Saudi Arabia vs. Yemen


Saudi ArabiaYemen

Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to Islam's two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. The king's official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The modern Saudi state was founded in 1932 by ABD AL-AZIZ bin Abd al-Rahman Al SAUD (Ibn Saud) after a 30-year campaign to unify most of the Arabian Peninsula. One of his male descendants rules the country today, as required by the country's 1992 Basic Law. Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Saudi Arabia accepted the Kuwaiti royal family and 400,000 refugees while allowing Western and Arab troops to deploy on its soil for the liberation of Kuwait the following year. The continuing presence of foreign troops on Saudi soil after the liberation of Kuwait became a source of tension between the royal family and the public until all operational US troops left the country in 2003. Major terrorist attacks in May and November 2003 spurred a strong ongoing campaign against domestic terrorism and extremism.

From 2005 to 2015, King ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud incrementally modernized the Kingdom. Driven by personal ideology and political pragmatism, he introduced a series of social and economic initiatives, including expanding employment and social opportunities for women, attracting foreign investment, increasing the role of the private sector in the economy, and discouraging businesses from hiring foreign workers. These reforms have accelerated under King SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz, who ascended to the throne in 2015, and has since lifted the Kingdom's ban on women driving and allowed cinemas to operate for the first time in decades. Saudi Arabia saw some protests during the 2011 Arab Spring but not the level of bloodshed seen in protests elsewhere in the region. Shia Muslims in the Eastern Province protested primarily against the detention of political prisoners, endemic discrimination, and Bahraini and Saudi Government actions in Bahrain. Riyadh took a cautious but firm approach by arresting some protesters but releasing most of them quickly and by using its state-sponsored clerics to counter political and Islamist activism.

The government held its first-ever elections in 2005 and 2011, when Saudis went to the polls to elect municipal councilors. In December 2015, women were allowed to vote and stand as candidates for the first time in municipal council elections, with 19 women winning seats. After King SALMAN ascended to the throne in 2015, he placed the first next-generation prince, MUHAMMAD BIN NAYIF bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, in the line of succession as Crown Prince. He designated his son, MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, as the Deputy Crown Prince. In March 2015, Saudi Arabia led a coalition of 10 countries in a military campaign to restore the legitimate government of Yemen, which had been ousted by Huthi forces allied with former president ALI ABDULLAH al-Salih. The war in Yemen has drawn international criticism for civilian casualties and its effect on the country’s dire humanitarian situation. In December 2015, then Deputy Crown Prince MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN announced Saudi Arabia would lead a 34-nation Islamic Coalition to fight terrorism (it has since grown to 41 nations). In May 2017, Saudi Arabia inaugurated the Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology (also known as "Etidal") as part of its ongoing efforts to counter violent extremism. In June 2017, King SALMAN elevated MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN to Crown Prince.

The country remains a leading producer of oil and natural gas and holds about 16% of the world's proven oil reserves as of 2015. The government continues to pursue economic reform and diversification, particularly since Saudi Arabia's accession to the WTO in 2005, and promotes foreign investment in the Kingdom. In April 2016, the Saudi Government announced a broad set of socio-economic reforms, known as Vision 2030. Low global oil prices throughout 2015 and 2016 significantly lowered Saudi Arabia’s governmental revenue. In response, the government cut subsidies on water, electricity, and gasoline; reduced government employee compensation packages; and announced limited new land taxes. In coordination with OPEC and some key non-OPEC countries, Saudi Arabia agreed cut oil output in early 2017 to regulate supply and help elevate global prices.

The Kingdom of Yemen (colloquially known as North Yemen) became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1918 and in 1962 became the Yemen Arab Republic. The British, who had set up a protectorate area around the southern port of Aden in the 19th century, withdrew in 1967 from what became the People's Republic of Southern Yemen (colloquially known as South Yemen). Three years later, the southern government adopted a Marxist orientation and changed the country's name to the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen. The massive exodus of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis from the south to the north contributed to two decades of hostility between the states. The two countries were formally unified as the Republic of Yemen in 1990. A southern secessionist movement and brief civil war in 1994 was quickly subdued. In 2000, Saudi Arabia and Yemen agreed to delineate their border.

Fighting in the northwest between the government and the Huthis, a Zaydi Shia Muslim minority, continued intermittently from 2004 to 2010, and then again from 2014-present. The southern secessionist movement was revitalized in 2007.

Public rallies in Sana'a against then President Ali Abdallah SALIH - inspired by similar demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt - slowly built momentum starting in late January 2011 fueled by complaints over high unemployment, poor economic conditions, and corruption. By the following month, some protests had resulted in violence, and the demonstrations had spread to other major cities. By March the opposition had hardened its demands and was unifying behind calls for SALIH's immediate ouster. In April 2011, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in an attempt to mediate the crisis in Yemen, proposed the GGC Initiative, an agreement in which the president would step down in exchange for immunity from prosecution. SALIH's refusal to sign an agreement led to further violence. The UN Security Council passed Resolution 2014 in October 2011 calling for an end to the violence and completing a power transfer deal. In November 2011, SALIH signed the GCC Initiative to step down and to transfer some of his powers to Vice President Abd Rabuh Mansur HADI. Following HADI's uncontested election victory in February 2012, SALIH formally transferred all presidential powers. In accordance with the GCC Initiative, Yemen launched a National Dialogue Conference (NDC) in March 2013 to discuss key constitutional, political, and social issues. HADI concluded the NDC in January 2014 and planned to begin implementing subsequent steps in the transition process, including constitutional drafting, a constitutional referendum, and national elections.

