This paper summarizes the findings of two workshops held in London in April and May 2012, in which policy-makers, aid practitioners and analysts were invited to explore possible alternative futures for Yemen over the next five years. They identified and examined four possible scenarios:
- Transformation: Yemen is on the path to reform and sustainable transformation of the political settlement. This is driven by a political decision by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to invest substantially in Yemen’s economy, in order to ensure stability. This, in turn, opens the way for the regime elite to modernize its business practices.
- Reform Gone Awry: Reform is attempted too far, too fast and it flounders. This is driven by the government’s attempt to enact ambitious reforms that it lacks the strength or support to carry through. Attempts to press forward with economic and security reforms aggravates factional tensions within the regime elite, resulting in further conflict.
- Strategic Choices Deferred: The current regime elite maintains the status quo. This is driven by manipulation of the security challenges, drawing in foreign military aid and providing the rationale for deferring domestic reform. It is characterized by a consensus among the current regime elite to maintain 'business as usual'.
- Degeneration: Yemen's security problems become increasingly complex, the economy degenerates and humanitarian indicators continue to slide. This scenario was briefly examined in connection with the second and third scenarios.