International Journal of Innovation and Applied Studies
ISSN: 2028-9324     CODEN: IJIABO     OCLC Number: 828807274     ZDB-ID: 2703985-7
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The challenges of natural resources in Western Sahara

[ Les enjeux des ressources naturelles au Sahara occidental ]

Volume 24, Issue 3, October 2018, Pages 960–967

 The challenges of natural resources in Western Sahara

Abdessamad El Harchiche1

1 Chercheur en Science Politique, Département de Droit Public, Université Mohammed V Rabat, Morocco

Original language: French

Received 28 April 2018

Copyright © 2018 ISSR Journals. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Today, more than ever, natural resources are a source of conflict and tension between Morocco and the Polisario Front, which is fighting for legitimacy on the international level. The analysis of the position of the conflict stakeholders clearly shows the strategic issues of natural resources. This article allows us to understand profoundly and without doubt the political and economic instrumentalization of the question of the natural resources that the Western Sahara abounds. In this sense, it also allows us to demonstrate clearly the position of both parties inherent in the management of natural resources. The Polisario front does not stop denouncing at the national level and in the international bodies the extraction and the exploitation of the natural resources in Western Sahara. However, Morocco explicitly states that Western Sahara was a poor and desert territory at the time of Spanish colonization but over the years, large and large projects in the Sahara were able to take place. From a methodological point of view, in order to tackle the questions raised for the purposes of this study, we used the neo-institutionalism approach. This theoretical framework is the most relevant paradigm that has allowed us to understand in depth the position of the protagonists of the conflict.

Author Keywords: Neo-Institutionalism of rational choice, Historical Neo-Institutionalism, Natural Resources, Western Sahara, Polisario Front, Conflict.

Abstract: (french)

Aujourd’hui plus que jamais les ressources naturelles constituent une source de conflits et de tensions entre le Maroc et le Front Polisario qui se bat pour se donner une légitimité sur le plan international. L’analyse de la position des parties prenantes du conflit montre en évidence les enjeux stratégiques des ressources naturelles. Cet article nous permet de comprendre profondément et sans aucun doute l’instrumentalisation politique et économique de la question des ressources naturelles que regorge le Sahara occidental. En ce sens, il a nous permet également de démontrer clairement la position des deux parties inhérente à la gestion des ressources naturelles. Le front Polisario ne cesse pas de dénoncer au niveau national et dans les instances internationales l’extraction et l’exploitation des ressources naturelles au Sahara occidental. Toutefois, le Maroc avance explicitement que le Sahara occidental était un territoire pauvre et désertique au moment de la colonisation espagnole mais au fil des années, des projets de taille et de grande envergure au Sahara ont pu avoir lieu. Sur le plan méthodologique, afin de mieux répondre aux questions soulevées pour les fins de cette étude, nous avons fait appel à l’approche néo-institutionnaliste. Ce cadre théorique constitue le paradigme le plus pertinent qui nous a permis de mieux appréhender la position des protagonistes du conflit.

Author Keywords: Néo-institutionnalisme du choix rationnel, néo-institutionnalisme historique, Ressources naturelles, Sahara occidental, Front Polisario, Conflit.

How to Cite this Article

Abdessamad El Harchiche, “The challenges of natural resources in Western Sahara,” International Journal of Innovation and Applied Studies, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 960–967, October 2018.