The Huthis, perceiving their grievances were not addressed in the NDC, joined forces with SALIH and expanded their influence in northwestern Yemen, culminating in a major offensive against military units and rival tribes and enabling their forces to overrun the capital, Sanaa, in September 2014. In January 2015, the Huthis surrounded the presidential palace, HADI's residence, and key government facilities, prompting HADI and the cabinet to submit their resignations. HADI fled to Aden in February 2015 and rescinded his resignation. He subsequently escaped to Oman and then moved to Saudi Arabia and asked the GCC to intervene militarily in Yemen to protect the legitimate government from the Huthis. In March, Saudi Arabia assembled a coalition of Arab militaries and began airstrikes against the Huthis and Huthi-affiliated forces. Ground fighting between Huthi-aligned forces and resistance groups backed by the Saudi-led coalition continued through 2016. In 2016, the UN brokered a months-long cessation of hostilities that reduced airstrikes and fighting, and initiated peace talks in Kuwait. However, the talks ended without agreement. The Huthis and SALIH’s political party announced a Supreme Political Council in August 2016 and a National Salvation Government, including a prime minister and several dozen cabinet members, in November 2016, to govern in Sanaa and further challenge the legitimacy of HADI’s government. However, amid rising tensions between the Huthis and SALIH, sporadic clashes erupted in mid-2017, and escalated into open fighting that ended when Huthi forces killed SALIH in early December 2017. In 2018, anti-Huthi forces made the most battlefield progress in Yemen since early 2016, most notably in Al Hudaydah Governorate. In December 2018, the Huthis and Yemeni Government participated in the first UN-brokered peace talks since 2016. In April 2019, Yemen’s parliament convened in Seiyoun for the first time since the conflict broke out in 2014 and elected a speaker and vice speakers.


Saudi ArabiaYemen
Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen
Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates
25 00 N, 45 00 E
15 00 N, 48 00 E
Map references
Middle East
Middle East
total: 2,149,690 sq km
land: 2,149,690 sq km
water: 0 sq km
total: 527,968 sq km
land: 527,968 sq km
water: 0 sq km

note: includes Perim, Socotra, the former Yemen Arab Republic (YAR or North Yemen), and the former People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY or South Yemen)

Area - comparative
slightly more than one-fifth the size of the US
almost four times the size of Alabama; slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming
Land boundaries
total: 4,272 km
border countries (7): Iraq 811 km, Jordan 731 km, Kuwait 221 km, Oman 658 km, Qatar 87 km, UAE 457 km, Yemen 1307 km
total: 1,601 km
border countries (2): Oman 294 km, Saudi Arabia 1307 km
2,640 km
1,906 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
continental shelf: not specified
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes
mostly desert; hot and humid along west coast; temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon; extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in east
mostly sandy desert
narrow coastal plain backed by flat-topped hills and rugged mountains; dissected upland desert plains in center slope into the desert interior of the Arabian Peninsula
Elevation extremes
mean elevation: 665 m
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal Sawda' 3,133 m
mean elevation: 999 m
lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m
highest point: Jabal an Nabi Shu'ayb 3,666 m
Natural resources
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper
petroleum, fish, rock salt, marble; small deposits of coal, gold, lead, nickel, and copper; fertile soil in west
Land use
agricultural land: 80.7% (2011 est.)
arable land: 1.5% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.1% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 79.1% (2011 est.)
forest: 0.5% (2011 est.)
other: 18.8% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 44.5% (2011 est.)
arable land: 2.2% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.6% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 41.7% (2011 est.)
forest: 1% (2011 est.)
other: 54.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land
16,200 sq km (2012)
6,800 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards

frequent sand and dust storms

volcanism: despite many volcanic formations, there has been little activity in the past few centuries; volcanoes include Harrat Rahat, Harrat Khaybar, Harrat Lunayyir, and Jabal Yar

sandstorms and dust storms in summer

volcanism: limited volcanic activity; Jebel at Tair (Jabal al-Tair, Jebel Teir, Jabal al-Tayr, Jazirat at-Tair) (244 m), which forms an island in the Red Sea, erupted in 2007 after awakening from dormancy; other historically active volcanoes include Harra of Arhab, Harras of Dhamar, Harra es-Sawad, and Jebel Zubair, although many of these have not erupted in over a century

Environment - current issues
desertification; depletion of underground water resources; the lack of perennial rivers or permanent water bodies has prompted the development of extensive seawater desalination facilities; coastal pollution from oil spills; air pollution; waste management
limited natural freshwater resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
Environment - international agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river; extensive coastlines on the Persian Gulf and Red Sea allow for considerable shipping (especially of crude oil) through the Persian Gulf and Suez Canal
strategic location on Bab el Mandeb, the strait linking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, one of world's most active shipping lanes
Population distribution
historically a population that was mostly nomadic or semi-nomadic, the Saudi population has become more settled since petroleum was discovered in the 1930s; most of the economic activities - and with it the country's population - is concentrated in a wide area across the middle of the peninsula, from Ad Dammam in the east, through Riyadh in the interior, to Mecca-Medina in the west near the Red Sea
the vast majority of the population is found in the Asir Mountains (part of the larger Sarawat Mountain system), located in the far western region of the country


Saudi ArabiaYemen
33,091,113 (July 2018 est.)

note: immigrants make up 37% of the total population, according to UN data (2017)

