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Western Sahara (2001)

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Western Sahara 2001 year

 Western Sahara
Administrative divisions none (under de facto control of Morocco)
Age structure 0-14 years:

15-64 years:

65 years and over:
Agriculture - products fruits and vegetables (grown in the few oases); camels, sheep, goats (kept by nomads)
Airports 11 (2000 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total:

2,438 to 3,047 m:
3 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total:

1,524 to 2,437 m:

914 to 1,523 m:

under 914 m:
3 (2000 est.)
Area total:
266,000 sq km

266,000 sq km

0 sq km
Area - comparative about the size of Colorado
Background Morocco virtually annexed the northern two-thirds of Western Sahara (formerly Spanish Sahara) in 1976, and the rest of the territory in 1979, following Mauritania's withdrawal. A guerrilla war with the Polisario Front contesting Rabat's sovereignty ended in a 1991 cease-fire; a referendum on final status has been repeatedly postponed and is not expected to occur until at least 2002.
Budget revenues:

$NA, including capital expenditures of $NA
Capital none
Climate hot, dry desert; rain is rare; cold offshore air currents produce fog and heavy dew
Coastline 1,110 km
Country name conventional long form:

conventional short form:
Western Sahara

Spanish Sahara
Currency Moroccan dirham (MAD)
Debt - external $NA
Diplomatic representation from the US none
Diplomatic representation in the US none
Disputes - international claimed and administered by Morocco, but sovereignty is unresolved and the UN is attempting to hold a referendum on the issue; the UN-administered cease-fire has been in effect since September 1991
Economic aid - recipient $NA
Economy - overview Western Sahara, a territory poor in natural resources and lacking sufficient rainfall, depends on pastoral nomadism, fishing, and phosphate mining as the principal sources of income for the population. Most of the food for the urban population must be imported. All trade and other economic activities are controlled by the Moroccan Government. Incomes and standards of living are substantially below the Moroccan level.
Electricity - consumption 83.7 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - production 90 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source fossil fuel:



0% (1999)
Elevation extremes lowest point:
Sebjet Tah -55 m

highest point:
unnamed location 463 m
Environment - current issues sparse water and lack of arable land
Environment - international agreements party to:
none of the selected agreements

signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Ethnic groups Arab, Berber
Exchange rates Moroccan dirhams per US dollar - 10.590 (January 2001), 10.626 (2000), 9.804 (1999), 9.604 (1998), 9.527 (1997), 8.716 (1996)
Executive branch none
Exports 0 kWh (1999)
Exports $NA
Exports - commodities phosphates 62%
Exports - partners Morocco claims and administers Western Sahara, so trade partners are included in overall Moroccan accounts
Fiscal year calendar year
GDP purchasing power parity - $NA
GDP - composition by sector agriculture:


40%-45% (1996 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $NA
GDP - real growth rate NA%
Geographic coordinates 24 30 N, 13 00 W
Heliports 1 (2000 est.)
Highways total:
6,200 km

1,350 km

4,850 km (1991 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%:

highest 10%:
Imports 0 kWh (1999)
Imports $NA
Imports - commodities fuel for fishing fleet, foodstuffs
Imports - partners Morocco claims and administers Western Sahara, so trade partners are included in overall Moroccan accounts
Industrial production growth rate NA%
Industries phosphate mining, handicrafts
Inflation rate (consumer prices) NA%
International organization participation none
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 1 (2000)
Irrigated land NA sq km
Labor force 12,000
Labor force - by occupation animal husbandry and subsistence farming 50%
Land boundaries total:
2,046 km

border countries:
Algeria 42 km, Mauritania 1,561 km, Morocco 443 km
Land use arable land:

permanent crops:

permanent pastures:

forests and woodland:

Languages Hassaniya Arabic, Moroccan Arabic
Literacy definition:

total population:


Location Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Mauritania and Morocco
Map references Africa
Maritime claims contingent upon resolution of sovereignty issue
Military branches NA
Military expenditures - dollar figure $NA
Military expenditures - percent of GDP NA%
Nationality noun:
Sahrawi(s), Sahraoui(s)

Sahrawian, Sahraouian
Natural hazards hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind can occur during winter and spring; widespread harmattan haze exists 60% of time, often severely restricting visibility
Natural resources phosphates, iron ore
Political pressure groups and leaders none
Population 250,559 (July 2001 est.)
Population below poverty line NA%
Ports and harbors Ad Dakhla, Cabo Bojador, Laayoune (El Aaiun)
Radio broadcast stations AM 2, FM 0, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios 56,000 (1997)
Railways 0 km
Religions Muslim
Suffrage none; a UN-sponsored voter identification campaign has yet to be completed
Telephone system general assessment:
sparse and limited system


tied into Morocco's system by microwave radio relay, tropospheric scatter, and satellite; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) linked to Rabat, Morocco
Telephones - main lines in use about 2,000 (1999 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular 0 (1999)
Television broadcast stations NA
Terrain mostly low, flat desert with large areas of rocky or sandy surfaces rising to small mountains in south and northeast
Unemployment rate NA%
Waterways none
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