Foreign exchange guide to Western Sahara and the Moroccan dirham
What's in this Western Sahara currency guide?
The official currency of Western Sahara (country code: EH) is the Moroccan dirham, with symbol د.م. and currency code MAD.
The Moroccan dirham (MAD) is the official currency of Morocco, a country located in North Africa. Here are a few things to know about the Moroccan dirham:
The Moroccan dirham is issued in both paper and coin form. The paper currency comes in denominations of 20, 50, 100, and 200 dirhams, while the coinage comes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, and 10 dirhams.
The design of the Moroccan dirham features various cultural and historical symbols of Morocco. The front of the banknotes typically features a portrait of a historical figure or a depiction of a cultural or natural feature of Morocco. The back of the banknotes typically features a depiction of a historical monument or a traditional Moroccan design. The coinage also features cultural and historical symbols, such as the national motto and the coat of arms of Morocco.
As mentioned above, the Moroccan dirham is a closed currency. Which means that you may find it difficult (or be permitted) to purchase the currency (MAD) before departure and will need to buy it upon arrival in .
For these types of destinations, using a pre-paid travel card is a good solution. As no travel cards support loading closed currencies like the MAD you will incur currency conversion or foreign transaction fees if you use a travel money card in .
However, using a pre-paid travel card is still a good idea as you can avoid ATM fees and also you can avoid using (and losing!) your main bank or debit/credit card.
Western Sahara is a territory located in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, and Mauritania to the east and south. The territory has been the subject of a long-running dispute between Morocco, which claims sovereignty over the territory, and the indigenous Sahrawi people, who are represented by the Polisario Front, an organization that seeks independence for the territory.
The history of Western Sahara is complex, but it was a Spanish colony until 1975, when Spain withdrew and the territory was divided between Morocco and Mauritania. The Polisario Front, with support from Algeria, began an armed struggle for independence, which led to a ceasefire in 1991. However, a final resolution to the conflict has not been reached and the territory remains under Moroccan control.
The UN has recognized Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory, and the Sahrawi people have been seeking self-determination through a UN-led process of negotiations. The Polisario Front has proposed a referendum on independence, while Morocco has proposed autonomy for the territory.
Due to the ongoing dispute and tensions between parties, it is not considered safe for tourist and travelers to visit Western Sahara, and the US state department has advised against all non-essential travel to the area.
It is important to note that The status of Western Sahara is not resolved and the situation on the ground can change unexpectedly, it is recommended to stay informed about the situation and follow the guidance of the local authorities.
The official currency of Western Sahara is the Moroccan Dirham, as it is controlled by the Moroccan government.
Western Sahara is a mostly cash-based economy, and credit and debit cards are not widely accepted. Moroccan Dirhams can be obtained from banks and currency exchange offices in the territory, and it's important to note that the exchange rate of foreign currency to the Moroccan Dirham is set by the Moroccan Central Bank, which it can fluctuate depending on the global economic situation.
Due to the disputed status of Western Sahara, the banking system is relatively underdeveloped. There are a few banks in the territory, but they are all branches of Moroccan banks. It's also rare to find ATMs that accept foreign debit and credit cards, it's advised to bring enough cash to cover expenses.
As the economy and infrastructure of Western Sahara is highly linked to that of Morocco, it's important to note that you may be able to find more and better services in larger cities in Morocco.
The domestic currency in Western Sahara is the Moroccan dirham.
The three letter currency code for the Moroccan dirham is MAD — symbol is د.م..
It is the domestic currency in   Morocco and Western Sahara.
Yes the Moroccan dirham is a closed currency. Which means that you may find it difficult to purchase the currency (MAD) before departure and will probably need to buy it upon arrival. If you do manage to buy some of the currency or have some left over from a previous trip, make sure you are aware if you are allowed to bring this closed currency into the country.
