to reality through a UNDP-supported project.

  • Coffee farmers: Restoring hope amidst crisis in Yemen

    Mohammed was one of many coffee farmers in Burra who found hope in a business resilience project that aimed to expand production through improving value chains by using modern technologies and better farming methods.

  • Opening the door to success in Lawdar district

    Mohammed Salem Al Dalak , a 27-year old young man from Lawdar District in Abyan Governorate, is one of those who have been affected by the ongoing conflict that has subverted his dreams of becoming a successful businessman.

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