By the end of November 2021, the government of Morocco announced that it had earned $6.45 billion from the export of phosphate from the kingdom and from the occupied territory of Western Sahara.
If you add up the phosphate reserves in this entire region, it amounts to 72 percent of the entire phosphate reserves in the world (the second-highest percentage of these reserves is in China, which has around 6 percent).
Phosphate, along with nitrogen, makes synthetic fertilizer, a key element in modern food production. While nitrogen is recoverable from the air, phosphates, found in the soil, are a finite reserve. This gives Morocco a tight grip over world food production.
There is no doubt that the occupation of Western Sahara is not merely about national pride, but it is largely about the presence of a vast number of resources—especially phosphates—that can be found in the territory.