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


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.1

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 Needs Overview Yemen 2023), there are nearly 700,000 people, or 60% of the population, in need of humanitarian assistance in Aden governorate. 63 percent of them are in dire need. The current IDP population of Aden is nearly 100,000 (status December 2022).5, 2023 People in Need in Yemen

Reduced central government subsidies have undermined the financial situation of the governorate and local revenues have also dwindled due to the war.6For 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.7Wadhah 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.8Interview 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 2019.9UNOCHA, 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.10The 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. 11UNOCHA, 2018 Humanitarian Needs Overview: Yemen, 4 December 2017


District Size (km2) Population (Female) Population (Male) Population (Total)
Dar Sad 37 71,229 81,997 153,226
Ash Shaikh Outhman 42 87,844 103,625 191,469
Al Mansura 88 77,906 103,129 181,034
Al Buraiqeh 486 63,132 70,569 133,701
Attawahi 10 44,914 49,601 94,516
Al Mualla 4 40,057 43,702 83,759
Crater 13 65,922 71,183 137,106
Khur Maksar 61 36,623 42,020 78,643
TOTAL 741 487,628 565,827 1,053,455

Figures are based on the 2021 Humanitarian Needs Overview Yemen, OCHA. Population figures include the number of IDPs and residents.

Resources relevant to Aden