The Governorate of Aden is an important economic and commercial center of the Republic of Yemen. Since 2015, it has been the temporary capital of the internationally recognized government of Yemen. It is located on the coast of the Gulf of Aden and consists of eight districts. It is home to Yemen’s main commercial port, Aden Port, and regional and international free economic zones. Aden is the former capital of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY).

Aden governorate information

Districts of Aden: Al Buraiqeh, Dar Sad, Ash Shaikh Outhman, Al Mansura, Khur Maksar, Al Mualla, Craiter, Attawahi.

Map of Aden


Economy

The economic activities in the Governorate of Aden range from industry, fishing, and commerce to tourism and services. The port of Aden and the regional and international free economic zone located there make it an important economic center of Yemen. Industry in Aden consists of petrochemicals, notably the Aden refinery, as well as manufacturing plants. Aden has some minerals; most significantly scoria and perlite, volcanic glass, and clay minerals used in the manufacturing of building bricks. There are many and diverse tourism landmarks in Aden, including historic sites and attractive beaches.1https://www.yemenna.com/index.php?go=guide&op=show&link=aden.

According to the 2014 Local Authority Budget, central grants and subsidies accounted for 91% of total income for the governorate, while local revenues amounted to 9% — a relatively high figure in comparison to other governorates, reflecting the economic importance and thus the robust revenue base of Aden.2Please see the appendix for further information on these different types of revenue. Local revenues were composed mostly of shared local revenues from the sale of goods and services, taxes (especially on goods and services, income, profits, and capital gains), and zakat. The war adversely affected these revenues, causing major economic challenges for the governorate.3Republic of Yemen, Ministry of Finance, Budget Sector: estimated local authority budget for the 2014 fiscal year.

According to a 2014 Households Budget Survey, the poverty rate in the Governorate of Aden was 22.2%. However, with the economic downturn the governorate has faced due to the war, this rate has increased tremendously over the past few years.


Local governance

The local council of the Governorate of Aden comprises 16 members and the governor. There are currently seven vacant seats. Two members have passed away, three are now abroad, and one has suspended activity. This means that the actual composition of the council is only nine members. The local council’s activities have been frozen since 2015. The executive offices remain operational.4Interview with Local Council Member, Aden. March 2019.


Access to basic services

According to OCHA (Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen 2018), there are nearly 900,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance in Aden governorate. 66 percent of them are in dire need.

Reduced central government subsidies have undermined the financial situation of the governorate and local revenues have also dwindled due to the war.5For example, the former governor, Ja’afer Mohamed Saeed was assassinated by Jihadist elements. His successor was targeted with three assassination attempts. An assassination campaign escalated in the city, restricting the movement of members of the local authority and preventing them from doing their work. Majed al-Madhaji et al, The Pivotal Role of the Local Councils in Yemen, The Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, October 2016, p. 8. The chaotic security situation and on and off conflict between forces vying to take control of the governorate, especially between the Hadi government and the UAE-supported Southern Transitional Council (STC), have disrupted service delivery.

After the forces of the internationally recognized government took control of Aden with support from the Arab Coalition in 2015, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates attempted to provide assistance to improve service provision. However, as the conflict between Hadi’s government and elements of the Southern Movement escalated, it adversely affected the local authority in Aden. President Hadi dismissed then the governor Aidrous Al-Zubaidi in April 2017, prompting Al-Zubaidi and others to establish the Southern Transitional Council on 4 May 2017. This move escalated the conflict between the two forces and paralysed the local authority. In early 2018, the STC blamed the government of Ahmed Bin Dagher of neglecting services in Aden and demanded a reshuffle. The demand led to a military confrontation between the two sides, from which the STC emerged victorious, taking control of most areas in Aden. After the Arab Coalition interceded, the status quo ante was restored, with control ceded to the pro-Hadi forces. In 2019, the STC again took control of Aden by force and continues to control the governorate at the time of writing. The conflict between the competing forces in Aden, lack of funding, weak planning, and the knock on effects this has had on the executive offices in Aden, all contributed to the deterioration of services and growing discontent with the local administration in the governorate.6Wadhah al-Aulaqi, Majed al-Madhji, Local Governance in Yemen Under The Conflict and Instability, Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, July 2018, p. 30.

Hospitals and health facilities supported by the government, the local authority, and donor organizations supporting the health sector continue to function. However, the services provided remain inadequate.7Interview with Local Council Member, Aden. March 2019.

In terms of education, according to OCHA, 21 schools were damaged by the war prior to the new round of fighting in Aden in 2019.8UNOCHA, 2018 Humanitarian Needs Overview: Yemen, 4 December 2017 Teachers were being paid regularly, as Aden was one of the governorates receiving regular payments of salaries.9The Economic and Social Development In Yemen Newsletter (Issue No. 30, December 2017) published by the Economic Studies and Forecast Sector in the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. Education in Aden was rather stable, with support from international organizations helping to sustain services.

With regard to water and sanitation services, the majority of areas in the Governorate of Aden have a regular supply of drinking water. Some of the city’s neighborhoods, however, suffered from lack of water supply. 94% of residents had regular access to drinking water during the year 2016/17. 10UNOCHA, 2018 Humanitarian Needs Overview: Yemen, 4 December 2017


Demographics

District Size (km2) Population (Female) Population (Male) Population (Total)
Dar Sad 37 60,659 69,460 130,119
Ash Shaikh Outhman 42 75,850 88,892 164,742
Al Mansura 88 70,599 93,364 163,962
Al Buraiqeh 486 49,026 54,468 103,494
Attawahi 10 41,430 45,488 86,918
Al Mualla 4 37,858 41,280 79,138
Crater 13 58,991 63,487 122,477
Khur Maksar 61 34,588 39,562 74,150
TOTAL 741 429,000 496,000 925,000

Figures are 2017 Yemen Central Statistical Organization projections based on the 2004 census.


Resources relevant to Aden

War and Pieces: Political Divides in Southern Yemen

War and Pieces: Political Divides in Southern Yemen

Analysis of situation in each of the governorates of the former PDRY with a special emphasis on local security actors This paper focuses on the origins, development, and prospects of political challenges in southern Yemen. It begins with an analysis of historical divisions in the south, outlining key issues within specific governorates – including the […]

Rapid local governance diagnostic in Yemen

Rapid local governance diagnostic in Yemen

Rapid assessment of local governance situation in Yemen based on research in six governorates and 18 districts focused on current situation, including issues of financing UNDP Yemen conducted a Rapid Local Governance Diagnostic (RLGD) in April and May of 2019 in six governorates (Aden, Hadramout, Hajjah, Lahj, Marib and Taiz) and 18 districts to better […]

Beyond the Business as Usual Approach: Local governance in Yemen amid conflict and instability

Beyond the Business as Usual Approach: Local governance in Yemen amid conflict and instability

Detailed study of challenges to local governance in Yemen and how local councils are coping with conflict. Includes case studies and recommendations. This paper serves as an attempt to instigate and inform policy discussions amongst local, regional and international stakeholders regarding how they can best assist Yemen’s local councils in restoring public services and state […]

Rise, Fall, and Rise Again: Perspectives on Southern Yemen Security Challenges

Rise, Fall, and Rise Again: Perspectives on Southern Yemen Security Challenges

Brief assessment of security providers in the south, with short discussions of the different forces in Aden and Hadhramawt, their coflicting loyalties, and the implications for a peace process and SSR that result.

Perceptions of the Yemeni public on living conditions and security-related issues

Perceptions of the Yemeni public on living conditions and security-related issues

Survey of living conditions and local concerns with a focus on local safety and security. Includes data on all governorates except Sa’ada