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Mauritania, See : Flags, Maps

Mauritania (Africa)

(Fr) Études sur L'Islam et les tribus Maures, Paul Marty

Introduction :: Mauritania

Background: This entry usually highlights major historic events and current issues and may include a statement about one or two key future trends. Background field listing

Independent from France in 1960, Mauritania annexed the southern third of the former Spanish Sahara (now Western Sahara) in 1976 but relinquished it after three years of raids by the Polisario guerrilla front seeking independence for the territory. Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA seized power in a coup in 1984 and ruled Mauritania with a heavy hand for more than two decades. A series of presidential elections that he held were widely seen as flawed. A bloodless coup in August 2005 deposed President TAYA and ushered in a military council that oversaw a transition to democratic rule. Independent candidate Sidi Ould Cheikh ABDALLAHI was inaugurated in April 2007 as Mauritania's first freely and fairly elected president. His term ended prematurely in August 2008 when a military junta led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ deposed him and installed a military council government. AZIZ was subsequently elected president in July 2009 and sworn in the following month. AZIZ sustained injuries from an accidental shooting by his own troops in October 2012 but has continued to maintain his authority. He was reelected in 2014 to a second and final term as president (according to the present constitution). AZIZ will be replaced through elections scheduled for June 2019. The country continues to experience ethnic tensions among three major groups: Arabic-speaking descendants of slaves (Haratines), Arabic-speaking "White Moors" (Beydane), and members of Sub-Saharan ethnic groups mostly originating in the Senegal River valley (Halpulaar, Soninke, and Wolof).

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) launched a series of attacks in Mauritania between 2005 and 2011, murdering American and foreign tourists and aid workers, attacking diplomatic and government facilities, and ambushing Mauritanian soldiers and gendarmes. A successful strategy against terrorism that combines dialogue with the terrorists and military actions has prevented the country from further terrorist attacks since 2011. However, AQIM and similar groups remain active in neighboring Mali and elsewhere in the Sahel region and continue to pose a threat to Mauritanians and foreign visitors.

Geography ::Mauritania


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Location: This entry identifies the country's regional location, neighboring countries, and adjacent bodies of water. Location field listing
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara
Geographic coordinates: This entry includes rounded latitude and longitude figures for the centroid or center point of a country expressed in degrees and minutes; it is based on the locations provided in the Geographic Names Server (GNS), maintained by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on behalf of the US Board on Geographic Names. Geographic coordinates field listing
20 00 N, 12 00 W
Map references: This entry includes the name of the Factbook reference map on which a country may be found. Note that boundary representations on these maps are not necessarily authoritative. The entry on Geographic coordinates may be helpful in finding some smaller countries. Map references field listing
Africa
Area: This entry includes three subfields. Total area is the sum of all land and water areas delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines. Land area is the aggregate of all surfaces delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines, excluding inland water bodies (lakes, reservoirs, rivers). Water area is the sum of the surfaces of all inland water bodies, such as lakes, reservoirs, or rivers, as delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines. Area field listing
total: 1,030,700 sq km
land: 1,030,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
country comparison to the world: 30
Area - comparative: This entry provides an area comparison based on total area equivalents. Most entities are compared with the entire US or one of the 50 states based on area measurements (1990 revised) provided by the US Bureau of the Census. The smaller entities are compared with Washington, DC (178 sq km, 69 sq mi) or The Mall in Washington, DC (0.59 sq km, 0.23 sq mi, 146 acres). Area - comparative field listing
slightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico; about six times the size of Florida
Area comparison map: Area comparison map
Land boundaries: This entry contains the total length of all land boundaries and the individual lengths for each of the contiguous border countries. When available, official lengths published by national statistical agencies are used. Because surveying methods may differ, country border lengths reported by contiguous countries may differ. Land boundaries field listing
total: 5,002 km
border countries (4): Algeria 460 km, Mali 2236 km, Senegal 742 km, Western Sahara 1564 km
Coastline: This entry gives the total length of the boundary between the land area (including islands) and the sea. Coastline field listing
754 km
Maritime claims: This entry includes the following claims, the definitions of which are excerpted from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which alone contains the full and definitive descriptions: territorial sea - the sovereignty of a coastal state extends beyond its land territory and internal waters to an adjacent belt of sea, described as the territorial sea in the UNCLOS (Part II); this sovereignty extends to the air space over the territorial sea as well as its underlying s . . . more Maritime claims field listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: This entry includes a brief description of typical weather regimes throughout the year; in the Word entry only, it includes four subfields that describe climate extremes:ten driest places on earth (average annual precipitation) describes the annual average precipitation measured in both millimeters and inches for selected countries with climate extremes. ten wettest places on earth (average annual precipitation) describes the annual average precipitation measured in both millimeters and i . . . more Climate field listing
desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty
Terrain: This entry contains a brief description of the topography. Terrain field listing
mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills
Elevation: This entry includes the mean elevation and elevation extremes, lowest point and highest point. Elevation field listing
mean elevation: 276 m
lowest point: Sebkhet Te-n-Dghamcha -5 m
highest point: Kediet Ijill 915 m
Natural resources: This entry lists a country's mineral, petroleum, hydropower, and other resources of commercial importance, such as rare earth elements (REEs). In general, products appear only if they make a significant contribution to the economy, or are likely to do so in the future. Natural resources field listing
iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish
Land use: This entry contains the percentage shares of total land area for three different types of land use: agricultural land, forest, and other; agricultural land is further divided into arable land - land cultivated for crops like wheat, maize, and rice that are replanted after each harvest, permanent crops - land cultivated for crops like citrus, coffee, and rubber that are not replanted after each harvest, and includes land under flowering shrubs, fruit trees, nut trees, and vines, and permane . . . more Land use field listing
agricultural land: 38.5% (2011 est.)
arable land: 0.4% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 38.1% (2011 est.)
forest: 0.2% (2011 est.)
other: 61.3% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: This entry gives the number of square kilometers of land area that is artificially supplied with water. Irrigated land field listing
450 sq km (2012)
Population distribution: This entry provides a summary description of the population dispersion within a country. While it may suggest population density, it does not provide density figures. Population distribution field listing
with most of the country being a desert, vast areas of the country, particularly in the central, northern, and eastern areas, are without sizeable population clusters; half the population lives in or around the coastal capital of Nouakchott; smaller clusters are found near the southern border with Mali and Senegal
Natural hazards: This entry lists potential natural disasters. For countries where volcanic activity is common, a volcanism subfield highlights historically active volcanoes. Natural hazards field listing
hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind primarily in March and April; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues: This entry lists the most pressing and important environmental problems. The following terms and abbreviations are used throughout the entry: Acidification - the lowering of soil and water pH due to acid precipitation and deposition usually through precipitation; this process disrupts ecosystem nutrient flows and may kill freshwater fish and plants dependent on more neutral or alkaline conditions (see acid rain). Acid rain - characterized as containing harmful levels of sulfur dioxi . . . more Environment - current issues field listing
overgrazing, deforestation, and soil erosion aggravated by drought are contributing to desertification; limited natural freshwater resources away from the Senegal, which is the only perennial river; locust infestation
Environment - international agreements: This entry separates country participation in international environmental agreements into two levels - party to and signed, but not ratified. Agreements are listed in alphabetical order by the abbreviated form of the full name. Environment - international agreements field listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: This entry includes miscellaneous geographic information of significance not included elsewhere. Geography - note field listing
Mauritania is considered both a part of North Africa's Maghreb region and West Africa's Sahel region; most of the population is concentrated in the cities of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou and along the Senegal River in the southern part of the country

