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According to the United Nations, Yemen ranks 168th out of 177 countries on the human development index (HDI), a measure of life expectancy, education, and standard of living.[1] Yemen has the lowest HDI rank among the Arab states.[1] Several welfare programs are in place, but they have generally been considered inadequate to meet the needs of Yemen’s impoverished citizens (estimated to exceed 45 percent of the total population).[1]

The main social assistance program is the Social Welfare Fund, initially established to compensate for reductions in economic subsidies.[1] This program provides 650,000 beneficiaries direct cash payments capped at US$11 per month and lump-sum payments for emergencies.[1] In July 2005, the government announced it would extend coverage to an additional 200,000 beneficiaries.[1] The Social Development Fund and the Public Works Project were established almost 10 years ago with World Bank funds.[1] These programs attempt to raise living standards through various community development, capacity-building, and micro-financing programs; it has been difficult, however, to obtain the necessary commercial bank credit to make these programs viable.[1] In early 2005, Yemen’s parliament adopted a government budget requiring that the government provide additional resources for social safety nets to lessen the impact of economic reforms that might result in higher consumer prices.[1]

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  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Yemen country profile. Library of Congress Federal Research Division (December 2006). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.