Yemen conflict paralyzes economic activity, puts women businesses at risk

Nov 16, 2015


SANA’A -- UNDP has conducted a rapid business assessment in August covering six governorates to examine the impact of the ongoing conflict on Yemeni businesses. The assessment was carried out in Sanaa, Hajjah, Sa'ada, Taizz, Aden and Abyan Governorates, providing insights on the extent of damages and loss incurred by the private sector.

The business survey will assist local authorities, the private sector and the early recovery partners to provide timely assistance to support economic recovery and restoration of micro, small, medium and large enterprises (MSMEs).

The findings revealed that around 26 percent of businesses have closed since March 2015 due to the ongoing conflict in the surveyed governorates. As much as 35 percent of MSMEs are engaged in the services sector. Almost all businesses closed during the conflict were due to physical damage; with 77 percent suffering complete damages, 15.4 percent partial damages and 7.6 percent closing for other reasons. The estimated cost of damage incurred per business is highest in Sa’ada with 35.5 million (YER), followed by Aden with 5 million (YER).

In a male-dominated society, women represented less than one third of the labour force before the conflict. The ongoing crisis has severely affected businesswomen compared to their male counterparts, with almost half of women-owned enterprises closed since March.

Yemen depends on imports for nine-tenths of its food, and only 15 percent of the pre-crisis volume of imports is getting through due to severe import restrictions. This has largely affected business activity and the flow of goods into the country, with three quarters of businesses struggling to source enough of their regular provisions and supplies. The limited geographical outreach of financial providers and an underdeveloped financial sector was also identified as major constraints to financial access.

The report recommends to invest in business resilience and business continuity initiatives that support enterprises to manage risk, and helps businesses develop crisis mitigation strategies. This also targets the most affected business groups, namely youth, women and small businesses. UNDP also supports an ironing business to improve community services in Al-Qa’a and Sana’a.

Contact Inormation

Farah Abdessamad, Programme Specialist in Sana’a:, Mobile: +967 712221959

Faizah Alsulimani, Communication Officer:

UNDP Around the world