People and Society :: Mauritania

Population: This entry gives an estimate from the US Bureau of the Census based on statistics from population censuses, vital statistics registration systems, or sample surveys pertaining to the recent past and on assumptions about future trends. The total population presents one overall measure of the potential impact of the country on the world and within its region. Note: Starting with the 1993 Factbook, demographic estimates for some countries (mostly African) have explicitly taken into account t . . . more Population field listing
4,005,475 (July 2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
Nationality: This entry provides the identifying terms for citizens - noun and adjective. Nationality field listing
noun: Mauritanian(s)
adjective: Mauritanian
Ethnic groups: This entry provides an ordered listing of ethnic groups starting with the largest and normally includes the percent of total population. Ethnic groups field listing
black Moors (Haratines - Arab-speaking slaves, former slaves, and their descendants of African origin, enslaved by white Moors) 40%, white Moors (of Arab-Berber descent, known as Beydane) 30%, Sub-Saharan Mauritanians (non-Arabic speaking, largely resident in or originating from the Senegal River Valley, including Halpulaar, Fulani, Soninke, Wolof, and Bambara ethnic groups) 30%
Languages: This entry provides a listing of languages spoken in each country and specifies any that are official national or regional languages. When data is available, the languages spoken in each country are broken down according to the percent of the total population speaking each language as a first language. For those countries without available data, languages are listed in rank order based on prevalence, starting with the most-spoken language. Languages field listing
Arabic (official and national), Pular, Soninke, Wolof (all national languages), French

note: the spoken Arabic in Mauritania differs considerably from the modern standard Arabic used for official written purposes or in the media; the Mauritanian dialect, which incorporates many Berber words, is referred to as Hassaniya
Religions: This entry is an ordered listing of religions by adherents starting with the largest group and sometimes includes the percent of total population. The core characteristics and beliefs of the world's major religions are described below. Baha'i - Founded by Mirza Husayn-Ali (known as Baha'u'llah) in Iran in 1852, Baha'i faith emphasizes monotheism and believes in one eternal transcendent God. Its guiding focus is to encourage the unity of all peoples on the earth so that justice and peace m . . . more Religions field listing
Muslim (official) 100%
Demographic profile: This entry describes a country’s key demographic features and trends and how they vary among regional, ethnic, and socioeconomic sub-populations. Some of the topics addressed are population age structure, fertility, health, mortality, poverty, education, and migration. Demographic profile field listing

With a sustained total fertility rate of about 4 children per woman and almost 60% of the population under the age of 25, Mauritania's population is likely to continue growing for the foreseeable future. Mauritania's large youth cohort is vital to its development prospects, but available schooling does not adequately prepare students for the workplace. Girls continue to be underrepresented in the classroom, educational quality remains poor, and the dropout rate is high. The literacy rate is only about 50%, even though access to primary education has improved since the mid-2000s. Women's restricted access to education and discriminatory laws maintain gender inequality - worsened by early and forced marriages and female genital cutting.

The denial of education to black Moors also helps to perpetuate slavery. Although Mauritania abolished slavery in 1981 (the last country in the world to do so) and made it a criminal offense in 2007, the millenniums-old practice persists largely because anti-slavery laws are rarely enforced and the custom is so ingrained. According to a 2018 nongovernmental organization's report, a little more than 2% of Mauritania's population is enslaved, which includes individuals sujbected to forced labor and forced marriage, although many thousands of individuals who are legally free contend with discrimination, poor education, and a lack of identity papers and, therefore, live in de facto slavery. The UN and international press outlets have claimed that up to 20% of Mauritania's population is enslaved, which would be the highest rate worldwide.

Drought, poverty, and unemployment have driven outmigration from Mauritania since the 1970s. Early flows were directed toward other West African countries, including Senegal, Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, and Gambia. The 1989 Mauritania-Senegal conflict forced thousands of black Mauritanians to take refuge in Senegal and pushed labor migrants toward the Gulf, Libya, and Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Mauritania has accepted migrants from neighboring countries to fill labor shortages since its independence in 1960 and more recently has received refugees escaping civil wars, including tens of thousands of Tuaregs who fled Mali in 2012.

