Changing of economic life patterns in Yemeni countryside [Archives:2004/724/Business & Economy]

March 25 2004

The Yemeni countryside is presently a scene of big changes in the pattern of economic and consuming culture while conflict between old habits and social traditions and the spirit of change and modernization coming from urban areas is getting intensified. Modernism is also resulting from the state plans for civilizing the urban life with development and service projects especially the expansion in building schools and colleges of civil community and providing electricity, water, telephone networks, paved roads and centers for training and qualification.
Data of the rural reality mention that the projects financed by the World Bank and the UN Development Program and the UNICEF as well as the donor countries such as Germany, Holland and others contribute to creating job opportunities for a proportion of the unemployed and enable the poor families to improve their levels of income and their stability in a social environment that is continuously and steadily growing.
In addition to that, the projects built by the local authority and those approved in development plans of the central government contribute to modernizing the countryside economic life and developing consumption culture and paying attention to the local and social environment. The official efforts were concentrated on supporting farmers and marketing their products to the cities over paved roads, a matter that produced financial benefit for the people in the countryside.
Visitors to the Yemeni countryside would find that 5 percent of the population consisting of families settled in the villages depends in their living spending on revenues coming to them from their expatriate sons. Those contribute to funding vital projects, educational, health and cooperative implemented, in addition to their administration of investment productive projects in the cities and export and market their products to the villages.
As a result of official and private efforts, services of electricity reached many densely populated villages where the state establishment of electricity and rural water carry out direct supervision on building power-generating stations and employing a number of the unemployed in following up signing of contracts for extending services to the citizens and paying bills of subscription. The state establishment also builds projects for water through building water dams and barriers for overcoming the water crisis especially in the areas suffering from the problem of non-availability of water. It also extends services to the citizens' houses in return for duties paid monthly to direct supervisors. In rural areas densely with females the concerned authorities and government and non-government organisations build centers for training and qualification for women enabling them to manage small projects, sewing workshops and embroidery and other handicrafts which they market to cities within a plan of Yemen's implementation of a national strategy for fighting poverty.
These efforts have contributed to changing the manner of economic life in the countryside in Yemen. On its part the private sector worked for spreading the GSM telephone service by erecting relay stations that extended coverage of the service to most of areas having dense population where fixed telephone services have not reached rural villages.
It is to be noted that countryside populating participation in dealing with GSM services of the private sector created a competition between the two companies; Sabafon and Spacetel that have been able to cover the largest area of villages at a time services of the state establishment of cable and wireless communications are still weak and limited spread due to not building relay stations in rural areas. Thus the culture of the rural consumer has changed where supplying of electricity services have urged the people to buy television sets and receivers for viewing satellite TV channels, except for the poor families that cannot afford buying them.
Despite of this change in the Yemeni countryside there is an intensifying conflict between a generation living at he age of globalization and ken on education and encouraging its sons and daughters to go to public schools an another generation still tied to the past and sticking to religious fundamentals and social habits and traditions that look at woman as her place in society is confined to raising children and managing household affairs.
Of the results of this conflict in some villages there appeared some elements calling for depriving the Yemeni woman of public posts and threatening the employed wives of divorce if they do not quit their job of teaching in government schools. This means there is an exaggeration towards the woman work which constitutes a dangerous phenomenon threatening the future of the woman life in the country.
It can be affirmed that the economic and social life is changing in the Yemeni rural areas and that implementation of development and services projects play an important role that would lead this change that in turn would develop culture of he local society and bring up a new generation dealing positively with the language of science and knowledge. There would be a generation that would take part effectively in running the local authority and implementing local projects that contribute to improvement of the general performance of economy.