According to Clothesbliss, Western Sahara is a disputed territory located in the Maghreb region of North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is a sparsely populated region with a population of just over 500,000 people. The official language of Western Sahara is Spanish and Arabic.
Travelling to Western Sahara requires careful planning and research as it is not an easy destination to get to. The only way into the country is via Morocco or Mauritania. Travellers will need a visa before entering either country and must also have proof of onward travel plans out of Western Sahara. From Morocco, travellers can take either a bus or taxi from Marrakesh or Casablanca directly into Western Sahara. It takes around 10 hours by road from Marrakesh, while it takes around eight hours from Casablanca. From Mauritania, travellers can take a bus or taxi from Nouakchott directly into Western Sahara which usually takes around 12 hours by road. Once in Western Sahara, travellers should be aware that there are no international banks or ATMs in the country so they should ensure that they have enough cash for their entire stay before arriving in the country.
Currency in Western Sahara
In Western Sahara, the currency is the Moroccan dirham (MAD). The Moroccan dirham is divided into 100 santimat and is issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50 santimat coins as well as 1, 5, 10 and 20 dirham coins. Banknotes are available in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 dirhams. The Moroccan dirham is pegged to the euro at a rate of 1 EUR = 11.3 MAD. The currency has been used in Western Sahara since it was annexed by Morocco in 1976. Before then, the Spanish peseta was used in the region until 1975 when it was replaced by the newly created Sahrawi peseta. Since then however, the Moroccan dirham has been adopted as legal tender throughout Western Sahara and is widely accepted for everyday transactions. The currency is also accepted for international payments with some banks offering services for sending money abroad from or to Western Sahara using MAD.
The Central Bank of Morocco acts as a central bank for both Morocco and Western Sahara. It sets monetary policy for both countries including issuing currency notes and coins as well as controlling interest rates on loans taken out from banks within its jurisdiction. This means that while the official currency in Western Sahara may be different from that of Morocco’s – they are both subject to similar regulations set by the Central Bank of Morocco regarding its usage within both countries’ economies.
Telecommunications in Western Sahara
Telecommunication in Western Sahara is limited due to the fact that it is a disputed territory. The majority of the population lives in rural areas and lacks access to basic communications infrastructure such as internet, telephone lines, and television. There are a few telecommunication companies operating in Western Sahara, including Maroc Telecom and Mauritel, but services are limited and expensive. The Moroccan government has installed several mobile phone towers in the territory but most of them are not accessible by locals due to high costs and lack of access to credit cards or other payment options. In addition, most of the population does not have access to computers or smartphones. Despite this, some locals use satellite internet connections which are slow and unreliable. There has been some progress in recent years with the introduction of 3G networks from Maroc Telecom but coverage is still limited. There have also been some attempts to introduce high-speed internet via fiber optic cables but these efforts have been mostly unsuccessful due to political unrest and territorial disputes between Morocco and the Polisario Front.
Embassies of Western Sahara
According to Clothingexpress, Western Sahara has a total of four embassies located in foreign countries. The first embassy is located in Algiers, Algeria and is headed by Ambassador Mohamed Yahdih El-Hachemi. This embassy was established in 1976, shortly after Western Sahara declared its independence from Morocco. This embassy provides consular services to citizens of Western Sahara living abroad or wishing to visit the country. It also works to promote and strengthen diplomatic ties between the two countries. The second embassy is located in Madrid, Spain and is headed by Ambassador Moulay Abdelaziz Elhilali. This embassy was established in 1979, shortly after the Madrid Accords were signed between Morocco and Spain. This embassy works to promote bilateral relations between the two countries as well as providing assistance with visa applications for those wishing to visit Western Sahara from Spain.