Mauritania was an important transit point for Sub-Saharan migrants moving illegally to North Africa and Europe. In the mid-2000s, as border patrols increased in the Strait of Gibraltar, security increased around Spain's North African enclaves (Ceuta and Melilla), and Moroccan border controls intensified, illegal migration flows shifted from the Western Mediterranean to Spain's Canary Islands. In 2006, departure points moved southward along the West African coast from Morocco and Western Sahara to Mauritania's two key ports (Nouadhibou and the capital Nouakchott), and illegal migration to the Canaries peaked at almost 32,000. The numbers fell dramatically in the following years because of joint patrolling off the West African coast by Frontex (the EU's border protection agency), Spain, Mauritania, and Senegal; the expansion of Spain's border surveillance system; and the 2008 European economic downturn.
Age structure: This entry provides the distribution of the population according to age. Information is included by sex and age group as follows: 0-14 years (children), 15-24 years (early working age), 25-54 years (prime working age), 55-64 years (mature working age), 65 years and over (elderly). The age structure of a population affects a nation's key socioeconomic issues. Countries with young populations (high percentage under age 15) need to invest more in schools, while countries with older population . . . more Age structure field listing
0-14 years: 37.56% (male 755,788/female 748,671)
15-24 years: 19.71% (male 387,140/female 402,462)
25-54 years: 33.91% (male 630,693/female 727,518)
55-64 years: 4.9% (male 88,888/female 107,201)
65 years and over: 3.92% (male 66,407/female 90,707) (2020 est.)
population pyramid: population pyramid
Dependency ratios: Dependency ratios are a measure of the age structure of a population. They relate the number of individuals that are likely to be economically "dependent" on the support of others. Dependency ratios contrast the ratio of youths (ages 0-14) and the elderly (ages 65+) to the number of those in the working-age group (ages 15-64). Changes in the dependency ratio provide an indication of potential social support requirements resulting from changes in population age structures. As fertility leve . . . more Dependency ratios field listing
total dependency ratio: 75
youth dependency ratio: 69.5
elderly dependency ratio: 5.6
potential support ratio: 18 (2020 est.)
Median age: This entry is the age that divides a population into two numerically equal groups; that is, half the people are younger than this age and half are older. It is a single index that summarizes the age distribution of a population. Currently, the median age ranges from a low of about 15 in Niger and Uganda to 40 or more in several European countries and Japan. See the entry for "Age structure" for the importance of a young versus an older age structure and, by implication, a low versus a high . . . more Median age field listing
total: 21 years
male: 20.1 years
female: 22 years (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
Population growth rate: The average annual percent change in the population, resulting from a surplus (or deficit) of births over deaths and the balance of migrants entering and leaving a country. The rate may be positive or negative. The growth rate is a factor in determining how great a burden would be imposed on a country by the changing needs of its people for infrastructure (e.g., schools, hospitals, housing, roads), resources (e.g., food, water, electricity), and jobs. Rapid population growth can be seen as . . . more Population growth rate field listing
2.09% (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
Birth rate: This entry gives the average annual number of births during a year per 1,000 persons in the population at midyear; also known as crude birth rate. The birth rate is usually the dominant factor in determining the rate of population growth. It depends on both the level of fertility and the age structure of the population. Birth rate field listing
29 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
Death rate: This entry gives the average annual number of deaths during a year per 1,000 population at midyear; also known as crude death rate. The death rate, while only a rough indicator of the mortality situation in a country, accurately indicates the current mortality impact on population growth. This indicator is significantly affected by age distribution, and most countries will eventually show a rise in the overall death rate, in spite of continued decline in mortality at all ages, as declining . . . more Death rate field listing
7.5 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
Net migration rate: This entry includes the figure for the difference between the number of persons entering and leaving a country during the year per 1,000 persons (based on midyear population). An excess of persons entering the country is referred to as net immigration (e.g., 3.56 migrants/1,000 population); an excess of persons leaving the country as net emigration (e.g., -9.26 migrants/1,000 population). The net migration rate indicates the contribution of migration to the overall level of population chan . . . more Net migration rate field listing
-0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
Population distribution: This entry provides a summary description of the population dispersion within a country. While it may suggest population density, it does not provide density figures. Population distribution field listing
with most of the country being a desert, vast areas of the country, particularly in the central, northern, and eastern areas, are without sizeable population clusters; half the population lives in or around the coastal capital of Nouakchott; smaller clusters are found near the southern border with Mali and Senegal
Urbanization: This entry provides two measures of the degree of urbanization of a population. The first, urban population, describes the percentage of the total population living in urban areas, as defined by the country. The second, rate of urbanization, describes the projected average rate of change of the size of the urban population over the given period of time. It is possible for a country with a 100% urban population to still display a change in the rate of urbanization (up or down). For example . . . more Urbanization field listing
urban population: 55.3% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 4.28% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: This entry provides the population of the capital and up to six major cities defined as urban agglomerations with populations of at least 750,000 people. An urban agglomeration is defined as comprising the city or town proper and also the suburban fringe or thickly settled territory lying outside of, but adjacent to, the boundaries of the city. For smaller countries, lacking urban centers of 750,000 or more, only the population of the capital is presented. Major urban areas - population field listing
1.315 million NOUAKCHOTT (capital) (2020)
Sex ratio: This entry includes the number of males for each female in five age groups - at birth, under 15 years, 15-64 years, 65 years and over, and for the total population. Sex ratio at birth has recently emerged as an indicator of certain kinds of sex discrimination in some countries. For instance, high sex ratios at birth in some Asian countries are now attributed to sex-selective abortion and infanticide due to a strong preference for sons. This will affect future marriage patterns and fertilit . . . more Sex ratio field listing
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.83 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: The maternal mortality rate (MMR) is the annual number of female deaths per 100,000 live births from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management (excluding accidental or incidental causes). The MMR includes deaths during pregnancy, childbirth, or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, for a specified year. Maternal mortality rate field listing
766 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
Infant mortality rate: This entry gives the number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in the same year. This rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country. Infant mortality rate field listing
total: 47.9 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 52.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 43.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
Life expectancy at birth: This entry contains the average number of years to be lived by a group of people born in the same year, if mortality at each age remains constant in the future. Life expectancy at birth is also a measure of overall quality of life in a country and summarizes the mortality at all ages. It can also be thought of as indicating the potential return on investment in human capital and is necessary for the calculation of various actuarial measures. Life expectancy at birth field listing
