The Governorate of Sana’a surrounds the capital city of Sana’a and is divided into 16 administrative districts.

Sana’a governorate information

Districts of Sana'a: Hamdan, Arhab, Nihm, Bani Hushaysh, Sanhan, Bilad Ar Rus, Bani Matar, Al Haymah Ad Dakhiliyah, Al Haymah Al Kharijiyah, Manakhah, Sa'fan, Khwlan, Attyal, Bani Dhabyan, Al Husn, Jihanah.

Map of Sana’a


Agriculture is the main economic activity in the governorate of Sana’a. Coffee, fruits, and vegetables are the main crops. Sana’a is the second most important agricultural producer, accounting for 16% of total agricultural production in Yemen. Quarrying for construction materials and mining for industrial minerals takes place Sana’a. The governorate is also home to historic landmarks.1 World Bank mining study 2009.

In 2014, Sana’a governorate derived 92% of its total general revenue from grants and central subsidies and 8% from local revenues – a relatively high percentage in the pre-war Yemeni context.2Local Authority Budget for 2014. Most local revenues stemmed from local shared revenues (notably zakat), taxes (primairly the tax on qat), the sale of goods and services, and income from fines and penalties.3Republic of Yemen, Ministry of Finance, Budget Sector: estimated local authority budget for the 2014 fiscal year. These revenues have been reduced by the war, which has had a detrimental impact on the economic situation in the governorate in general. Moreover, the establishment of the General Zakat Authority and the transfer of zakat to a central revenue has also caused the governorate to lose an important source of income.

According to the 2014 Household Budget Survey, the poverty rate in Sana’a governorate was 42%. With the high inflation rate and economic disruption the governorate has faced in the past years, this rate has likely increased a great deal.

Local governance

The Sana’a local council is composed of 16 members and the governor. Currently, there are two councilors in exile, leaving 14. The local council’s work has been disrupted since the beginning of the war. However, the administrative board continues to meet on an ad hoc basis as needed. The administration is working from leased office space, since, unlike other governorates, the governorate of Sana’a does not have a dedicated government building. The executive offices of the ministries remain in place and functioning. They carry out the day-to-day work of the administration despite the lack of salaries and a reduction of the operational budget, which has been reduced by 75% relative to the 2014 budget.4Interview with senior executive bureau official in Sana’a. March 2019.

As in other areas under control of the de-facto authorities, the governorate supervisor wields significant power in Sana’a governorate.

Access to basic services

According to OCHA’s 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen, there are nearly 1.1 million people in need of assistance in Sana’a governorate, which constitutes approximately 80% of the population. Thirty percent of them are in dire need.

There are 12 public hospitals and a number of health centers in the governorate. These health facilities continue to operate, relying on support from international donors, with a small portion of their expenses covered by local government support.5The de facto government in Sana’a has reassigned operational budgets for health facilities restoring the funds for the operational budget to its level from the 2014 budget allocations, but without salaries. However, this amount has lost value due to the devaluation of the Yemeni Riyal and high rates of inflation. The services provided by health facilities are accessible to all people free of charge, but available capacities are not sufficient to meet the growing needs.

With regard to education, 93 schools in Sana’a governorate were damaged by the war6OCHA, An Overview of the Humanitarian Needs in Yemen 2018. and Sana’a is one of the governorates where teachers are not receiving their salaries.7Economic 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. This has disrupted education in most districts of the governorate.

Basic sanitation infrastructure also faces challenges. Fifty percent of households in Sana’a governorate had access to potable water in 2016/2017.8OCHA, An Overview of the Humanitarian Needs in Yemen 2018. During the past years, the Rural Water Authority drilled a number of new wells and laid additional pipes to extend existing networks. These projects were then handed over to beneficiary committees to manage and maintain, which has contributed to improving access to water alongside private water projects. However, roughly 60% of the projects supported by the Rural Water Authority stopped working due to an absence of maintenance, or community conflicts and disputes between beneficiaries. The water office continues to rely on donor support, as central government and local authority funding is largely absent. The water office is seeking to rehabilitate non-functioning projects and obtain support from international organizations to implement sanitation projects in a number of districts in 2019, especially areas heavily affected by the cholera outbreak.9Interview with senior executive bureau official in Sana’a. March 2019.


District Size (km2) Population (Female) Population (Male) Population (Total)
Hamdan 577 77,08 81,428 158,508
 Arhab 1,275 54,856 57,641 112,497
 Nihm 1,841 25,397 26,969 52,366
 Bani Hushaysh 378 46,083 46,707 92,79
 Sanhan 588 158,02 176,22 334,24
 Bilad Ar Rus 398 19,442 19,745 39,187
 Bani Matar 1,127 61,42 63,032 124,452
 Al-Haymah Ad Dakhiliyah 463 51,636 52,874 104,51
 Al-Haymah Al-Kharijiyah 693 36,646 36,839 73,485
 Manakhah 704 50,403 48,121 98,524
 Sa’fan 174 21,779 20,316 42,095
 Khawlan 592 17,429 18,781 36,21
 Attyal 428 22,293 22,964 45,257
 Bani Dhabyan 1,744 9,81 10,597 20,407
 Al-Husn 369 18,71 18,999 37,709
 Jihanah 556 31,104 32,187 63,291
TOTAL 11,907 702,108 733,42  1,435,528

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

Resources relevant to Sana’a

Law 4/2000 Concerning the Local Authority

Law 4/2000 Concerning the Local Authority

The full text of the Local Authorities Law 4/2000 in English and Arabic.

Supporting Local Governance in Yemen: Steps to Improving Relationships between Citizens and Government, Manual for Local Councilors, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens

Supporting Local Governance in Yemen: Steps to Improving Relationships between Citizens and Government, Manual for Local Councilors, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens

This manual was designed for local councilors and civil society organisations in Yemen. It introduces the role of local councils within the local governance set-up of Yemen and introduces tools that councilors and civil society actors can use to monitor expenditure and improve relations with citizens. It introduces a six-step process for assessing public expenditure […]

Yemen’s Draft Constitution of 2015

Yemen’s Draft Constitution of 2015

This is an unofficial translation of Yemen’s draft constitution that was finalized on 15 January 2015 by the Constitutional Drafting Committee. This unofficial translation was carried out by the United Nations and reviewed by International IDEA ( The draft includes 446 articles along 10 chapters, prepared by the Constitution Drafting Committee. The committee which was […]

Improving Relations between Central State Institutions and Local Authorities

Improving Relations between Central State Institutions and Local Authorities

White Paper on the relationship between local authorities and central governments in Sana’a and Aden respectively, including a set of recommendations.

Yemeni Traditional Tools for Disputes Resolution and the Role of women and Men

Yemeni Traditional Tools for Disputes Resolution and the Role of women and Men

Survey on the traditional tools used to settle disputes in Yemen, including tools used by women which may be used in future; and the extent to which women are affected by disputes and obstacles related to women’s engagement in settling disputes.   Youth Leadership Development Foundation (YLDF) is a non-governmental non-profit organization, located in Sana’a […]