28,667,230 (July 2018 est.)
Age structure
0-14 years: 25.74% (male 4,348,227 /female 4,170,944)
15-24 years: 15.58% (male 2,707,229 /female 2,447,519)
25-54 years: 49.88% (male 9,951,080 /female 6,554,525)
55-64 years: 5.48% (male 1,112,743 /female 700,553)
65 years and over: 3.32% (male 586,606 /female 511,687) (2018 est.)
0-14 years: 39.16% (male 5,711,709 /female 5,513,526)
15-24 years: 21.26% (male 3,089,817 /female 3,005,693)
25-54 years: 32.78% (male 4,805,059 /female 4,591,811)
55-64 years: 4% (male 523,769 /female 623,100)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 366,891 /female 435,855) (2018 est.)
Median age
total: 29.9 years (2018 est.)
male: 32.1 years
female: 27.2 years
total: 19.8 years (2018 est.)
male: 19.6 years
female: 19.9 years
Population growth rate
1.63% (2018 est.)
2.17% (2018 est.)
Birth rate
15.6 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
27.6 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate
3.3 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
5.9 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate
4.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
0.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.11 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.52 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.59 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.15 male(s)/female
total population: 1.3 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.84 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 12.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
male: 13 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.1 deaths/1,000 live births
total: 44.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
male: 48.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 40.4 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 75.7 years (2018 est.)
male: 74.2 years
female: 77.3 years
total population: 66.2 years (2018 est.)
male: 64 years
female: 68.5 years
Total fertility rate
2.04 children born/woman (2018 est.)
3.48 children born/woman (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
<.1% (2016 est.)
<.1% (2018 est.)
noun: Saudi(s)
adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian
noun: Yemeni(s)
adjective: Yemeni
Ethnic groups
Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%
predominantly Arab; but also Afro-Arab, South Asian, European
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
8,200 (2016 est.)
11,000 (2018 est.)
Muslim (official; citizens are 85-90% Sunni and 10-15% Shia), other (includes Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh) (2012 est.)

note: despite having a large expatriate community of various faiths (more than 30% of the population), most forms of public religious expression inconsistent with the government-sanctioned interpretation of Sunni Islam are restricted; non-Muslims are not allowed to have Saudi citizenship and non-Muslim places of worship are not permitted (2013)

Muslim 99.1% (official; virtually all are citizens, an estimated 65% are Sunni and 35% are Shia), other 0.9% (includes Jewish, Baha'i, Hindu, and Christian; many are refugees or temporary foreign residents) (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
<500 (2016 est.)
<500 (2018 est.)
Arabic (official)
Arabic (official)

note: a distinct Socotri language is widely used on Socotra Island and Archipelago; Mahri is still fairly widely spoken in eastern Yemen

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.7%
male: 97%
female: 91.1% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 70.1%
male: 85.1%
female: 55% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 17 years
male: 18 years
female: 16 years (2014)
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 8 years (2011)
Education expenditures
urban population: 84.1% of total population (2019)
rate of urbanization: 2.17% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 37.3% of total population (2019)
rate of urbanization: 4.06% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: urban: 97% of population
rural: 97% of population
total: 97% of population
unimproved: rural: 3% of population
total: 3% of population (2015 est.)
improved: urban: 72% of population
rural: 46.5% of population
total: 54.9% of population
unimproved: urban: 28% of population
rural: 53.5% of population
total: 45.1% of population (2012 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: urban: 100% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 100% of population (2015 est.)
total: 100% of population (2015 est.)
unimproved: urban: 0% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 0% of population (2015 est.)
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
improved: urban: 92.5% of population (2012 est.)
rural: 34.1% of population (2012 est.)
total: 53.3% of population (2012 est.)
unimproved: urban: 7.5% of population (2012 est.)
rural: 65.9% of population (2012 est.)
total: 46.7% of population (2012 est.)
Major cities - population
7.071 million RIYADH (capital), 4.522 million Jeddah, 2.005 million Mecca, 1.459 million Medina, 1.225 million Ad Dammam (2019)
2.874 million SANAA (capital), 950,000 Aden (2019)
Maternal mortality rate
17 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
164 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Health expenditures
5.8% (2015)
6% (2015)
Physicians density
2.39 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
0.31 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density
2.7 beds/1,000 population (2014)
0.7 beds/1,000 population (2014)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
35.4% (2016)
17.1% (2016)
Contraceptive prevalence rate
24.6% (2016)
33.5% (2013)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 40.9 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 36.6 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 4.3 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 23.2 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 76.8 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 71.7 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 5.1 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 19.8 (2015 est.)