total population: 64.5 years
male: 62.1 years
female: 67 years (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201
Total fertility rate: This entry gives a figure for the average number of children that would be born per woman if all women lived to the end of their childbearing years and bore children according to a given fertility rate at each age. The total fertility rate (TFR) is a more direct measure of the level of fertility than the crude birth rate, since it refers to births per woman. This indicator shows the potential for population change in the country. A rate of two children per woman is considered the replaceme . . . more Total fertility rate field listing
3.65 children born/woman (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
Contraceptive prevalence rate: This field gives the percent of women of reproductive age (15-49) who are married or in union and are using, or whose sexual partner is using, a method of contraception according to the date of the most recent available data. The contraceptive prevalence rate is an indicator of health services, development, and women’s empowerment. It is also useful in understanding, past, present, and future fertility trends, especially in developing countries. Contraceptive prevalence rate field listing
17.8% (2015)
Drinking water source: This entry provides information about access to improved or unimproved drinking water sources available to segments of the population of a country. Improved drinking water - use of any of the following sources: piped water into dwelling, yard, or plot; public tap or standpipe; tubewell or borehole; protected dug well; protected spring; or rainwater collection. Unimproved drinking water - use of any of the following sources: unprotected dug well; unprotected spring; cart with small tank or . . . more Drinking water source field listing
improved: urban: 58.4% of population
rural: 57.1% of population
total: 57.9% of population
unimproved: urban: 41.6% of population
rural: 42.9% of population
total: 42.1% of population (2015 est.)
Current Health Expenditure: Current Health Expenditure (CHE) describes the share of spending on health in each country relative to the size of its economy. It includes expenditures corresponding to the final consumption of health care goods and services and excludes investment, exports, and intermediate consumption. CHE shows the importance of the health sector in the economy and indicates the priority given to health in monetary terms. Note: Current Health Expenditure replaces the former Health Expenditures field . . . more Current Health Expenditure field listing
4.4% (2017)
Physicians density: This entry gives the number of medical doctors (physicians), including generalist and specialist medical practitioners, per 1,000 of the population. Medical doctors are defined as doctors that study, diagnose, treat, and prevent illness, disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans through the application of modern medicine. They also plan, supervise, and evaluate care and treatment plans by other health care providers. The World Health Organization estimates that f . . . more Physicians density field listing
0.18 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Sanitation facility access: This entry provides information about access to improved or unimproved sanitation facilities available to segments of the population of a country. Improved sanitation - use of any of the following facilities: flush or pour-flush to a piped sewer system, septic tank or pit latrine; ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine; pit latrine with slab; or a composting toilet. Unimproved sanitation - use of any of the following facilities: flush or pour-flush not piped to a sewer system, septic tank . . . more Sanitation facility access field listing
improved: urban: 57.5% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 13.8% of population (2015 est.)
total: 40% of population (2015 est.)
unimproved: urban: 42.5% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 86.2% of population (2015 est.)
total: 60% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: This entry gives an estimate of the percentage of adults (aged 15-49) living with HIV/AIDS. The adult prevalence rate is calculated by dividing the estimated number of adults living with HIV/AIDS at yearend by the total adult population at yearend. HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
0.2% (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: This entry gives an estimate of all people (adults and children) alive at yearend with HIV infection, whether or not they have developed symptoms of AIDS. HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
5,600 (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
HIV/AIDS - deaths: This entry gives an estimate of the number of adults and children who died of AIDS during a given calendar year. HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
<500 (2018 est.)
Major infectious diseases: This entry lists major infectious diseases likely to be encountered in countries where the risk of such diseases is assessed to be very high as compared to the United States. These infectious diseases represent risks to US government personnel traveling to the specified country for a period of less than three years. The degree of risk is assessed by considering the foreign nature of these infectious diseases, their severity, and the probability of being affected by the diseases present. Th . . . more Major infectious diseases field listing
degree of risk: very high (2020)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
animal contact diseases: rabies
respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: This entry gives the percent of a country's population considered to be obese. Obesity is defined as an adult having a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater to or equal to 30.0. BMI is calculated by taking a person's weight in kg and dividing it by the person's squared height in meters. Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
12.7% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 132
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: This entry gives the percent of children under five considered to be underweight. Underweight means weight-for-age is approximately 2 kg below for standard at age one, 3 kg below standard for ages two and three, and 4 kg below standard for ages four and five. This statistic is an indicator of the nutritional status of a community. Children who suffer from growth retardation as a result of poor diets and/or recurrent infections tend to have a greater risk of suffering illness and death. Children under the age of 5 years underweight field listing
24.9% (2015)
country comparison to the world: 19
Education expenditures: This entry provides the public expenditure on education as a percent of GDP. Education expenditures field listing
2.6% of GDP (2016)
country comparison to the world: 155
Literacy: This entry includes a definition of literacy and UNESCO's percentage estimates for populations aged 15 years and over, including total population, males, and females. There are no universal definitions and standards of literacy. Unless otherwise specified, all rates are based on the most common definition - the ability to read and write at a specified age. Detailing the standards that individual countries use to assess the ability to read and write is beyond the scope of the Factbook. Info . . . more Literacy field listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 53.5%
male: 63.7%
female: 43.4% (2017)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): School life expectancy (SLE) is the total number of years of schooling (primary to tertiary) that a child can expect to receive, assuming that the probability of his or her being enrolled in school at any particular future age is equal to the current enrollment ratio at that age. Caution must be maintained when utilizing this indicator in international comparisons. For example, a year or grade completed in one country is not necessarily the same in terms of educational content or qualit . . . more School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) field listing
total: 8 years
male: 8 years
female: 8 years (2017)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: This entry gives the percent of the total labor force ages 15-24 unemployed during a specified year. Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 field listing
total: 15.2%
male: 14.1%
female: 17% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90

