Western Sahara( Africa )


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Background:
Western Sahara is a disputed territory on the northwest coast of Africa bordered by Morocco, Mauritania, and Algeria. After Spain withdrew from its former colony of Spanish Sahara in 1976, Morocco annexed the northern two-thirds of Western Sahara and claimed the rest of the territory in 1979, following Mauritania's withdrawal. A guerrilla war with the Polisario Front contesting Morocco's sovereignty ended in a 1991 cease-fire and the establishment of a UN peacekeeping operation. As part of this effort, the UN sought to offer a choice to the peoples of the Western Sahara between independence (favored by the Polisario Front) or integration into Morocco. A proposed referendum never took place due to lack of agreement on voter eligibility. The 2,700 km- (1,700 mi-) long defensive sand berm, built by the Moroccans from 1980 to 1987 and running the length of the territory, continues to separate the opposing forces with Morocco controlling the roughly 80 percent of the territory west of the berm. Local demonstrations criticizing the Moroccan authorities occur regularly, and there are periodic ethnic tensions between the native Sahrawi population and Moroccan immigrants. Morocco maintains a heavy security presence in the territory.
Geography
Location:
Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Mauritania and Morocco
Geographic coordinates:
24 30 N, 13 00 W
Area:
total: 266,000 sq km
land: 266,000 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area comparative:
about the size of Colorado
Land boundaries:
total: 2,046 km
border countries: Algeria 42 km, Mauritania 1,561 km, Morocco 443 km
Coastline:
1,110 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
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Sebjet Tah -55 m
highest point: unnamed elevation 805 m
Natural resources:
phosphates, iron ore
Land use:
arable land: 0.02%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 99.98% (2011)
Irrigated land:
NA
Total renewable water resources:
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic or industrial or agricultural):
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
Environment current issues:
sparse water and lack of arable land
Environment international agreements:
party to: none of the selected agreements
Geography note:
the waters off the coast are particularly rich fishing areas
People and Society
Nationality:
noun: Sahrawi(s), Sahraoui(s)
adjective: Sahrawi, Sahrawian, Sahraouian
Ethnic groups:
Arab, Berber
Languages:
Standard Arabic (national), Hassaniya Arabic, Moroccan Arabic
Religions:
Muslim
Population:
554,795 (July 2013 est.)
note: estimate is based on projections by age, sex, fertility, mortality, and migration; fertility and mortality are based on data from neighboring countries (July 2014 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 38.1% (male 106,868/female 104,574)
15-24 years: 19.7% (male 54,970/female 54,217)
25-54 years: 33.7% (male 91,986/female 95,114)
55-64 years: 4.8% (male 12,408/female 14,159)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 9,002/female 11,497) (2014 est.)
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 41 %
youth dependency ratio: 37.1 %
elderly dependency ratio: 3.8 %
potential support ratio: 26.1 (2014 est.)
Median age:
total: 20.8 years
male: 20.3 years
female: 21.3 years (2014 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.89% (2014 est.)