Saudi ArabiaYemen
Country name
conventional long form: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
conventional short form: Saudi Arabia
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Arabiyah as Suudiyah
local short form: Al Arabiyah as Suudiyah
etymology: named after the ruling dynasty of the country, the House of Saud; the name "Arabia" can be traced back many centuries B.C., the ancient Egyptians referred to the region as "Ar Rabi"
conventional long form: Republic of Yemen
conventional short form: Yemen
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Yamaniyah
local short form: Al Yaman
former: Yemen Arab Republic [Yemen (Sanaa) or North Yemen] and People's Democratic Republic of Yemen [Yemen (Aden) or South Yemen]
etymology: name derivation remains unclear but may come from the Arab term "yumn" (happiness) and be related to the region's classical name "Arabia Felix" (Fertile or Happy Arabia); the Romans referred to the rest of the peninsula as "Arabia Deserta" (Deserted Arabia)
Government type
absolute monarchy
in transition
name: Riyadh
geographic coordinates: 24 39 N, 46 42 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: the name derives from the Arabic word "riyadh," meaning "gardens," and refers to various oasis towns in the area that merged to form the city
name: Sanaa
geographic coordinates: 15 21 N, 44 12 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
13 regions (manatiq, singular - mintaqah); Al Bahah, Al Hudud ash Shamaliyah (Northern Border), Al Jawf, Al Madinah al Munawwarah (Medina), Al Qasim, Ar Riyad (Riyadh), Ash Sharqiyah (Eastern), 'Asir, Ha'il, Jazan, Makkah al Mukarramah (Mecca), Najran, Tabuk
22 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Abyan, 'Adan (Aden), Ad Dali', Al Bayda', Al Hudaydah, Al Jawf, Al Mahrah, Al Mahwit, Amanat al 'Asimah (Sanaa City), 'Amran, Arkhabil Suqutra (Socotra Archipelago), Dhamar, Hadramawt, Hajjah, Ibb, Lahij, Ma'rib, Raymah, Sa'dah, San'a' (Sanaa), Shabwah, Ta'izz
23 September 1932 (unification of the kingdom)
22 May 1990 (Republic of Yemen was established with the merger of the Yemen Arab Republic [Yemen (Sanaa) or North Yemen] and the Marxist-dominated People's Democratic Republic of Yemen [Yemen (Aden) or South Yemen]); notable earlier dates: North Yemen became independent on 1 November 1918 (from the Ottoman Empire) and became a republic with the overthrow of the theocratic Imamate on 27 September 1962; South Yemen became independent on 30 November 1967 (from the UK)
National holiday
Saudi National Day (Unification of the Kingdom), 23 September (1932)
Unification Day, 22 May (1990)
history: 1 March 1992 - Basic Law of Government, issued by royal decree, serves as the constitutional framework and is based on the Qur'an and the life and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad
amendments: proposed by the king directly or proposed to the king by the Consultative Assembly or by the Council of Ministers; passage by the king through royal decree; Basic Law amended many times, last in 2005 (2016)
history: adopted by referendum 16 May 1991 (following unification); note - after the National  Dialogue ended in January 2015, a Constitutional Drafting Committee appointed by the president worked to prepare a new draft constitution that was expected to be put to a national referendum before being adopted; however, the president’s resignation in January 2015 and subsequent conflict have interrupted the process
amendments: amended several times, last in 2009
Legal system
18 years of age; restricted to males; universal for municipal elections
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state: King and Prime Minister SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 23 January 2015); Crown Prince MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (born 31 August 1985); note - the monarch is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: King and Prime Minister SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 23 January 2015); Crown Prince MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (born 31 August 1985)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch every 4 years and includes many royal family members
elections/appointments: none; the monarchy is hereditary; an Allegiance Council created by royal decree in October 2006 established a committee of Saudi princes for a voice in selecting future Saudi kings
chief of state: President Abd Rabuh Mansur HADI (since 21 February 2012); Vice President ALI MUHSIN al-Ahmar, Lt. Gen. (since 3 April 2016)
head of government: Prime Minister Maeen Abd al-Malik SAEED (since 15 October 2018)
cabinet: appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 7-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 21 February 2012 (next election NA); note - a special election was held on 21 February 2012 to remove Ali Abdallah SALIH under the terms of a Gulf Cooperation Council-mediated deal during the political crisis of 2011; vice president appointed by the president; prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Abd Rabuh Mansur HADI (GPC) elected as a consensus president with about 50% popular participation; no other candidates
Legislative branch
description: unicameral Consultative Council or Majlis al-Shura (150 seats; members appointed by the monarch to serve 4-year terms); note - in early 2013, the monarch granted women 30 seats on the Council
note: composition as of 2013 - men 121, women 30, percent of women 19.9%
description: bicameral Parliament or Majlis consists of:
Shura Council or Majlis Alshoora (111 seats; members appointed by the president; member tenure NA)
House of Representatives or Majlis al Nuwaab (301 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 6-year terms)
House of Representatives - last held on 27 April 2003 (next scheduled for April 2009 but postponed indefinitely)
election results:
percent of vote by party - GPC 58.0%, Islah 22.6%, YSP 3.8%, Unionist Party 1.9%, other 13.7%; seats by party - GPC 238, Islah 46, YSP 8, Nasserist Unionist Party 3, National Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party 2, independent 4
Judicial branch
highest courts: High Court (consists of the court chief and is organized into circuits with 3-judge panels, except for the criminal circuit, which has a 5-judge panel for cases involving major punishments)
judge selection and term of office: High Court chief and chiefs of the High Court Circuits appointed by royal decree upon the recommendation of the Supreme Judiciary Council, a 10-member body of high-level judges and other judicial heads; new judges and assistant judges serve 1- and 2-year probations, respectively, before permanent assignment
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; Specialized Criminal Court, first-degree courts composed of general, criminal, personal status, and commercial courts; Labor Court; a hierarchy of administrative courts
highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the court president, 2 deputies, and nearly 50 judges; court organized into constitutional, civil, commercial, family, administrative, criminal, military, and appeals scrutiny divisions)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council, which is chaired by the president of the republic and includes 10 high-ranking judicial officers; judges serve for life with mandatory retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: appeal courts; district or first instance courts; commercial courts
Political parties and leaders
General People’s Congress or GPC – Aden
General People's Congress or GPC - Sana'a [Sadiq Ameen Abu RAS]
National Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party [Qassem Salam SAID]
Nasserist Unionist People's Organization [Abdulmalik al-MEKHLAFI]
Southern Transitional Council or STC [Aidarus al-ZOUBAIDA]
Yemeni Reform Grouping or Islah [Muhammed Abdallah al-YADUMI]
Yemeni Socialist Party or YSP [Dr. Abd al-Rahman Umar al-SAQQAF]
International organization participation
Diplomatic representation in the US
Ambassador Prinecss REEMA bint Bandar Al Saud (since 8 July 2019)
chancery: 601 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 342-3800
FAX: [1] (202) 944-5983
consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, New York
Ambassador Ahmad Awadh BIN MUBARAK (since 3 August 2015)
chancery: 2319 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 965-4760
FAX: [1] (202) 337-2017
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador John P. ABIZAID (since 8 May 2019)
telephone: [966] (11) 488-3800
embassy: P.O. Box 94309, Riyadh 11693
mailing address: American Embassy, Unit 61307, APO AE 09803-1307; International Mail: P. O. Box 94309, Riyadh 11693
FAX: [966] (11) 488-7360
consulate(s) general: Dhahran, Jiddah (Jeddah)
chief of mission: Ambassador Christopher HENZEL (since 20 May 2019); note - the embassy closed in March 2015; Yemen Affairs Unit currently operates out of US Embassy Riyadh
telephone: US Embassy Riyadh [966] 11-488-3800
embassy: Sa'awan Street, Sanaa
mailing address:

US Embassy Riyadh

FAX: US Embassy Riyadh [966] 11-488-7360
Flag description
green, a traditional color in Islamic flags, with the Shahada or Muslim creed in large white Arabic script (translated as "There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God") above a white horizontal saber (the tip points to the hoist side); design dates to the early twentieth century and is closely associated with the Al Saud family, which established the kingdom in 1932; the flag is manufactured with differing obverse and reverse sides so that the Shahada reads - and the sword points - correctly from right to left on both sides

note: the only national flag to display an inscription as its principal design; one of only three national flags that differ on their obverse and reverse sides - the others are Moldova and Paraguay

three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; the band colors derive from the Arab Liberation flag and represent oppression (black), overcome through bloody struggle (red), to be replaced by a bright future (white)

note: similar to the flag of Syria, which has two green stars in the white band, and of Iraq, which has an Arabic inscription centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Egypt, which has a heraldic eagle centered in the white band

National anthem
name: "Aash Al Maleek" (Long Live Our Beloved King)
lyrics/music: Ibrahim KHAFAJI/Abdul Rahman al-KHATEEB

note: music adopted 1947, lyrics adopted 1984

name: "al-qumhuriyatu l-muttahida" (United Republic)
lyrics/music: Abdullah Abdulwahab NOA'MAN/Ayyoab Tarish ABSI

note: adopted 1990; the music first served as the anthem for South Yemen before unification with North Yemen in 1990

International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)
palm tree surmounting two crossed swords; national colors: green, white
golden eagle; national colors: red, white, black
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Saudi Arabia; a child born out of wedlock in Saudi Arabia to a Saudi mother and unknown father
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Yemen; if the father is unknown, the mother must be a citizen
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


Saudi ArabiaYemen
Economy - overview

Saudi Arabia has an oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. It possesses about 16% of the world's proven petroleum reserves, ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC. The petroleum sector accounts for roughly 87% of budget revenues, 42% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings.

Saudi Arabia is encouraging the growth of the private sector in order to diversify its economy and to employ more Saudi nationals. Approximately 6 million foreign workers play an important role in the Saudi economy, particularly in the oil and service sectors; at the same time, however, Riyadh is struggling to reduce unemployment among its own nationals. Saudi officials are particularly focused on employing its large youth population.

In 2017, the Kingdom incurred a budget deficit estimated at 8.3% of GDP, which was financed by bond sales and drawing down reserves. Although the Kingdom can finance high deficits for several years by drawing down its considerable foreign assets or by borrowing, it has cut capital spending and reduced subsidies on electricity, water, and petroleum products and recently introduced a value-added tax of 5%. In January 2016, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN announced that Saudi Arabia intends to list shares of its state-owned petroleum company, ARAMCO - another move to increase revenue and outside investment. The government has also looked at privatization and diversification of the economy more closely in the wake of a diminished oil market. Historically, Saudi Arabia has focused diversification efforts on power generation, telecommunications, natural gas exploration, and petrochemical sectors. More recently, the government has approached investors about expanding the role of the private sector in the health care, education and tourism industries. While Saudi Arabia has emphasized their goals of diversification for some time, current low oil prices may force the government to make more drastic changes ahead of their long-run timeline.

Yemen is a low-income country that faces difficult long-term challenges to stabilizing and growing its economy, and the current conflict has only exacerbated those issues. The ongoing war has halted Yemen’s exports, pressured the currency’s exchange rate, accelerated inflation, severely limited food and fuel imports, and caused widespread damage to infrastructure. The conflict has also created a severe humanitarian crisis - the world’s largest cholera outbreak currently at nearly 1 million cases, more than 7 million people at risk of famine, and more than 80% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance.

Prior to the start of the conflict in 2014, Yemen was highly dependent on declining oil and gas resources for revenue. Oil and gas earnings accounted for roughly 25% of GDP and 65% of government revenue. The Yemeni Government regularly faced annual budget shortfalls and tried to diversify the Yemeni economy through a reform program designed to bolster non-oil sectors of the economy and foreign investment. In July 2014, the government continued reform efforts by eliminating some fuel subsidies and in August 2014, the IMF approved a three-year, $570 million Extended Credit Facility for Yemen.

However, the conflict that began in 2014 stalled these reform efforts and ongoing fighting continues to accelerate the country’s economic decline. In September 2016, President HADI announced the move of the main branch of Central Bank of Yemen from Sanaa to Aden where his government could exert greater control over the central bank’s dwindling resources. Regardless of which group controls the main branch, the central bank system is struggling to function. Yemen’s Central Bank’s foreign reserves, which stood at roughly $5.2 billion prior to the conflict, have declined to negligible amounts. The Central Bank can no longer fully support imports of critical goods or the country’s exchange rate. The country also is facing a growing liquidity crisis and rising inflation. The private sector is hemorrhaging, with almost all businesses making substantial layoffs. Access to food and other critical commodities such as medical equipment is limited across the country due to security issues on the ground. The Social Welfare Fund, a cash transfer program for Yemen’s neediest, is no longer operational and has not made any disbursements since late 2014.

