Yemen Country Report
The ongoing civil war is the key obstacle to investment in Yemen. Foreign companies entering the country have to factor in significant risks to personnel and property, although the intensity of such challenges vary considerably by province, with potential future partition between the north and south key areas of risk. Severe operational obstacles also exist in the form of poor infrastructure and an underdeveloped and poor-quality road network.
Since January 2018, the UAE has intensified its operations in southern Yemen aimed at degrading AQAP's presence in the area. UAE-led efforts have followed a two-fold approach: first, restoration of a measure of authority in those cities under its control and, second, mounting clearing operations from there aimed at dislodging AQAP and intended to progressively expand the area controlled by its local proxies. However, AQAP's ongoing attacks against UAE-backed forces and Houthi militants point to a still-fragile risk environment across southern provinces that calls into question UAE claims that its counter-terrorism operations have greatly degraded the jihadists' capabilities.
Given the corruption that is endemic in the country's police and security forces, many Yemenis prefer to deal with tribal authorities when it comes to crime. The power and influence of tribal mechanisms are more common in the north than in the south. Tribal authorities operate their own tribal courts, as they have for generations, where urf tribal law is used to decide cases.
The risk of kidnapping, particularly to foreign workers, is severe, and is fuelled by AQAP's calls to target Westerners. It has long been common for armed tribesmen in remote areas or public places in big cities as Sanaa or Aden to kidnap or rob expatriate workers for financial gain or to obtain services from the government, such as the release of detained relatives. Generally the tribesmen are appeased by the government and the kidnappings end peacefully. Nonetheless, kidnappings in Yemen have taken a more sinister turn in recent years, with criminal gangs kidnapping foreigners and attempting to ransom them to the government and international actors, and even selling them onto Al-Qaeda affiliates for substantial profit. Previously, those kidnapped would typically eventually be freed unharmed, and with respect to tribal customs treated relatively well during their detention.
Insecurity has increased throughout Yemen due to the ongoing civil war. Reports of looting and banditry are on the increase as state security forces are fragmented and their loyalty remains questionable. However, most Yemenis are well-equipped to deal with looters and acts of banditry. As a result, despite the almost complete lack of police, there has been no widespread looting in Yemen's major cities.
This is likely to change with the deterioration of the situation and international sanctions accompanying the war as food stores are depleted and increasing numbers of people are forced to do without basic necessities.
Since July 2020, there has been a steady escalation in fighting between Saudi-backed forces loyal to internationally recognised President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Houthis in Ma’rib province, the last government-controlled province in north-west Yemen, and al-Jawf and Hajja provinces. The escalation reflects the current impasse in peace talks brokered by the United Nations, which have failed to produce any tangible outcome since the Hodeidah ceasefire was signed in December 2018.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No country requirement.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Due to the ongoing conflict, Sana'a's El Rahaba International Airport (SAH) is only open to humanitarian and military flights and those with specific authorization. It is subject to closures on short notice.
Main roads are in good condition but can be dangerous in rainy weather and at night. It is strongly advisable to hire a chauffeur car. Fuel shortages are common.
Piracy threatens all those traveling by sea along the Yemeni coast. The Gulf of Aden as a whole remains very unstable as a result of the structural weakness of Yemen and its neighboring states. Emirati and American ships have also been targeted by missiles, likely launched from Houthi land positions.
Yemen, with the exception of the desert zones in the north and the east of the country, experiences a rainy season which lasts from March until August. The climate is hot and humid along the coast and can be very unpleasant in July and August. Conditions are the most pleasant between December and February. Along the reliefs, temperatures are more temperate with humid summers and dry winters. At high elevations (2000 meters), temperatures vary considerably between day and night.
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