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.