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The World Factbook 2002

         
  Western Sahara  
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  Introduction
  Geography
  People
  Government
  Economy
  Communications
  Transportation
  Military
  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.


This page was last updated on 1 January 2002


Map of Western Sahara

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Western Sahara
Background:
Definition Field Listing
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.
   Geography    Western Sahara
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Mauritania and Morocco
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
24 30 N, 13 00 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Africa
Area:
Definition Field Listing
total: 266,000 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 266,000 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
about the size of Colorado
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2,046 km
border countries: Algeria 42 km, Mauritania 1,561 km, Morocco 443 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
1,110 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
contingent upon resolution of sovereignty issue
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
hot, dry desert; rain is rare; cold offshore air currents produce fog and heavy dew
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
mostly low, flat desert with large areas of rocky or sandy surfaces rising to small mountains in south and northeast
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Sebjet Tah -55 m
highest point: unnamed location 463 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
phosphates, iron ore
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind can occur during winter and spring; widespread harmattan haze exists 60% of time, often severely restricting visibility
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
sparse water and lack of arable land
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: none of the selected agreements
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
the waters off the coast are particularly rich fishing areas
   People    Western Sahara
Population:
Definition Field Listing
256,177 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: NA%
15-64 years: NA%
65 years and over: NA%
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
NA (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
NA births/1,000 population
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
NA deaths/1,000 population
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
NA deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: NA years
male: NA years
female: NA years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
NA children born/woman
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Sahrawi(s), Sahraoui(s)
adjective: Sahrawian, Sahraouian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Arab, Berber
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Muslim
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Hassaniya Arabic, Moroccan Arabic
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: NA
total population: NA%
male: NA%
female: NA%
   Government    Western Sahara
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Western Sahara
former: Spanish Sahara
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
legal status of territory and issue of sovereignty unresolved; territory contested by Morocco and Polisario Front (Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro), which in February 1976 formally proclaimed a government-in-exile of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR),led by President Mohamed ABDELAZIZ and recognized by 54 nations; territory partitioned between Morocco and Mauritania in April 1976, with Morocco acquiring northern two-thirds; Mauritania, under pressure from Polisario guerrillas, abandoned all claims to its portion in August 1979; Morocco moved to occupy that sector shortly thereafter and has since asserted administrative control; the Polisario's government-in-exile was seated as an OAU member in 1984; guerrilla activities continued sporadically, until a UN-monitored cease-fire was implemented 6 September 1991
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
none
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
none (under de facto control of Morocco)
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
none; a UN-sponsored voter identification campaign not yet completed
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
none
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
none
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
none
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
none
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
none
   Economy    Western Sahara
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
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. All trade and other economic activities are controlled by the Moroccan Government. Moroccan energy interests in 2001 signed contracts to explore for oil off the coast of Western Sahara, which has angered the Polisario. Incomes and standards of living in Western Sahara are substantially below the Moroccan level.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $NA
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $NA
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: 40%-45% (1996 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
NA%
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
12,000
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
animal husbandry and subsistence farming 50%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
phosphate mining, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
90 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
83.7 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
fruits and vegetables (grown in the few oases); camels, sheep, goats (kept by nomads)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing
$NA
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
phosphates 62%
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Morocco claims and administers Western Sahara, so trade partners are included in overall Moroccan accounts
Imports:
Definition Field Listing
$NA
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
fuel for fishing fleet, foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Morocco claims and administers Western Sahara, so trade partners are included in overall Moroccan accounts
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$NA
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$NA
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
Moroccan dirham (MAD)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
MAD
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Moroccan dirhams per US dollar - 11.584 (January 2002), 11.303 (2001), 10.626 (2000), 9.804 (1999), 9.604 (1998), 9.527 (1997)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Western Sahara
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
about 2,000 (1999 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
0 (1999)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: sparse and limited system
domestic: NA
international: tied into Morocco's system by microwave radio relay, tropospheric scatter, and satellite; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) linked to Rabat, Morocco
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 2, FM 0, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios:
Definition Field Listing
56,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Televisions:
Definition Field Listing
6,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.eh
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
1 (2000)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
NA
   Transportation    Western Sahara
Railways:
Definition Field Listing
0 km
Highways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 6,200 km
paved: 1,350 km
unpaved: 4,850 km (1991 est.)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing
none
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Ad Dakhla, Cabo Bojador, Laayoune (El Aaiun)
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
11 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2001)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2001)
   Military    Western Sahara
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$NA
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
   Transnational Issues    Western Sahara
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Morocco claims and administers Western Sahara, but sovereignty remains unresolved; UN-administered cease-fire has remained in effect since September 1991, but attempts to hold a referendum have failed and parties reject other proposals

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002


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