Yemen’s Non-Oil Exports Rise [Archives:1999/14/Last Page]

April 5 1999

Yemen has become basically a one-commodity exporting country. Oil makes-up more than 90% of its total exports. During 1998, oil exports represented 92.7% of the total.
But, according to Mr. Noman Al-Molsi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Promoting Exports, non-oil exports more than tripled in 1998, over the 1997 figures. In an interview published by the official “The Economic” half-monthly circular, issued by Saba News Agency on 31st March, 1999, Mr. Al-Molsi said that total non-oil exports jumped to YR 5 billion, from only YR 1.6 billion in 1997. In addition to traditional Yemeni exports such as coffee, hides, cotton, fish, etc. – all in raw material form, Yemen is beginning to export some manufactured consumer goods. These include biscuits, confectionery, detergents, juices, etc.

The Yemeni officials pointed to the various efforts undertaken to enable Yemeni producers compete in the world market. “We held a seminar 14-15 September, 1998 to discuss what can be done. We diagnosed many possible steps, and we are now moving towards their implementation,” he indicated.

There are three main projects on which Mr. Molsi and his team are working. They are pushing for the establishment of an export credit bank, for building data base on potential markets for Yemeni exports, and for more strict quality controls on Yemeni products.
He also pointed to the tremendous good will generated by the successful visits by Yemeni officials, especially President Ali Abdullah Saleh to foreign lands. “Although we have to compete along market lines, these good-will visits and better political understanding help pave the way,” he said.