For more information and a full list of closed currencies please refer to our guide: What is a closed currency?
|$ 1||د.م. 10.12|
|$ 5||د.م. 50.60|
|$ 10||د.م. 101.20|
|$ 20||د.م. 202.40|
|$ 50||د.م. 506.00|
|$ 100||د.م. 1,012|
|$ 250||د.م. 2,530|
|$ 500||د.م. 5,060|
|$ 1,000||د.م. 10,120|
|$ 2,000||د.م. 20,240|
|$ 5,000||د.م. 50,600|
|$ 10,000||د.م. 101,200|
|$ 20,000||د.م. 202,400|
|$ 50,000||د.م. 506,000|
|$ 100,000||د.م. 1,012,000|
|$ 0.0989||د.م. 1|
|$ 0.4943||د.م. 5|
|$ 0.9886||د.م. 10|
|$ 1.9771||د.م. 20|
|$ 4.9428||د.م. 50|
|$ 9.8855||د.م. 100|
|$ 24.71||د.م. 250|
|$ 49.43||د.م. 500|
|$ 98.86||د.م. 1,000|
|$ 197.71||د.م. 2,000|
|$ 494.28||د.م. 5,000|
|$ 988.55||د.م. 10,000|
|$ 1,977||د.م. 20,000|
|$ 4,943||د.م. 50,000|
|$ 9,886||د.م. 100,000|
To get a good (and fair) exchange rate when sending money to Western Sahara you need to find and compare exchange rates for International Money Transfers (IMTs).
The available FX rates for sending money abroad can be very different to the mid-market (wholesale) rate which you see reported online and in the News.
You should especially compare your own bank's exchange rates to those available from Money Transfer specialists to see how much you can save - we make that calculation easy in the below table.
When sending money to Western Sahara it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 4 simple steps :
Use the above calculator to compare the exchange rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Moroccan dirham deposited into the recipient bank account and less margins and fees kept by the banks!
Managing your money effectively while living and working abroad can be challenging, but there are several steps you can take to ensure that your finances are in order.
By following these tips and managing your money effectively, you can reduce financial stress and enjoy your experience living or doing business in Western Sahara.
The safety situation in Western Sahara can vary depending on the specific location and current events. The territory is currently under Moroccan control, and a long-standing dispute over its sovereignty continues, which can lead to tension and sporadic bouts of violence.
There are also regular protests and demonstrations in Western Sahara, particularly in the larger cities such as El Aaiún and Dakhla, and these can sometimes turn violent. The Moroccan authorities have been known to disperse these protests forcefully, which can lead to injury or arrest.
Mining and oil exploration activities also bring foreign workers to the area, but they also have been known to face harassment, especially if they work in mines that are operated by companies with links to Morocco.
While most foreigners are not targeted in Western Sahara, it's important to note that the political situation in the area is unpredictable and can change rapidly. There are also many restrictions for travelers. Access to certain areas may be restricted, and there have been reports of harassment, arrest and even detention of foreigners trying to access certain areas, particularly in refugee camps and those areas where the Polisario Front is present.
Due to the ongoing disputed status and tensions in the area, the US State Department advises against all travel to Western Sahara and the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) also recommends against travel to the area. If you do decide to travel to Western Sahara, it's important to stay informed about the situation, follow the guidance of local authorities, and be prepared for restrictions on movement and communication.
Here we list some key points for expats and businesses to consider when managing financial dealings in Western Sahara:
Understand Moroccan dirham currency exchange rates: Exchange rates can have a big impact on your finances, so it is important to keep an eye on the MAD exchange rate and consider using a currency exchange service or a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees to get the best exchange rate.
Use a local Moroccan dirham bank account: A local MAD bank account can make it easier for you to manage your finances and pay bills while you are in Western Sahara. It may also be more convenient to use a local MAD bank account to make purchases and withdraw cash.
Research local laws and regulations: It is important to understand the local laws and regulations that apply to financial transactions in Western Sahara. This can help you avoid legal issues and ensure that you are complying with local requirements.
Consider the tax implications: It is important to understand the tax implications of living or doing business in Western Sahara. This can help you plan your finances and ensure that you are paying the correct amount of tax.
Seek financial advice: If you are unsure of how to manage your finances in Western Sahara, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a financial professional who is familiar with the local financial system. This can help you make informed decisions and avoid financial pitfalls.