A special report in Forbes Magazine 17 June 2009 covered the Moroccan monarch's income from the phosphate industry. King Mohamed's wealth increased with 1 billion dollars in 2008, after sky-high global phosphate prices. Much of the industry is taking place in occupied Western Sahara. King Mohamed is one of the richest monarchs in the world.
The Moroccan king, Mohammed VI, is now the 7th richest monarch in the world, according to the special report “King of Rock”, published in Forbes on 17 June 2009.
See the story here.
His worth has increased from 1.5 to 2.5 billion USD during last year, according to the report.
Forbes attributes the increase to the phosphate production by the state phosphate company OCP, which last year earned a 2.8 billion USD in profit during 2008.
Mohammed VI owns 12 palaces, which “reportedly cost $1 million a day to operate”, according to Forbes.
The king himself rarely talks about phosphates, preferring instead to focus on socially progressive issues like women's rights and standard of living. He created a new family law granting women more power and recently launched a $6 billion initiative to build housing for Morocco 's urban poor. But he does get a portion of the profits and almost certainly has a hand in the OCP's business, particularly its admitted use of "dominance" in influencing phosphate's price spike, Forbes writes.
"That's one thing you have to face: The Moroccan fertilizer industry is run by the government," Michael Lloyd, research director at the Florida Institute of Phosphate Research to Forbes.
"In the 1970s you could get phosphate for $4. Then one day they just decided to raise the price to $20", he told.
Another analyst has told Forbes that the last year's high prices are due to “OCP's maneuvers, though soaring agricultural demand and tightening supplies were certainly factors as well.”
Some 10-15 percent of the OCP phosphate rock production is taking place illegally in occupied Western Sahara.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the three different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
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