Yemeni currency, subsistence agriculture, Arab Gulf states, Communist countries, South Yemen
For centuries, Yemen’s economy was based on subsistence agriculture and was largely self-sufficient. However, with the import of cheap goods from abroad, North Yemen moved quickly from self-sufficiency to dependence after 1960, as the south had done decades earlier. During the 1970s and 1980s North Yemen came to rely heavily on Saudi Arabia, the Arab Gulf states, and to a lesser extent, the western industrial countries for financial and other assistance, while South Yemen became equally dependent on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and other Communist countries. Unification in 1990 and the negative effects of the Persian Gulf War the following year caused economic hardship but also spurred a new commitment to economic planning and development in Yemen. Efforts to improve the economy focused on Yemen’s petroleum industry, its considerable agricultural and fishing potential, job training, and infrastructure. In 1994, however, Yemen’s economy suffered another blow with the onset of civil war. The conflict, which lasted for more than two months, produced major infrastructural damage throughout the country, although particularly in and surrounding the port city of Aden; it also resulted in rampant inflation and a major devaluation of the Yemeni currency.
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