Birth rate:
30.71 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Death rate:
8.49 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Net migration rate:
Urbanization:
urban population: 82% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 3.49% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas population:
Laayoune 237,000 (2011)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 56.09 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 61.04 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 50.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
Maternal mortality rate:
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 62.27 years
male: 60 years
female: 64.63 years (2014 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.07 children born/woman (2014 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
Health expenditures:
Physicians density:
Hospital bed density:
Drinking water source:
Sanitation facility access:
HIV or AIDS adult prevalence rate:
NA
HIV or AIDS people living with HIV or AIDS:
NA
HIV or AIDS deaths:
NA
Obesity adult prevalence rate:
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
Education expenditures:
Literacy:
NA
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
Child labor children ages 5-14:
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
Government
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Western Sahara
former: Rio de Oro, Saguia el Hamra, Spanish Sahara
Government type:
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, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), based out of refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria, led by President Mohamed ABDELAZIZ
Capital:
Laayoune (administrative center)
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in April; ends last Sunday in September
Administrative divisions:
none (territory west of the berm under de facto Moroccan control)
Independence:
National holiday:
Constitution:
Legal system:
International law organization participation:
Suffrage:
none; (residents of Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara participate in Moroccan elections)
Executive branch:
none
Legislative branch:
Judicial branch:
Political parties and leaders:
Political pressure groups and leaders:
none
International organization participation:
AU, CAN (observer), WFTU (NGOs)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none
Flag description:
National symbol(s):
National anthem:
Economy
Economy overview:
Western Sahara has a small market-based economy whose main industries are fishing, phosphate mining, and pastoral nomadism. The territory's arid desert climate makes sedentary agriculture difficult, and Western Sahara imports much of its food. The Moroccan Government administers Western Sahara's economy and is a key source of employment, infrastructure development, and social spending in the territory. Western Sahara's unresolved legal status makes the exploitation of its natural resources a contentious issue between Morocco and the Polisario. Morocco and the EU in December 2013 finalized a four-year agreement allowing European vessels to fish off the coast of Morocco, including disputed waters off the coast of Western Sahara. Oil has never been found in Western Sahara in commercially significant quantities, but Morocco and the Polisario have quarreled over who has the right to authorize and benefit from oil exploration in the territory. Western Sahara's main long-term economic challenge is the development of a more diverse set of industries capable of providing greater employment and income to the territory.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$906.5 million (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$NA
GDP real growth rate:
NA%
GDP per capita (PPP):
$2,500 (2007 est.)
Gross national saving:
GDP composition, by end use:
GDP composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: 40% (2007 est.)
Agriculture products:
fruits and vegetables (grown in the few oases); camels, sheep, goats (kept by nomads); fish
Industries:
phosphate mining, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate:
NA%
Labor force:
144,000 (2010 est.)
Labor force by occupation:
agriculture: 50%
industry and services: 50% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate:
NA%
Population below poverty line:
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income Gini index:
Budget:
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
Taxes and other revenues:
Budget surplus or deficit:
Public debt:
Fiscal year:
calendar year
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
Exports commodities:
phosphates 62%
Exports partners:
Imports:
$NA
Imports commodities:
fuel for fishing fleet, foodstuffs
Imports partners:
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 (MAD) per US dollar -
8.439 (2013)
8.6026 (2012)
8.4172 (2010)
8.0571 (2009)
7.526 (2008)
Energy
Electricity production:
90 million kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity consumption:
83.7 million kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity exports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity imports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity installed generating capacity:
58,000 kW (2010 est.)
Electricity from fossil fuels:
100% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from hydroelectric plants:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from other renewable sources:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Crude oil production:
0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
Crude oil exports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil imports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products production:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products consumption:
1,948 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products exports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products imports:
1,702 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Natural gas production:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas consumption:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas exports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas imports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
316,700 Mt (2011 est.)
Communications
Telephones mobile cellular:
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 (2008)
Telephones main lines in use:
Broadcast media:
Morocco's state-owned broadcaster, Radio-Television Marocaine (RTM), operates a radio service from Laayoune and relays TV service; a Polisario-backed radio station also broadcasts (2008)
Internet country code:
.eh
Internet users:
Internet hosts:
Transportation
Airports:
6 (2013)
Airports with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2013)
Airports with unpaved runways:
total: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)
Heliports:
Pipelines:
Railways:
Roadways:
Merchant marine:
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Ad Dakhla, Laayoune (El Aaiun)
Military
Military branches:
Military service age and obligation:
Manpower available for military service:
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 79,489
females age 16-49: 87,362 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 5,523
female: 5,429 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
Transnational Issues
Disputes international:
many neighboring states reject Moroccan administration of Western Sahara; 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; approximately 90,000 Sahrawi refugees continue to be sheltered in camps in Tindouf, Algeria, which has hosted Sahrawi refugees since the 1980s
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Trafficking in persons: