Yemen's Biggest Companies
Yemen is one of the least developed economies of the Arab world, with few natural resources and a high rate of unemployment. The young and growing population threatens to increase the employment problem in Yemen in the future.
The economy has had to cope with a number of problems such as the need to integrate two different economic systems after the unification of the North and South in 1990 and the return of about 850,000 Yemeni people from the states of the Persian Gulf in the same year. The civil war in 1994 again caused serious problems.
The economy of Yemen is largely dependent on oil, although the country only has relatively small oil reserves. The oil reserves in Yemen are expected to be depleted by 2017, which poses a huge problem for the country's economy and its government. The Yemeni government relies on oil taxes for the majority of its revenue. Yemen does have large reserves on natural gas, and it is beginning to focus on exploiting these as an alternative energy resource to oil. The first liquefied natural gas plant in Yemen began production in 2009.
Yemen LNG was created when the Yemen Gas Company joined with a number of private companies. The first liquefaction plant was constructed at Balhat and it began production in 2009. The government hopes that exploiting natural gas will help to provide an additional 350 million US dollars for its budget and that it will also enable Yemen to develop a petrochemical industry.
The economy of Yemen is very dependent on agriculture, which is responsible for producing over 20 percent of the country's GDP and employing more than half of the Yemeni workforce. The income generated from this sector can vary significantly due to environmental factors such as drought, however, with the contribution to the GDP declining in just 13.5 percent in 2005. The lack of water in the country is a serious problem for agriculture and it is becoming increasingly problematic as the groundwater supply is depleted. The primary cash crops are vegetables and fruit, which are usually produced using irrigation. Production of Qat, a stimulant that is widely used in the country is also important for agriculture in the Yemen. Qat production may contribute up to 10 percent of the GDP while employing 150,000 people and using as much as 30 percent of the water used in irrigation.
Industry contributes approximately 47 percent of the GDP while employing less than 25 percent of the workforce. The largest sector of industry is oil refining, but Yemen also produces construction materials and consumer goods. There are approximately 34,000 industrial plants in the country, although most of these are small businesses and half are involved in processing food and beverages. Production of cooking oil and flour has become increasingly important in recent years.
The services sector accounts for over half the country's GDP, but tourism has not been extensively developed due to the poor infrastructure and security problems. TeleYemen is the main telecommunications company in Yemen, but there are also four mobile phone providers: Spacetel Yemen. Sabafon, Yemen Mobile and HiTS UNITEL. The financial sector in Yemen is also underdeveloped and its main focus is on banking. In addition to the Central Bank, there are fifteen commercial banks operating in Yemen. Nine of these are private domestic banks, of which four are Islamic.
A number of large companies and groups operate in Yemen. One of the largest groups in Yemen is Hayel Saeed Anam and Company. It was established in 1970 and it is involved in the distribution of various products. The company also represents many multinational companies such as Unilever and Kraft Foods in the country.