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Western Sahara (2008)

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Western Sahara 2008 year

 Western Sahara
Administrative divisions none (under de facto control of Morocco)
Age structure 0-14 years: 45.4% (male 88,176/female 85,421)

15-64 years: 52.3% (male 98,345/female 101,895)

65 years and over: 2.3% (male 3,705/female 5,075) (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products fruits and vegetables (grown in the few oases); camels, sheep, goats (kept by nomads); fish
Airports 9 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways total: 3

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 6

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Area total: 266,000 sq km

land: 266,000 sq km

water: 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 UN-brokered cease-fire; a UN-organized referendum on final status has been repeatedly postponed. In April 2007, Morocco presented an autonomy plan for the territory to the UN, which the U.S. considers serious and credible. The Polisario also presented a plan to the UN in 2007. Since August 2007, representatives from the Government of Morocco and the Polisario Front have met three times to negotiate the status of Western Sahara, with a fourth round of negotiations planned for March 2008.
Birth rate NA 39.95 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Budget revenues: $NA

expenditures: $NA
Capital none

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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: none

conventional short form: Western Sahara

former: Spanish Sahara
Death rate NA
Debt - external $NA
Diplomatic representation from the US none
Diplomatic representation in the US none
Disputes - international Morocco claims and administers Western Sahara, whose sovereignty remains unresolved; UN-administered cease-fire has remained in effect since September 1991, administered by the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), but attempts to hold a referendum have failed and parties thus far have rejected all brokered proposals; several states have extended diplomatic relations to the "Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic" represented by the Polisario Front in exile in Algeria, while others recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara; most of the approximately 102,000 Sahrawi refugees are sheltered in camps in Tindouf, Algeria
Economic aid - recipient $NA
Economy - overview Western Sahara depends on pastoral nomadism, fishing, and phosphate mining as the principal sources of income for the population. The territory lacks sufficient rainfall for sustainable agricultural production, and most of the food for the urban population must be imported. Incomes in Western Sahara are substantially below the Moroccan level. The Moroccan Government controls all trade and other economic activities in Western Sahara. Morocco and the EU signed a four-year agreement in July 2006 allowing European vessels to fish off the coast of Morocco, including the disputed waters off the coast of Western Sahara. Moroccan energy interests in 2001 signed contracts to explore for oil off the coast of Western Sahara, which has angered the Polisario. However, in 2006 the Polisario awarded similar exploration licenses in the disputed territory, which would come into force if Morocco and the Polisario resolve their dispute over Western Sahara.
Electricity - consumption 79.05 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - production 85 million kWh (2005)
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 - 8.2827 (2007), 8.7722 (2006), 8.865 (2005), 8.868 (2004), 9.5744 (2003)
Executive branch none
Exports 0 kWh (2005)
Exports $NA
Exports 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Exports 0 bbl/day (2004)
Exports - commodities phosphates 62%
Exports - partners Morocco claims and administers Western Sahara, so trade partners are included in overall Moroccan accounts (2006)
Fiscal year calendar year
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: NA%

industry: NA%

services: 40%
GDP - real growth rate NA%
Geographic coordinates 24 30 N, 13 00 W
Geography - note the waters off the coast are particularly rich fishing areas
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%
Imports 0 kWh (2005)
Imports $NA
Imports 0 cu m (2005)
Imports 1,698 bbl/day (2004)
Imports - commodities fuel for fishing fleet, foodstuffs
Imports - partners Morocco claims and administers Western Sahara, so trade partners are included in overall Moroccan accounts (2006)
Industrial production growth rate NA%
Industries phosphate mining, handicrafts
Infant mortality rate total: NA

male: NA

female: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices) NA%
International organization participation none
Irrigated land NA
Labor force 12,000
Labor force - by occupation agriculture: 50%

industry and services: 50%
Land boundaries total: 2,046 km

border countries: Algeria 42 km, Mauritania 1,561 km, Morocco 443 km
Land use arable land: 0.02%

permanent crops: 0%

other: 99.98% (2005)
Languages Hassaniya Arabic, Moroccan Arabic
Life expectancy at birth total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA
Literacy NA
Location Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Mauritania and Morocco
Map references Africa
Maritime claims contingent upon resolution of sovereignty issue
Nationality noun: Sahrawi(s), Sahraoui(s)

adjective: Sahrawi, 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 382,617

note: estimate is based on projections by age, sex, fertility, mortality, and migration; fertility and mortality are based on data from neighboring countries (July 2007 est.)
Population below poverty line NA%
Population growth rate NA
Radio broadcast stations AM 2, FM 0, shortwave 0 (1998)
Religions Muslim
Sex ratio NA
Suffrage none; a UN-sponsored voter identification campaign not yet completed
Telephone system general assessment: sparse and limited system

domestic: NA

international: country code - 212; 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
Total fertility rate NA
Unemployment rate NA%
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