Western Sahara: Economy#

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.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$906.5 million (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rateNA%
GDP - per capita (PPP)$2,500 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: 40% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty lineNA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 50%
industry and services: 50% (2005 est.)
Exports - commoditiesphosphates 62%
Agriculture - productsfruits and vegetables (grown in the few oases); camels, sheep, goats (kept by nomads); fish
Budgetrevenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
Imports - commoditiesfuel for fishing fleet, foodstuffs
Exchange ratesMoroccan dirhams (MAD) per US dollar -
8.439 (2013)
8.6026 (2012)
8.4172 (2010)
8.0571 (2009)
7.526 (2008)
Debt - external$NA
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Industrial production growth rateNA%
Industriesphosphate mining, handicrafts
Inflation rate (consumer prices)NA%
Labor force144,000 (2010 est.)
Unemployment rateNA%
GDP (official exchange rate)$NA