Western Sahara’s disputed status and the 40-year political stalemate have largely stifled economic development in the region. Despite relatively high human development indicators and per capita incomes that have been achieved through Moroccan public investment, Western Sahara’s economy remains under-developed and un-diversified, based on fishing, phosphate mining, and construction driven almost entirely by Government of Morocco spending.
The absence of real economic opportunity, especially among young people, university graduates, and women – more than 1 in 3 of whom are unemployed – is one of the main economic and social challenges that needs to be addressed. (Read more)
Kosmos regularly engages with Morocco concerning the need to benefit the people of Western Sahara, should there be a commercial discovery. Kosmos is committed to doing its part to ensure that the benefits of exploration and, if successful, production are shared with the people of the territory. To this end, Kosmos has organized several workshops with international experts on resource governance to provide the Moroccan Government with information on best international practices. If our exploration is successful, it will be several years (following appraisal and development) before oil or gas, or revenues, would flow. In the interim, however, we are bringing benefits to the territory by way of social investment and supply chain activities.
Investment and Job Creation
Our exploration is bringing to bear our technical expertise. Together with our partners, we are making a significant financial investment to generate information about the resources that may exist. Understanding whether oil and gas resources exist offshore can be a first step toward realizing greatly increased economic opportunity for local people. A commercial discovery would potentially lead to billions of dollars of foreign investment and job creation. It would also provide a foundation upon which the people can build whatever political solution results from the U.N.-led mediation process.
Responsible exploration now, in tandem with continued work to ensure that the people of Western Sahara will benefit from any oil revenues, is an ethical and appropriate course of action.