Statistical information Western Sahara 2001Western%20Sahara

Map of Western Sahara | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
Military | Transportation | Transnational Issues | Year:  | More stats

Western Sahara in the World
Western Sahara in the World

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Western Sahara - Introduction 2001
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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.

Western Sahara - Geography 2001
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Location: Northern Africa bordering the North Atlantic Ocean between Mauritania and Morocco

Geographic coordinates: 24 30 N 13 00 W

Map referenceAfrica

Total: 266,000 km²
Land: 266,000 km²
Water: 0 km²
Comparative: about the size of Colorado

Land boundaries
Total: 2,046 km
Border countries: (3) Algeria 42 km; , Mauritania 1,561 km; , Morocco 443 km

Coastline: 1110 km

Maritime claims: contingent upon resolution of sovereignty issue

Climate: hot dry desert; rain is rare; cold offshore air currents produce fog and heavy dew

Terrain: mostly low flat desert with large areas of rocky or sandy surfaces rising to small mountains in south and northeast

Extremes lowest point: Sebjet Tah -55 m
Extremes highest point: unnamed location 463 m

Natural resources: phosphates iron ore
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 0%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 19%
Forests and woodland: 0%
Other: 81%

Irrigated land: NA km²

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

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


Western Sahara - People 2001
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Population: 250,559 (July 2001 est.)
Below poverty line: NA%

Noun: Sahrawi, Sahraoui
Adjective: Sahrawian, Sahraouian

Ethnic groups: Arab Berber

Languages: Hassaniya Arabic Moroccan Arabic

Religions: Muslim

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: NA%
15-64 years: NA%
65 years and over: NA%

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate

Birth rate

Death rate

Net migration rate

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: sparse water and lack of arable land
International agreements party to: none of the selected agreements
International agreements signed but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate

Life expectancy at birth

Total fertility rate

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access

Adult prevalence rate: NA%
People living with hivaids: NA
Deaths: NA

Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: NA
Total population: NA%
Male: NA%
Female: NA%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Western Sahara - Government 2001
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Country name
Conventional long form: none
Conventional short form: Western Sahara
Former: Spanish Sahara

Government type: legal status of territory and question 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); 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: none

Administrative divisions: none (under de facto control of Morocco)

Dependent areas


National holiday


Legal system

International law organization participation


Suffrage: none; a UN-sponsored voter identification campaign has yet to be completed

Executive branch: none

Legislative branch

Judicial branch

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: none

Diplomatic representation
In the us: none
From the us: none

Flag descriptionflag of Western%20Sahara

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Western Sahara - Economy 2001
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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.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: NA%

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: NA%
Industry: NA%
Services: 40%-45% (1996 est.)

Agriculture products: fruits and vegetables (grown in the few oases); camels sheep goats (kept by nomads)

Industries: phosphate mining handicrafts

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Labor force: 12,000
By occupation: animal husbandry and subsistence farming 50%
Labor force

Unemployment rate: NA%

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: NA%

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10: NA%
Highest 10: NA%

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $NA
Expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices: NA%

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $NA
Commodities: phosphates 62%
Partners: Morocco claims and administers Western Sahara so trade partners are included in overall Moroccan accounts

Imports: $NA
Commodities: fuel for fishing fleet foodstuffs
Partners: Morocco claims and administers Western Sahara so trade partners are included in overall Moroccan accounts

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $NA

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

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)

Western Sahara - Energy 2001
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 90 million kWh (1999)
By source fossil fuel: 100%
By source hydro: 0%
By source nuclear: 0%
By source other: 0% (1999)

Electricity consumption: 83.7 million kWh (1999)

Electricity exports: 0 kWh (1999)

Electricity imports: 0 kWh (1999)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Western Sahara - Communication 2001
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: 0 (1999)

Telephone system
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

Broadcast media

Internet country code: .eh

Internet users: NA

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Western Sahara - Military 2001
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $NA
Percent of gdp: NA%

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Western Sahara - Transportation 2001
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 11 (2000 est.)
With paved runways total: 3
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 3 (2000 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 8
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 4
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 3 (2000 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 3
2438 to 3047 m: 3 (2000 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 8
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 4
Under 914 m: 3 (2000 est.)

Heliports: 1 (2000 est.)


Railways: 0 km


Waterways: none

Merchant marine

Ports and terminals

Western Sahara - Transnational issues 2001
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs

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