Lifting Yemen from the 148th Spot [Archives:1999/30/Front Page]

July 26 1999

The United Nations Annual Human Development Report 1999 released this month shows that Yemen is among the bottom ranking countries in terms of the human development indicators achieved. Yemen holds the 148th position among 174 countries, with respect to the various indicators of human developments used, which include: life expectancy, literacy, combined gross enrollment rates, GDP, education, human development index, etc. The UN Report indicates that the rate of poverty in Yemen has increased to 27% in 1998, (4.3 million people), while in 1992 it was just 19.1% (3.2 million people). Although this ranking is better than the 1998 ranking of 151, the situation has to be viewed in the context of the actual indicators given and the relative comparison to the other countries, as well as the actual situation on the ground. 
With Yemen’s fast growing population the unemployment rate is approaching the 40% mark. Consequently the country is getting poorer and malnutrition is widespread. President Saleh states that the main reason behind the increasing level of poverty is the rapidly growing population of the country.. The population is doubling every 19 years, with a growth rate of 3.7 percent a year between 1988-1994. The population is expected to reach 18.9 million in 2001. Official estimates put the population now at about 17.5 million. It is obvious that the next President will still continue to face the critical problem of getting the country on the right track of development..