Government :: Mauritania

Country name: This entry includes all forms of the country's name approved by the US Board on Geographic Names (Italy is used as an example): conventional long form (Italian Republic), conventional short form (Italy), local long form (Repubblica Italiana), local short form (Italia), former (Kingdom of Italy), as well as the abbreviation. Also see the Terminology note. Country name field listing
conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Mauritania
conventional short form: Mauritania
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah
local short form: Muritaniyah
etymology: named for the ancient kingdom of Mauretania (3rd century B.C. to 1st century A.D.), which existed further north in present-day Morocco; the name derives from the Mauri (Moors), the Berber-speaking peoples of northwest Africa
Government type: This entry gives the basic form of government. Definitions of the major governmental terms are as follows. (Note that for some countries more than one definition applies.): Absolute monarchy - a form of government where the monarch rules unhindered, i.e., without any laws, constitution, or legally organized opposition. Anarchy - a condition of lawlessness or political disorder brought about by the absence of governmental authority. Authoritarian - a form of government in whic . . . more Government type field listing
presidential republic
Capital: This entry gives the name of the seat of government, its geographic coordinates, the time difference relative to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and the time observed in Washington, DC, and, if applicable, information on daylight saving time (DST). Where appropriate, a special note has been added to highlight those countries that have multiple time zones. Capital field listing
name: Nouakchott
geographic coordinates: 18 04 N, 15 58 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: may derive from the Berber "nawakshut" meaning "place of the winds"
Administrative divisions: This entry generally gives the numbers, designatory terms, and first-order administrative divisions as approved by the US Board on Geographic Names (BGN). Changes that have been reported but not yet acted on by the BGN are noted. Geographic names conform to spellings approved by the BGN with the exception of the omission of diacritical marks and special characters. Administrative divisions field listing
15 regions (wilayas, singular - wilaya); Adrar, Assaba, Brakna, Dakhlet Nouadhibou, Gorgol, Guidimaka, Hodh ech Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi, Inchiri, Nouakchott Nord, Nouakchott Ouest, Nouakchott Sud, Tagant, Tiris Zemmour, Trarza
Independence: For most countries, this entry gives the date that sovereignty was achieved and from which nation, empire, or trusteeship. For the other countries, the date given may not represent "independence" in the strict sense, but rather some significant nationhood event such as the traditional founding date or the date of unification, federation, confederation, establishment, fundamental change in the form of government, or state succession. For a number of countries, the establishment of statehood . . . more Independence field listing
28 November 1960 (from France)
National holiday: This entry gives the primary national day of celebration - usually independence day. National holiday field listing
Independence Day, 28 November (1960)
Constitution: This entry provides information on a country’s constitution and includes two subfields. The history subfield includes the dates of previous constitutions and the main steps and dates in formulating and implementing the latest constitution. For countries with 1-3 previous constitutions, the years are listed; for those with 4-9 previous, the entry is listed as “several previous,” and for those with 10 or more, the entry is “many previous.” The amendments subfield summarizes the process of am . . . more Constitution field listing
history: previous 1964; latest adopted 12 July 1991
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or by Parliament; consideration of amendments by Parliament requires approval of at least one third of the membership; a referendum is held only if the amendment is approved by two-thirds majority vote; passage by referendum requires simple majority vote by eligible voters; passage of amendments proposed by the president can bypass a referendum if approved by at least three-fifths majority vote by Parliament; amended many times, last in 2017 (by referendum) (2019)
Legal system: This entry provides the description of a country's legal system. A statement on judicial review of legislative acts is also included for a number of countries. The legal systems of nearly all countries are generally modeled upon elements of five main types: civil law (including French law, the Napoleonic Code, Roman law, Roman-Dutch law, and Spanish law); common law (including United State law); customary law; mixed or pluralistic law; and religious law (including Islamic law). An addition . . . more Legal system field listing
mixed legal system of Islamic and French civil law
International law organization participation: This entry includes information on a country's acceptance of jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and of the International Criminal Court (ICCt); 59 countries have accepted ICJ jurisdiction with reservations and 11 have accepted ICJ jurisdiction without reservations; 122 countries have accepted ICCt jurisdiction. Appendix B: International Organizations and Groups explains the differing mandates of the ICJ and ICCt. International law organization participation field listing
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Citizenship: This entry provides information related to the acquisition and exercise of citizenship; it includes four subfields: citizenship by birth describes the acquisition of citizenship based on place of birth, known as Jus soli, regardless of the citizenship of parents. citizenship by descent only describes the acquisition of citizenship based on the principle of Jus sanguinis, or by descent, where at least one parent is a citizen of the state and being born within the territorial limits of the s . . . more Citizenship field listing
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Mauritania
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
Suffrage: This entry gives the age at enfranchisement and whether the right to vote is universal or restricted. Suffrage field listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: This entry includes five subentries: chief of state; head of government; cabinet; elections/appointments; election results. Chief of state includes the name, title, and beginning date in office of the titular leader of the country who represents the state at official and ceremonial functions but may not be involved with the day-to-day activities of the government. Head of government includes the name, title of the top executive designated to manage the executive branch of the government, a . . . more Executive branch field listing
chief of state: President Mohamed Cheikh El GHAZOUANI (since 1 August 2019)
head of government: Prime Minister Ould Bedda Ould Cheikh SIDIYA (since 5 August 2019)
cabinet: Council of Ministers - nominees suggested by the prime minister, appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 22 June 2019 (next scheduled for 22 June 2024); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Mohamed Cheikh El GHAZOUANI elected president in first round; percent of vote - Mahamed Cheikh El GHAZOUANI (UPR) 52%, Biram Dah Ould ABEID (independent) 18.6%, Sidi Mohamed Ould BOUBACAR (independent) 17.9%, other 11.55%
Legislative branch: This entry has three subfields. The description subfield provides the legislative structure (unicameral – single house; bicameral – an upper and a lower house); formal name(s); number of member seats; types of constituencies or voting districts (single seat, multi-seat, nationwide); electoral voting system(s); and member term of office. The elections subfield includes the dates of the last election and next election. The election results subfield lists percent of vote by party/coalition an . . . more Legislative branch field listing
description: unicameral Parliament or Barlamane consists of the National Assembly or Al Jamiya Al Wataniya (157 seats; 113 members in single- and multi-seat constituencies directly elected by a combination of plurality and proportional representation voting systems, 40 members in a single, nationwide constituency directly elected by proportional representation vote, and 4 members directly elected by the diaspora; all members serve 5-year terms)
elections: first held as the unicameral National Assembly in 2 rounds on 1 and 15 September 2018 (next to be held in 2023)
election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - NA

note: a referendum held in August 2017 approved a constitutional amendment to change the Parliament structure from bicameral to unicameral by abolishing the Senate and creating Regional Councils for local development
Judicial branch: This entry includes three subfields. The highest court(s) subfield includes the name(s) of a country's highest level court(s), the number and titles of the judges, and the types of cases heard by the court, which commonly are based on civil, criminal, administrative, and constitutional law. A number of countries have separate constitutional courts. The judge selection and term of office subfield includes the organizations and associated officials responsible for nominating and appointing j . . . more Judicial branch field listing
highest courts: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (subdivided into 7 chambers: 2 civil, 2 labor, 1 commercial, 1 administrative, and 1 criminal, each with a chamber president and 2 councilors ); Constitutional Council (consists of 6 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president appointed by the president of the republic to serve a 5-year renewable term; Constitutional Council members appointed - 3 by the president of the republic, 2 by the president of the National Assembly, and 1 by the president of the Senate; members serve single, 9-year terms with one-third of membership renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; courts of first instance or wilya courts are established in the regions' headquarters and include commercial and labor courts, criminal courts, Moughataa (district) Courts, and informal/customary courts
Political parties and leaders: This entry includes a listing of significant political parties, coalitions, and electoral lists as of each country's last legislative election, unless otherwise noted. Political parties and leaders field listing
Alliance for Justice and Democracy/Movement for Renewal or AJD/MR [Ibrahima Moctar SARR]
Burst of Youth for the Nation [Lalla Mint CHERIF]
Coalition of Majority Parties or CPM (includes UPR, UDP)
El Karama Party [Cheikhna Ould Mohamed Ould HAJBOU]
El Vadila Party [Ethmane Ould Ahmed ABOULMAALY]
National Forum for Democracy and Unity or FNDU [Mohamed Ould MAOLOUD] (coalition of hard-line opposition parties, includes RNRD-TAWASSOUL)
National Rally for Reform and Development or RNRD-TAWASSOUL [Mohamed Mahmoud Ould SEYIDI]
Party of Unity and Development or PUD [Mohamed BARO]
Popular Progressive Alliance or APP [Messaoud Ould BOULKHEIR]
Rally of Democratic Forces or RFD [Ahmed Ould DADDAH]
Ravah Party [ Mohamed Ould VALL]
Republican Party for Democracy and Renewal or PRDR [Mintata Mint HEDEID]
Union for Democracy and Progress or UDP [Naha Mint MOUKNASS]
Union of Progress Forces [Mohamed Ould MAOULOUD]
Union for the Republic or UPR [Seyidna Ali Ould MOHAMED KHOUNA]
International organization participation: This entry lists in alphabetical order by abbreviation those international organizations in which the subject country is a member or participates in some other way. International organization participation field listing
ABEDA, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, AU, CAEU (candidate), EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, MIUSMA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: This entry includes the chief of mission, chancery address, telephone, FAX, consulate general locations, and consulate locations. The use of the annotated title Appointed Ambassador refers to a new ambassador who has presented his/her credentials to the secretary of state but not the US president. Such ambassadors fulfill all diplomatic functions except meeting with or appearing at functions attended by the president until such time as they formally present their credentials at a White Hou . . . more Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
Ambassador Mohamedoun DADDAH (since 27 June 2016)
chancery: 2129 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-5700 through 5701
FAX: [1] (202) 319-2623
Diplomatic representation from the US: This entry includes the chief of mission, embassy address, mailing address, telephone number, FAX number, branch office locations, consulate general locations, and consulate locations. Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Michael J. DODMAN (since 5 January 2018)
telephone: [222] 4525-2660 or [222] 2660-2663
embassy: Avenue Al Quds, Nouadhibou, Nouadhibou Road, Nouakchott, Mauritania


