In 2015, civil war broke out in Yemen, swiftly followed by military intervention by a Saudi-led coalition intended to restore to power the deposed but legitimate government. Yemen was already the poorest country in the Middle East before the start of the fighting, with high levels of food insecurity, infant mortality and child malnutrition, and during the past two years, macroeconomic conditions have severely deteriorated. The majority of Yemenis live in rural areas, yet policy-oriented research and media reporting on the current conflict tend to focus on the situation in major cities.

On 29 March 2017, the LSE Middle East Centre convened a workshop to explore the scale of need of Yemen’s population, and to look at the extent to which rural and urban livelihoods were directly affected by the fighting as well as changing market conditions.

The workshop was split into four sessions. The first sought to provide an overview of macroeconomic conditions throughout the country. The second session explored the specific situation in Saada governorate, a predominantly Zaydi governorate in Yemen’s northern highlands, bordering Saudi Arabia. The third session focused on Taiz governorate, Yemen’s most populous governorate, located in the central highlands. The final session addressed micro-politics in Aden, Marib and Mukalla, three provincial capitals in governorates with majority Sunni populations.

Over the next week, we will publish short pieces by workshop participants on the different themes covered during the discussion. We will also be sharing a report and a short video highlighting the outcome of the discussion soon.

Ginny Hill


Ginny Hill is Visiting Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre with 20 years’ experience in journalism, foreign policy, multi-stakeholder collaboration and political inclusion. She tweets at @ginnyUK.

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