Beyond the Business as Usual Approach: Combating Corruption in Yemen

By: The Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies   Corruption, or the abuse of power for private gain, is deeply entrenched in the Yemeni political economy. For decades Yemen has witnessed state capture, with political leaders at the highest level extracting rents from state institutions to benefit a select few. Administrative corruption, too, has been commonplace in Yemen: low-level bribery and favoritism have become a part of everyday life. There is arguably a cultural acceptance — even an expectation — of corruption in politics and business, as informal networks have come to wield more influence than official institutions. State capture and… Continue reading…

Policy Brief: Corruption in Yemen’s War Economy

Corruption, or the abuse of power for private gain, has been deeply entrenched in the Yemeni political economy for decades. Over the course of the ongoing conflict, however, as the war has fragmented and regionalized the country, state capture in Yemen has become far more complex. In the war economy, patronage networks are now emerging among previously marginal or unknown figures. The financial involvement of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has extended patronage across national borders. Alleged collusion between Houthi-affiliated importers and officials allied with the internationally recognized Yemeni government indicates patronage networks that potentially cross the… Continue reading…

Generating new employment opportunities in Yemen

Decades of political instability and cyclical armed conflict have curtailed Yemen’s economic growth, job creation and labor productivity. Before the current conflict, much of the country’s working population was engaged in unskilled labor, working in rural agriculture or informally employed in small businesses. More recently, the ongoing conflict has destroyed normal commerce and left millions of Yemenis without a means of supporting themselves or their families. Even those not directly affected by the fighting now face brutal economic hardship. The economic crisis has become the primary driver of what the United Nations has called the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophe.… Continue reading…

The Need to Build State Legitimacy in Yemen

By: Eyad Ahmed & Osamah al-Rawhani The ongoing conflict in Yemen has severely strained state legitimacy in the country. Legitimacy, a key component of state sovereignty, reflects a “social contract” between the state and the people it governs: an agreement on how power is exercised and how resources are distributed. A state’s legitimacy derives in part from its ability to deliver public services, ensure economic stability, and provide security. After three years of conflict, Yemen’s already fragile state institutions are unable to meet the most basic needs of the Yemeni people, intensifying the country’s economic and humanitarian crises. Struggles over… Continue reading…

The Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies is seeking a full-time editor

The Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies is seeking a full-time editor. The Center’s editorial department is the hub between the center’s various programs, which currently examine the socioeconomic, political, security, gender, humanitarian, and human rights issues at play in Yemen. As an editor you would work immediately under the chief editor and in close cooperation with senior management, researchers and writers. Primary duties would involve editing articles for publication and facilitating all aspects of the production cycle, from helping writers develop and structure ideas to posting finished articles online.   We are a dynamic, highly mobile, multi-lingual team with diverse… Continue reading…

Private Sector Engagement in Post-Conflict Yemen

Yemen has spent much of the past 60 years embroiled in armed conflict and political crisis, with this cyclical instability and insecurity among the primary factors that has stymied both private sector maturation and the establishment of a strong state with well functioning public institutions. The vast majority of the Yemeni private sector is made up of small or very small businesses, even while providing almost 70 percent of working Yemenis with their livelihood. Rural agriculture has traditionally provided work for more than half the population.  Since the discovery of commercially viable oil fields in the mid-1980s and the ramping… Continue reading…

Local Governance in Yemen Amid Conflict and Instability

Local councils are among Yemen’s most important state institutions. Responsible for providing basic public services to millions of Yemenis, local councils represent official governance and the Yemeni state for vast swathes of the population. The intensification of the conflict since March 2015, however, has undermined the councils’ ability to operate effectively in most areas of the country. The councils depend heavily on central government financing and, to a lesser degree, local sources of revenue such as taxes on basic utilities and telephone usage. As such, Yemen’s precipitous economic collapse, the subsequent decline in government revenues and the incapacitation of the… Continue reading…

Challenges for Yemen’s Local Governance amid Conflict

By: Wadhah al-Awlaqi, Maged al-Madhaji Edited by: Anthony Biswell Local councils are among Yemen’s most important state institutions. Responsible for providing basic public services to millions of Yemenis, local councils represent official governance and the Yemeni state for much of the population. The intensification of the conflict between the internationally recognized government, its regional backers and the Houthi group since March 2015, however, has heavily impacted funding and security for local councils, undermining their ability to provide services effectively in most areas of the country. In many areas, this absence of effective official governance has created fertile ground for… Continue reading…

An Institutional Framework for Post-Conflict Reconstruction

The ongoing conflict in Yemen has imposed grievous costs on Yemenis, damaging lives, property and infrastructure and collapsing the country’s already fragile economy. And yet the conflict will eventually subside. Although some reconstruction projects have begun, they have generally been undertaken haphazardly and not as part of a comprehensive and structured plan. Post-conflict reconstruction following the war must address the basic needs and rights of the Yemeni population and put the country on the path toward sustainable peace and development. This report examines the literature regarding post-conflict reconstruction and draws lessons from the reconstruction experiences of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon,… Continue reading…

An Institutional Framework for Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Yemen

By: Khaled Hamid Previous reconstruction efforts in Yemen following conflict or natural disaster have suffered from lack of coordination with and unrealistic expectations from international donors, as well as the Yemeni government’s limited capacity for aid absorption and project implementation; as a result, there was little tangible long-term impact. In light of lessons learned from similar post-conflict contexts and Yemen’s own history of reconstruction efforts, this policy brief proposes an institutional structure for a future reconstruction process in Yemen: a permanent, independent, public reconstruction authority that empowers and coordinates the work of local reconstruction offices, established at the local… Continue reading…