mailing address: use embassy street address
FAX: [222] 4525-1592
Flag description: This entry provides a written flag description produced from actual flags or the best information available at the time the entry was written. The flags of independent states are used by their dependencies unless there is an officially recognized local flag. Some disputed and other areas do not have flags. Flag description field listing
green with a yellow, five-pointed star between the horns of a yellow, upward-pointing crescent moon; red stripes along the top and bottom edges; the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam; green also represents hope for a bright future; the yellow color stands for the sands of the Sahara; red symbolizes the blood shed in the struggle for independence
National symbol(s): A national symbol is a faunal, floral, or other abstract representation - or some distinctive object - that over time has come to be closely identified with a country or entity. Not all countries have national symbols; a few countries have more than one. National symbol(s) field listing
five-pointed star between the horns of a horizontal crescent moon; national colors: green, yellow
National anthem: A generally patriotic musical composition - usually in the form of a song or hymn of praise - that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, or struggles of a nation or its people. National anthems can be officially recognized as a national song by a country's constitution or by an enacted law, or simply by tradition. Although most anthems contain lyrics, some do not. National anthem field listing
name: "Hymne National de la Republique Islamique de Mauritanie" (National Anthem of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania)
lyrics/music: Baba Ould CHEIKH/traditional, arranged by Tolia NIKIPROWETZKY

note: adopted 1960; the unique rhythm of the Mauritanian anthem makes it particularly challenging to sing; Mauritania in November 2017 adopted a new national anthem, "Bilada-l ubati-l hudati-l kiram" (The Country of Fatherhood is the Honorable Gift) composed by Rageh Daoud (sound file of the new anthem is forthcoming)

Economy :: Mauritania

Economy - overview: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends. Economy - overview field listing

Mauritania's economy is dominated by extractive industries (oil and mines), fisheries, livestock, agriculture, and services. Half the population still depends on farming and raising livestock, even though many nomads and subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s, 1980s, 2000s, and 2017. Recently, GDP growth has been driven largely by foreign investment in the mining and oil sectors.

Mauritania's extensive mineral resources include iron ore, gold, copper, gypsum, and phosphate rock, and exploration is ongoing for tantalum, uranium, crude oil, and natural gas. Extractive commodities make up about three-quarters of Mauritania's total exports, subjecting the economy to price swings in world commodity markets. Mining is also a growing source of government revenue, rising from 13% to 30% of total revenue from 2006 to 2014. The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world, and fishing accounts for about 15% of budget revenues, 45% of foreign currency earnings. Mauritania processes a total of 1,800,000 tons of fish per year, but overexploitation by foreign and national fleets threaten the sustainability of this key source of revenue.

The economy is highly sensitive to international food and extractive commodity prices. Other risks to Mauritania's economy include its recurring droughts, dependence on foreign aid and investment, and insecurity in neighboring Mali, as well as significant shortages of infrastructure, institutional capacity, and human capital. In December 2017, Mauritania and the IMF agreed to a three year agreement under the Extended Credit Facility to foster economic growth, maintain macroeconomic stability, and reduce poverty. Investment in agriculture and infrastructure are the largest components of the country’s public expenditures.
GDP (purchasing power parity): This entry gives the gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. A nation's GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates is the sum value of all goods and services produced in the country valued at prices prevailing in the United States in the year noted. This is the measure most economists prefer when looking at per-capita welfare and when comparing living conditions or use of resources across countries. The measur . . . more GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
$17.28 billion (2017 est.)
$16.7 billion (2016 est.)
$16.4 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 154
GDP (official exchange rate): This entry gives the gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. A nation's GDP at official exchange rates (OER) is the home-currency-denominated annual GDP figure divided by the bilateral average US exchange rate with that country in that year. The measure is simple to compute and gives a precise measure of the value of output. Many economists prefer this measure when gauging the economic power an economy maintains vis- . . . more GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
$4.935 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: This entry gives GDP growth on an annual basis adjusted for inflation and expressed as a percent. The growth rates are year-over-year, and not compounded. GDP - real growth rate field listing
3.5% (2017 est.)
1.8% (2016 est.)
0.4% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
GDP - per capita (PPP): This entry shows GDP on a purchasing power parity basis divided by population as of 1 July for the same year. GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
$4,500 (2017 est.)
$4,400 (2016 est.)
$4,400 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 173
Gross national saving: Gross national saving is derived by deducting final consumption expenditure (household plus government) from Gross national disposable income, and consists of personal saving, plus business saving (the sum of the capital consumption allowance and retained business profits), plus government saving (the excess of tax revenues over expenditures), but excludes foreign saving (the excess of imports of goods and services over exports). The figures are presented as a percent of GDP. A negative . . . more Gross national saving field listing
24.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
24.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
19% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
GDP - composition, by end use: This entry shows who does the spending in an economy: consumers, businesses, government, and foreigners. The distribution gives the percentage contribution to total GDP of household consumption, government consumption, investment in fixed capital, investment in inventories, exports of goods and services, and imports of goods and services, and will total 100 percent of GDP if the data are complete. household consumption consists of expenditures by resident households, and by nonprofit insti . . . more GDP - composition, by end use field listing
household consumption: 64.9% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 21.8% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 56.1% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: -3.2% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 39% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -78.6% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: This entry shows where production takes place in an economy. The distribution gives the percentage contribution of agriculture, industry, and services to total GDP, and will total 100 percent of GDP if the data are complete. Agriculture includes farming, fishing, and forestry. Industry includes mining, manufacturing, energy production, and construction. Services cover government activities, communications, transportation, finance, and all other private economic activities that do not prod . . . more GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
agriculture: 27.8% (2017 est.)
industry: 29.3% (2017 est.)
services: 42.9% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products: This entry is an ordered listing of major crops and products starting with the most important. Agriculture - products field listing
dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn; cattle, camel and sheep
Industries: This entry provides a rank ordering of industries starting with the largest by value of annual output. Industries field listing
fish processing, oil production, mining (iron ore, gold, copper)

