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Private Sector and Enterprise Development

Fostering Growth in the Middle East and North Africa

Lois Stevenson

This important and well-researched book examines the challenges to private sector growth in twelve Middle East and North African (MENA) countries, assessing comparative performance against a number of indicators and focussing on the special role of SMEs and entrepreneurial activity.
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Chapter 9: Profiles of Less Dynamic PSD Environments

Lois Stevenson


This chapter includes brief profiles of the six MENA-12 countries with below-average levels of private sector dynamism based on the categorization in Chapter 5. These are presented in the following order: Yemen, Sudan, the West Bank & Gaza, Syria, Algeria and Iraq. THE CASE OF YEMEN Context for Private Sector Development Yemen is a low-income country with an estimated population of 22.8 million, growing at almost 3 per cent a year, and 2009 per capita gross domestic product (GDP) purchasing power parity, (PPP) of US$2458.1 It is one of the least-developed countries in the world. Over 46 per cent of the population is under the age of 15, making Yemen the youngest population country of the MENA-12 countries. It also has the least urbanized population; only 31 per cent of the total population lives in urban areas. Owing to the uprising of fundamentalist groups in 2004, threat of Al-Qaeda and piracy incidents in the Red Sea, the government continues to face security challenges. The Republic of Yemen was formed in 1990 by the unification merger of the socialist regime of South Yemen and the capitalist regime of North Yemen. The new republic adopted a liberal economic, democratic system based on free market principles. The country accepted a Structural Adjustment Programme in 1995 and began reform efforts to increase private investment and liberalize trade. Accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) was requested in 2000 and Yemen continues to work on meeting the requirements for full membership. The Yemeni government started...

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