Last updated in January 2014
Germany is held in very high regard in Yemen for historical reasons, the Federal Republic having recognised the young Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen) in 1962 immediately after the revolution there began. Conversely, the Yemen Arab Republic was the first country to break the Arab states’ boycott of the Federal Republic by resuming relations in 1969.
Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle paid a visit to Yemen in March 2012. Yemeni President Hadi visited Germany in October 2012, meeting with Federal Chancellor Merkel. In addition, the Friends of Yemen conferences held in London on 7 March and 25 September 2013 were also attended by the Federal Foreign Minister.
Yemen records a very large trade deficit with Germany. The principal German exports to Yemen include machinery, complete production plants, motor vehicles, chemical products and electrical goods, iron and iron goods, print products and food industry goods. Die Warenimporte nach Deutschland sind marginal. Die Folgen der Krise in Jemen auf die bilateralen Handelsbeziehungen sind demzufolge begrenzt und mangels aktueller Zahlen noch nicht absehbar. German imports from Yemen are insignificant. There are currently no known investments of any significance by German companies in Yemen. In March 2005, an amended investment protection accord and a double taxation agreement for the aviation sector were signed. The former has been in force since January 2008, the latter since January 2007.
Yemen is one of the world’s least developed countries (LDC), ranking 160th out of the 186 countries listed in the Human Development Index. More than half of the population lives in poverty, compared with 42 per cent in 2009. The biggest challenges to Yemen’s development include the water crisis, the country’s weak education system, systematic discrimination against women, the high population growth rate and the need to improve governance and strengthen government capacities.
Germany has been engaged in development cooperation with Yemen for more than 40 years. Since cooperation began, Germany has pledged more than EUR 1 billion for Yemen’s development, making it one of the country’s largest donors. As part of development cooperation, Germany is assisting Yemen’s interim government in the country’s political transformation process and in efforts to improve the humanitarian situation there. German development cooperation with Yemen focuses on the water and education sectors. Other key areas of bilateral cooperation are reproductive health, sustainable economic development, food security and biodiversity. Another overriding aim of German development cooperation with Yemen is implementing targeted measures to promote long-term good governance and respect for human rights.
Development cooperation with Yemen was fully resumed in March 2012. A core team of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and KfW Development Bank staff has been active again in Sanaa since March 2012. Some EUR 103 million in development cooperation is being made available for 2013/14.
Activities in this area focus on supporting and supervising the work of German cultural intermediaries with a presence in the country. Owing to the security situation in Yemen, cultural cooperation measures can at present only be conducted on a very limited scale and in many cases are therefore confined to ad hoc activities.
The German House Sanaa & Aden offers German courses as well as organising cultural events. Bilateral cooperation in higher education is taken care of by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).