note: gypsum deposits have never been exploited
Industrial production growth rate: This entry gives the annual percentage increase in industrial production (includes manufacturing, mining, and construction). Industrial production growth rate field listing
1% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
Labor force: This entry contains the total labor force figure. Labor force field listing
1.437 million (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
Labor force - by occupation: This entry lists the percentage distribution of the labor force by sector of occupation. Agriculture includes farming, fishing, and forestry. Industry includes mining, manufacturing, energy production, and construction. Services cover government activities, communications, transportation, finance, and all other economic activities that do not produce material goods. The distribution will total less than 100 percent if the data are incomplete and may range from 99-101 percent due to rounding. more Labor force - by occupation field listing
agriculture: 50%
industry: 1.9%
services: 48.1% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate: This entry contains the percent of the labor force that is without jobs. Substantial underemployment might be noted. Unemployment rate field listing
10.2% (2017 est.)
10.1% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
Population below poverty line: National estimates of the percentage of the population falling below the poverty line are based on surveys of sub-groups, with the results weighted by the number of people in each group. Definitions of poverty vary considerably among nations. For example, rich nations generally employ more generous standards of poverty than poor nations. Population below poverty line field listing
31% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: Data on household income or consumption come from household surveys, the results adjusted for household size. Nations use different standards and procedures in collecting and adjusting the data. Surveys based on income will normally show a more unequal distribution than surveys based on consumption. The quality of surveys is improving with time, yet caution is still necessary in making inter-country comparisons. Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 29.5% (2000)
Budget: This entry includes revenues, expenditures, and capital expenditures. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. Budget field listing
revenues: 1.354 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 1.396 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: This entry records total taxes and other revenues received by the national government during the time period indicated, expressed as a percent of GDP. Taxes include personal and corporate income taxes, value added taxes, excise taxes, and tariffs. Other revenues include social contributions - such as payments for social security and hospital insurance - grants, and net revenues from public enterprises. Normalizing the data, by dividing total revenues by GDP, enables easy comparisons acr . . . more Taxes and other revenues field listing
27.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): This entry records the difference between national government revenues and expenditures, expressed as a percent of GDP. A positive (+) number indicates that revenues exceeded expenditures (a budget surplus), while a negative (-) number indicates the reverse (a budget deficit). Normalizing the data, by dividing the budget balance by GDP, enables easy comparisons across countries and indicates whether a national government saves or borrows money. Countries with high budget deficits (relat . . . more Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
-0.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69
Public debt: This entry records the cumulative total of all government borrowings less repayments that are denominated in a country's home currency. Public debt should not be confused with external debt, which reflects the foreign currency liabilities of both the private and public sector and must be financed out of foreign exchange earnings. Public debt field listing
96.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
100% of GDP (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
Fiscal year: This entry identifies the beginning and ending months for a country's accounting period of 12 months, which often is the calendar year but which may begin in any month. All yearly references are for the calendar year (CY) unless indicated as a noncalendar fiscal year (FY). Fiscal year field listing
calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): This entry furnishes the annual percent change in consumer prices compared with the previous year's consumer prices. Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
2.3% (2017 est.)
1.5% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
Current account balance: This entry records a country's net trade in goods and services, plus net earnings from rents, interest, profits, and dividends, and net transfer payments (such as pension funds and worker remittances) to and from the rest of the world during the period specified. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. Current account balance field listing
-$711 million (2017 est.)
-$707 million (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129
Exports: This entry provides the total US dollar amount of merchandise exports on an f.o.b. (free on board) basis. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. Exports field listing
$1.722 billion (2017 est.)
$1.401 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
Exports - partners: This entry provides a rank ordering of trading partners starting with the most important; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value. Exports - partners field listing
China 31.2%, Switzerland 14.4%, Spain 10.1%, Germany 8.2%, Japan 8.1% (2017)
Exports - commodities: This entry provides a listing of the highest-valued exported products; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value. Exports - commodities field listing
iron ore, fish and fish products, livestock, gold, copper, crude oil
Imports: This entry provides the total US dollar amount of merchandise imports on a c.i.f. (cost, insurance, and freight) or f.o.b. (free on board) basis. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. Imports field listing
$2.094 billion (2017 est.)
$1.9 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
Imports - commodities: This entry provides a listing of the highest-valued imported products; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value. Imports - commodities field listing
machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partners: This entry provides a rank ordering of trading partners starting with the most important; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value. Imports - partners field listing
Belgium 11.5%, UAE 11.3%, US 9.2%, China 7.5%, France 7.4%, Netherlands 6.1%, Morocco 6%, Slovenia 4.8%, Vanuatu 4.7%, Spain 4.7% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: This entry gives the dollar value for the stock of all financial assets that are available to the central monetary authority for use in meeting a country's balance of payments needs as of the end-date of the period specified. This category includes not only foreign currency and gold, but also a country's holdings of Special Drawing Rights in the International Monetary Fund, and its reserve position in the Fund. Reserves of foreign exchange and gold field listing
$875 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$849.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
Debt - external: This entry gives the total public and private debt owed to nonresidents repayable in internationally accepted currencies, goods, or services. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. Debt - external field listing
$4.15 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.899 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
Exchange rates: This entry provides the average annual price of a country's monetary unit for the time period specified, expressed in units of local currency per US dollar, as determined by international market forces or by official fiat. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 4217 alphabetic currency code for the national medium of exchange is presented in parenthesis. Closing daily exchange rates are not presented in The World Factbook, but are used to convert stock values - e.g., the . . . more Exchange rates field listing
ouguiyas (MRO) per US dollar -
363.6 (2017 est.)
352.37 (2016 est.)
352.37 (2015 est.)
319.7 (2014 est.)
299.5 (2013 est.)

