Yemen is the poorest Arab country, and was hard hit by the global economic crisis. In the first quarter of 2009, the government’s revenue fell by 75 percent. With nearly 80 percent of the state’s budget coming from oil reserves that are now in steep decline, the outlook is bleak.
The government introduced a 10-point plan in August 2009 to help the country get back on its feet, including an effort to fight the country’s notorious corruption. But the effects have yet to trickle down, making the economy a greater threat in some Yemen analysts’ eyes than AQAP or the southern secessionist movement.
“None of these issues are going to be the ones that overwhelm or destroy Yemen; it’s the economy,” Christopher Boucek, of the Carnegie Middle East program in Washington, told the Monitor this spring. “If you look at the way the Yemeni government has ruled, it’s been through the politics of personal relationships, through corruption, through patronage... As the amount of money that the central government has slowly gets to be smaller and smaller, the government will have less ability to maintain control.”