Western Sahara or the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is recognized by the United Nations as the last “non-self-governing territory” in Africa. 80 percent of Western Sahara is controlled by Morocco. A 2,700 kilometers, the sand berm reinforced with ditches and barbed wire fences, artillery and tanks, guarded outposts, and millions of land mines partitions Western Sahara.
To the south and the north, Mauritania and Morocco had set their sights on Western Sahara’s resources.
In November 1975, despite a judgment from the International Court of Justice that neither Mauritania nor Morocco had territorial sovereignty over the land, Morocco sent 25,000 troops and 350,000 settlers to Western Sahara.
On November 14, Spain signed the tripartite Madrid Accords with Morocco and Mauritania, effectively ceding Western Sahara to its invaders.
The Polisario Front fought on two fronts. Supported by Algeria, it defeated the Mauritanians in 1978. But Morocco retained its control over Western Sahara.
Western Sahara is a rich land. It has some 72 percent of the world’s phosphate deposits, which are used to manufacture fertilizers. By the end of November 2021, Morocco reported revenues of $6.45 billion from phosphates, an amount that increases each year.
Western Sahara’s fishing grounds accounted for 77.65 percent of Moroccan catches in 2018, representing the majority of its income from fishing that year. The European Union, too, operates a fleet in these waters.
morocco and its backers have their sights on two other resources abundant in the territory: wind and sunlight.
In 2018, the UK firm Windhoist built the 200 MW Aftissat wind farm in Western Sahara.
Vigeo Eiris, a UK-French company certified Moroccan energy investments on Sahrawi land.
General Electric signed a contract to build a 200 MW wind farm in Western Sahara.
Morocco uses the infrastructure in reporting toward its climate targets. Western Sahara Resource Watch estimates that the wind power plants in the territory could account for 47.2 percent of Morocco’s wind capacity and up to 32.64 percent of its solar capacity by 2030.