Yemen will require significant international assistance during and after the protracted conflict to stabilize its economy. Long-term challenges include a high population growth rate, high unemployment, declining water resources, and severe food scarcity.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$1.775 trillion (2017 est.)
$1.79 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.761 trillion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$73.63 billion (2017 est.)
$78.28 billion (2016 est.)
$90.63 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
-0.9% (2017 est.)
1.7% (2016 est.)
4.1% (2015 est.)
-5.9% (2017 est.)
-13.6% (2016 est.)
-16.7% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$54,500 (2017 est.)
$56,400 (2016 est.)
$56,800 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$2,500 (2017 est.)
$2,700 (2016 est.)
$3,200 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 2.6% (2017 est.)
industry: 44.2% (2017 est.)
services: 53.2% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 20.3% (2017 est.)
industry: 11.8% (2017 est.)
services: 67.9% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
54% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 30.3% (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
-0.9% (2017 est.)
2% (2016 est.)
24.7% (2017 est.)
-12.6% (2016 est.)
Labor force
13.8 million (2017 est.)

note: comprised of 3.1 million Saudis and 10.7 million non-Saudis

7.425 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 6.7%
industry: 21.4%
services: 71.9% (2005 est.)

note: most people are employed in agriculture and herding; services, construction, industry, and commerce account for less than one-fourth of the labor force

Unemployment rate
6% (2017 est.)
5.6% (2016 est.)

note: data are for total population; unemployment among Saudi nationals is more than double

27% (2014 est.)
35% (2003 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
45.9 (2013 est.)
37.9 (2009 est.)
37.3 (1999 est.)
revenues: 181 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 241.8 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 2.821 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 4.458 billion (2017 est.)
crude oil production, petroleum refining, basic petrochemicals, ammonia, industrial gases, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), cement, fertilizer, plastics, metals, commercial ship repair, commercial aircraft repair, construction
crude oil production and petroleum refining; small-scale production of cotton textiles, leather goods; food processing; handicrafts; aluminum products; cement; commercial ship repair; natural gas production
Industrial production growth rate
-2.4% (2017 est.)
8.9% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
wheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus; mutton, chickens, eggs, milk
grain, fruits, vegetables, pulses, qat, coffee, cotton; dairy products, livestock (sheep, goats, cattle, camels), poultry; fish
$221.1 billion (2017 est.)
$183.6 billion (2016 est.)
$384.5 million (2017 est.)
$940 million (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
petroleum and petroleum products 90% (2012 est.)
crude oil, coffee, dried and salted fish, liquefied natural gas
Exports - partners
Japan 12.2%, China 11.7%, South Korea 9%, India 8.9%, US 8.3%, UAE 6.7%, Singapore 4.2% (2017)
Egypt 29.4%, Thailand 16.7%, Belarus 13.5%, Oman 10.5%, UAE 6.5%, Saudi Arabia 5% (2017)
$119.3 billion (2017 est.)
$127.8 billion (2016 est.)
$4.079 billion (2017 est.)
$3.117 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles
food and live animals, machinery and equipment, chemicals
Imports - partners
China 15.4%, US 13.6%, UAE 6.5%, Germany 5.8%, Japan 4.1%, India 4.1%, South Korea 4% (2017)
UAE 12.2%, China 12.1%, Turkey 8.7%, Brazil 7.3%, Saudi Arabia 6.5%, Argentina 5.5%, India 4.7% (2017)
Debt - external
$205.1 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$189.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.068 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$7.181 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
Saudi riyals (SAR) per US dollar -
3.75 (2017 est.)
3.75 (2016 est.)
3.75 (2015 est.)
3.75 (2014 est.)
3.75 (2013 est.)
Yemeni rials (YER) per US dollar -
275 (2017 est.)
214.9 (2016 est.)
214.9 (2015 est.)
228 (2014 est.)
214.89 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
calendar year
Public debt
17.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
13.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
74.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
68.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$496.4 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$535.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$245.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$592.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance
$15.23 billion (2017 est.)
-$23.87 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.236 billion (2017 est.)
-$1.868 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$686.7 billion (2017 est.)
$31.27 billion (2017 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$264.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$258.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)


Market value of publicly traded shares
$421.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$483.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$467.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)


Central bank discount rate
2.5% (31 December 2008)


Commercial bank prime lending rate
8.3% (31 December 2017 est.)
7.1% (31 December 2016 est.)
30% (31 December 2017 est.)
27% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$267.1 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$219.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.326 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.515 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$312.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$305.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.736 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.718 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$312.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$305.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.736 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.718 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
26.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-8.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
-5.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 24.2%
male: 17.4%
female: 46.3% (2016 est.)
total: 24.5%
male: 23.5%
female: 34.6% (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 41.3% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 24.5% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 23.2% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 4.7% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 34.8% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -28.6% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 116.6% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 17.6% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 2.2% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 7.5% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -43.9% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving
30.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
27.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
26.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
-1.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
-3.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
-4.5% of GDP (2015 est.)


