This profile is also available in French here.
To download a pdf version of the full 2021 Western Sahara country profile, click here.
Western Sahara is not officially recognised as a country and is included on the United Nations list of non-self-governing territories. Its domestic legal status is contested as there are disputes over its sovereignty, stemming from issues around the governance of its territory. .
Western Sahara is located in North Africa and lies on the north-western coast of the continent. Bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean to the west, it is engulfed by Mauritania to the south and east, Morocco to the North and Algeria to the north-east. It consists of 266 000 km², mostly arid desert and built up areas. The total population is 600 000, half living in the largest city Laâyoune. Most of Laayoune’s population is urban, the national figures show that just over 51% of the population live in urban areas.
Urban planning and housing in Western Sahara has experienced remarkable growth since its years under Spain’s colonial rule, attributed to the Moroccan government’s investment in the territory. The subsequent growth and development which is inclusive of housing programmes has led to the construction of multiple residential complexes. These complexes well integrate Western Sahara’s urban landscape. However due to recent conflicts in the area it is argued whether the rate of growth will continue along this trajectory.
In 2021 the price of constructing the cheapest newly built residential house in Laâyoune (244 m2) was 17 485 571 Mauritanian Ouguiya (US$ 482 938).The typical rental price for a newly built dwelling in an urban area by a formal developer was 21 428 Mauritanian Ouguiya (US$ 592) per month. However, on the whole, for the year 2021 there was little to no data for most of the key housing and housing finance indicators, making it very difficult to understand the market.
To find out more information on the Western Sahara, click on the sections below:
Each year, CAHF publishes its Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook. The profile above is from the 2021 edition, which has up-to-date profiles for 55 African countries.Download yearbook