Months of political unrest in Yemen, which crippled the Arab country’s economy, have cost its industrial and trade sectors at least $17 billion, the Saudi state news agency reported Wednesday, quoting the deputy chairman of the Yemeni Chamber of Commerce as saying.
Losses in the past six months reached at least $17 billion due to the political crisis in Yemen, SPA quoted deputy chairman of the chamber, Mohammad Mohammad Salah, as saying. Yemen’s GDP totalled $28.3 billion in 2010.
Salah also said that a large number of factories and plants had closed down, laying off tens of thousands of workers.
He said the country was undergoing an economic disaster.
More than five months of protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year rule has led to a shortage of fuel, food, water and electricity.
The International Monetary Fund said in July that inflation in Yemen could surge to as high as 30 percent this year.
The IMF last month also reversed its view on the economic outlook for Yemen, forecasting GDP will shrink this year but did not give a precise forecast, against a forecast in April for 3.4 percent growth. In 2010 the economy grew 8 percent.
Yemen, where a third of the population faces chronic hunger, is the Arab world’s poorest country with per capita income of below $2,600. Poverty, corruption and soaring unemployment have helped fuel the protests, which began in January.
Yemen’s mainstream opposition coalition said Tuesday it would set up a “National Council for the Forces of the Revolution” to lead the efforts to oust Saleh.
Saleh, who has clung onto power despite protests and international pressure, left the country in political limbo when he flew to Saudi Arabia last month to seek treatment after suffering high-degree burn injuries in a bomb attack.