Saudi ArabiaYemen
Electricity - production
324.1 billion kWh (2016 est.)
4.784 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption
296.2 billion kWh (2016 est.)
3.681 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2016 est.)
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2016 est.)
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production
10.425 million bbl/day (2018 est.)
61,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)
Oil - imports
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - exports
7.341 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
8,990 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - proved reserves
266.2 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
3 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves
8.619 trillion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
478.5 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - production
109.3 billion cu m (2017 est.)
481.4 million cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption
109.3 billion cu m (2017 est.)
481.4 million cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity
82.94 million kW (2016 est.)
1.819 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels
100% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
79% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
21% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production
2.476 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
20,180 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption
3.287 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
104,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports
1.784 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
12,670 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports
609,600 bbl/day (2015 est.)
75,940 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy
657.1 million Mt (2017 est.)
13.68 million Mt (2017 est.)
Electricity access
electrification - total population: 99% (2017)
electrification - urban areas: 100% (2017)
electrification - rural areas: 98% (2017)
population without electricity: 15 million (2017)
electrification - total population: 47% (2017)
electrification - urban areas: 72% (2017)
electrification - rural areas: 32% (2017)


Saudi ArabiaYemen
Telephones - main lines in use
total subscriptions: 3,619,352
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13 (2017 est.)
total subscriptions: 1,165,828
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 4 (July 2016 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular
total subscriptions: 40,210,965
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 141 (2017 est.)
total subscriptions: 16,433,055
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 59 (July 2016 est.)
Telephone system
general assessment: modern system including a combination of extensive microwave radio relays, coaxial cables, and fiber-optic cables; broadband is available with DSL, fibre, and wireless; mobile penetration is steep in Saudi Arabia; 4G/5G use in early 2019 (2018)
domestic: fixed-line 13 per 100 mobile-cellular subscribership has been increasing rapidly 141 per 100 persons (2018)
international: country code - 966; landing points for the SeaMeWe-3, -4, -5, AAE-1, EIG, FALCON, FEA, IMEWE, MENA/Gulf Bridge International, SEACOM, SAS-1, -2, GBICS/MENA, and the Tata TGN-Gulf submarine cables providing connectivity to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Southeast Asia and Australia ;microwave radio relay to Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Yemen, and Sudan; coaxial cable to Kuwait and Jordan; satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat (3 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Indian Ocean region) (2019)
general assessment: due to 75% of population needing humanitarian assistance, and given the civil conflict, telecommunications services are vital but disrupted; mobile towers are often deliberately targeted; maintenance is dangerous to staff; aid organization rely on satellite and radio communications; scarcity of telecommunications equipment in rural areas (2018)
domestic: the national network consists of microwave radio relay, cable, tropospheric scatter, GSM and CDMA mobile-cellular telephone systems; fixed-line teledensity remains low by regional standards at 4 per 100 but mobile cellular use expanding at 59 per 100 (2018)
international: country code - 967; landing point for the international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean), 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region), and 2 Arabsat; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia and Djibouti
Internet country code
Internet users
total: 20,768,456
percent of population: 73.8% (July 2016 est.)
total: 6,732,928
percent of population: 24.6% (July 2016 est.)
Broadcast media
broadcast media are state-controlled; state-run TV operates 4 networks; Saudi Arabia is a major market for pan-Arab satellite TV broadcasters; state-run radio operates several networks; multiple international broadcasters are available
state-run TV with 2 stations; state-run radio with 2 national radio stations and 5 local stations; stations from Oman and Saudi Arabia can be accessed


Saudi ArabiaYemen
total: 221,372 km (2006)
paved: 47,529 km (includes 3,891 km of expressways) (2006)
unpaved: 173,843 km (2006)
total: 71,300 km (2005)
paved: 6,200 km (2005)
unpaved: 65,100 km (2005)
209 km condensate, 2940 km gas, 1183 km liquid petroleum gas, 5117 km oil, 1151 km refined products (2013)
641 km gas, 22 km liquid petroleum gas, 1370 km oil (2013)
Ports and terminals
major seaport(s): Ad Dammam, Al Jubayl, Jeddah, King Abdulla, Yanbu'
container port(s) (TEUs): Ad Dammam (1,582,388), Jeddah (4,150,000), King Abdulla (1,695,322) (2017)
major seaport(s): Aden, Al Hudaydah, Al Mukalla
Merchant marine
total: 380
by type: bulk carrier 5, container ship 1, general cargo 19, oil tanker 65, other 290 (2018)
total: 31
by type: general cargo 3, oil tanker 4, other 24 (2018)
total: 214 (2013)
total: 57 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways
total: 82 (2017)
over 3,047 m: 33 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 27 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2017)
under 914 m: 4 (2017)
total: 17 (2013)
over 3,047 m: 4 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runways
total: 132 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 72 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 37 (2013)
under 914 m: 16 (2013)
total: 40 (2013)
over 3,047 m: 3 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 16 (2013)
under 914 m: 9 (2013)
National air transport system
number of registered air carriers: 12 (2015)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 214 (2015)
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 32,778,827 (2015)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,783,086,000 mt-km (2015)
number of registered air carriers: 2 (2015)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 10 (2015)
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,387,999 (2015)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 0 mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix
HZ (2016)
7O (2016)


Saudi ArabiaYemen
Military branches
Ministry of Defense: Royal Saudi Land Forces, Royal Saudi Naval Forces (includes marines, special forces, naval aviation), Royal Saudi Air Force, Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces, Royal Saudi Strategic Missiles Force; Ministry of the National Guard (SANG); Ministry of Interior:  Border Guard, Facilities Security Force (2019)
Note:  SANG (also known as the White Army) is a land force separate from the Ministry of Defense that is responsible for internal security, protecting the royal family, and external defense
Land Forces (includes seven Military Regional Commands, supported by Strategic Reserve Units), Naval and Coastal Defense Forces (includes Navy Infantry or Marine units and Coast Guard), Air and Air Defense Force (although it still exists in name, in practice many of the officers and soldiers in this branch have been distributed to other military branches and jobs), Border Guards, Strategic Reserve Forces (supports the Land Forces at the discretion of the Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief and also includes a Missile Group, Presidential Protection Brigades, and Special Operations Forces), Minister of Defense Intelligence Authority (consists of the Department of Military Intelligence [active], Department of Reconnaissance [active], Department of Military Security [inactive], and the Electronic Warfare Department [inactive]) (March 2018)
Military service age and obligation
17 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription; in 2018, women were allowed to serve as soldiers in the internal security services under certain requirements (2018)
18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription; 2-year service obligation (2018)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP
8.78% of GDP (2018)
10.25% of GDP (2017)
9.87% of GDP (2016)
13.33% of GDP (2015)
10.68% of GDP (2014)
3.98% of GDP (2014)
4.08% of GDP (2013)
4.57% of GDP (2012)
4.19% of GDP (2011)

note - no reliable information exists following the start of renewed conflict in 2015

Transnational Issues

Saudi ArabiaYemen
Disputes - international

Saudi Arabia has reinforced its concrete-filled security barrier along sections of the now fully demarcated border with Yemen to stem illegal cross-border activities; Kuwait and Saudi Arabia continue discussions on a maritime boundary with Iran; Saudi Arabia claims Egyptian-administered islands of Tiran and Sanafir

Saudi Arabia has reinforced its concrete-filled security barrier along sections of the fully demarcated border with Yemen to stem illegal cross-border activities

Refugees and internally displaced persons
refugees (country of origin): 30,000 (Yemen) (2017)
stateless persons: 70,000 (2018); note - thousands of biduns (stateless Arabs) are descendants of nomadic tribes who were not officially registered when national borders were established, while others migrated to Saudi Arabia in search of jobs; some have temporary identification cards that must be renewed every five years, but their rights remain restricted; most Palestinians have only legal resident status; some naturalized Yemenis were made stateless after being stripped of their passports when Yemen backed Iraq in its invasion of Kuwait in 1990; Saudi women cannot pass their citizenship on to their children, so if they marry a non-national, their children risk statelessness
refugees (country of origin): 250,860 (Somalia), 14,638 (Ethiopia) (2019)
IDPs: 3,647,250 (conflict in Sa'ada Governorate; clashes between al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula and government forces) (2019)
Trafficking in persons
current situation: Saudi Arabia is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and, to a lesser extent, forced prostitution; men and women from South and East Asia, the Middle East, and Africa who voluntarily travel to Saudi Arabia as domestic servants or low-skilled laborers subsequently face conditions of involuntary servitude, including nonpayment and withholding of passports; some migrant workers are forced to work indefinitely beyond the term of their contract because their employers will not grant them a required exit visa; female domestic workers are particularly vulnerable because of their isolation in private homes; women, primarily from Asian and African countries, are believed to be forced into prostitution in Saudi Arabia, while other foreign women were reportedly kidnapped and forced into prostitution after running away from abusive employers; children from South Asia, East Africa, and Yemen are subjected to forced labor as beggars and street vendors in Saudi Arabia, facilitated by criminal gangs
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Saudi Arabia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; government officials and high-level religious leaders demonstrated greater political will to combat trafficking and publically acknowledged the problem – specifically forced labor; the government reported increased numbers of prosecutions and convictions of trafficking offenders; however, it did not proactively investigate and prosecute employers for potential labor trafficking crimes following their withholding of workers’ wages and passports, which are illegal; authorities did not systematically use formal criteria to proactively identify victims, resulting in some unidentified victims being arrested, detained, deported, and sometimes prosecuted; more victims were identified and referred to protective services in 2014 than the previous year, but victims of sex trafficking and male trafficking victims were not provided with shelter and remained vulnerable to punishment (2015)
current situation: Yemen is a source and, to a lesser extent, transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and women and children subjected to sex trafficking; trafficking activities grew in Yemen in 2014, as the country’s security situation deteriorated and poverty worsened; armed groups increased their recruitment of Yemeni children as combatants or checkpoint guards, and the Yemeni military and security forces continue to use child soldiers; some other Yemeni children, mostly boys, migrate to Yemeni cities or Saudi Arabia and, less frequently Oman, where they end up as beggars, drug smugglers, prostitutes, or forced laborers in domestic service or small shops; Yemeni children increasingly are also subjected to sex trafficking in country and in Saudi Arabia; tens of thousands of Yemeni migrant workers deported from Saudi Arabia and thousands of Syrian refugees are vulnerable to trafficking; additionally, Yemen is a destination and transit country for women and children from the Horn of Africa who are looking for work or receive fraudulent job offers in the Gulf states but are subjected to sexual exploitation or forced labor upon arrival; reports indicate that adults and children are still sold or inherited as slaves in Yemen
tier rating: Tier 3 – Yemen does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; weak government institutions, corruption, economic problems, security threats, and poor law enforcement capabilities impeded the government’s ability to combat human trafficking; not all forms of trafficking are criminalized, and officials continue to conflate trafficking and smuggling; the status of an anti-trafficking law drafted with assistance from an international organization remains unknown following the dissolution of the government in January 2015; the government did not report efforts to investigate, prosecute, or convict anyone of trafficking or slavery offenses, including complicit officials, despite reports of officials willfully ignoring trafficking crimes and using child soldiers in the government’s armed forces; the government acknowledged the use of child soldiers and signed a UN action plan to end the practice in 2014 but made no efforts to release child soldiers from the military and provide them with rehabilitative services; authorities failed to identify victims and refer them to protective services; the status of a draft national anti-trafficking strategy remains unknown (2015)

Source: CIA Factbook