Energy :: Mauritania

Electricity access: This entry provides information on access to electricity. Electrification data – collected from industry reports, national surveys, and international sources – consists of four subfields. Population without electricity provides an estimate of the number of citizens that do not have access to electricity. Electrification – total population is the percent of a country’s total population with access to electricity, electrification – urban areas is the percent of a country’s urban population w . . . more Electricity access field listing
population without electricity: 3 million (2017)
electrification - total population: 41.7% (2016)
electrification - urban areas: 81% (2016)
electrification - rural areas: 2.3% (2016)
Electricity - production: This entry is the annual electricity generated expressed in kilowatt-hours. The discrepancy between the amount of electricity generated and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is accounted for as loss in transmission and distribution. Electricity - production field listing
1.139 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
Electricity - consumption: This entry consists of total electricity generated annually plus imports and minus exports, expressed in kilowatt-hours. The discrepancy between the amount of electricity generated and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is accounted for as loss in transmission and distribution. Electricity - consumption field listing
1.059 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
Electricity - exports: This entry is the total exported electricity in kilowatt-hours. Electricity - exports field listing
0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
Electricity - imports: This entry is the total imported electricity in kilowatt-hours. Electricity - imports field listing
0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173
Electricity - installed generating capacity: This entry is the total capacity of currently installed generators, expressed in kilowatts (kW), to produce electricity. A 10-kilowatt (kW) generator will produce 10 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, if it runs continuously for one hour. Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
558,000 kW (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
Electricity - from fossil fuels: This entry measures the capacity of plants that generate electricity by burning fossil fuels (such as coal, petroleum products, and natural gas), expressed as a share of the country's total generating capacity. Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
65% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: This entry measures the capacity of plants that generate electricity through radioactive decay of nuclear fuel, expressed as a share of the country's total generating capacity. Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: This entry measures the capacity of plants that generate electricity by water-driven turbines, expressed as a share of the country's total generating capacity. Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
16% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
Electricity - from other renewable sources: This entry measures the capacity of plants that generate electricity by using renewable energy sources other than hydroelectric (including, for example, wind, waves, solar, and geothermal), expressed as a share of the country's total generating capacity. Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
20% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
Crude oil - production: This entry is the total amount of crude oil produced, in barrels per day (bbl/day). Crude oil - production field listing
4,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
Crude oil - exports: This entry is the total amount of crude oil exported, in barrels per day (bbl/day). Crude oil - exports field listing
5,333 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
Crude oil - imports: This entry is the total amount of crude oil imported, in barrels per day (bbl/day). Crude oil - imports field listing
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
Crude oil - proved reserves: This entry is the stock of proved reserves of crude oil, in barrels (bbl). Proved reserves are those quantities of petroleum which, by analysis of geological and engineering data, can be estimated with a high degree of confidence to be commercially recoverable from a given date forward, from known reservoirs and under current economic conditions. Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
20 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
Refined petroleum products - production: This entry is the country's total output of refined petroleum products, in barrels per day (bbl/day). The discrepancy between the amount of refined petroleum products produced and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is due to the omission of stock changes, refinery gains, and other complicating factors. Refined petroleum products - production field listing
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
Refined petroleum products - consumption: This entry is the country's total consumption of refined petroleum products, in barrels per day (bbl/day). The discrepancy between the amount of refined petroleum products produced and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is due to the omission of stock changes, refinery gains, and other complicating factors. Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
17,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
Refined petroleum products - exports: This entry is the country's total exports of refined petroleum products, in barrels per day (bbl/day). Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
Refined petroleum products - imports: This entry is the country's total imports of refined petroleum products, in barrels per day (bbl/day). Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
17,290 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
Natural gas - production: This entry is the total natural gas produced in cubic meters (cu m). The discrepancy between the amount of natural gas produced and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is due to the omission of stock changes and other complicating factors. Natural gas - production field listing
0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
Natural gas - consumption: This entry is the total natural gas consumed in cubic meters (cu m). The discrepancy between the amount of natural gas produced and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is due to the omission of stock changes and other complicating factors. Natural gas - consumption field listing
0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
Natural gas - exports: This entry is the total natural gas exported in cubic meters (cu m). Natural gas - exports field listing
0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
Natural gas - imports: This entry is the total natural gas imported in cubic meters (cu m). Natural gas - imports field listing
0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
Natural gas - proved reserves: This entry is the stock of proved reserves of natural gas in cubic meters (cu m). Proved reserves are those quantities of natural gas, which, by analysis of geological and engineering data, can be estimated with a high degree of confidence to be commercially recoverable from a given date forward, from known reservoirs and under current economic conditions. Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: This entry is the total amount of carbon dioxide, measured in metric tons, released by burning fossil fuels in the process of producing and consuming energy. Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
2.615 million Mt (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152

Communications :: Mauritania

Telephones - fixed lines: This entry gives the total number of fixed telephone lines in use, as well as the number of subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. Telephones - fixed lines field listing
total subscriptions: 59,959
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
Telephones - mobile cellular: This entry gives the total number of mobile cellular telephone subscribers, as well as the number of subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. Note that because of the ubiquity of mobile phone use in developed countries, the number of subscriptions per 100 inhabitants can exceed 100. Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
total subscriptions: 4,566,502
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 119 (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
Telecommunication systems: This entry includes a brief general assessment of the telecommunications system with details on the domestic and international components. The following terms and abbreviations are used throughout the entry: Arabsat - Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia). Autodin - Automatic Digital Network (US Department of Defense). CB - citizen's band mobile radio communications. Cellular telephone system - the telephones in this system are radio transceivers, with each inst . . . more Telecommunication systems field listing
general assessment: limited system of cable and open-wire lines, minor microwave radio relay links, and radiotelephone communications stations; mobile-cellular services expanding; 3 mobile network operators; monopolies and little stimulus for competition; 3G penetration high yet little development in LTE and consequently mobile broadband access speeds are low; World Bank and European Investment Bank support attempts to improve telecom and improve regulatory measures; regulator struggles to enforce good quality of service; efforts to improve backbone of network (2020)
domestic: fixed-line teledensity 2 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular network coverage extends mainly to urban areas with a teledensity of roughly 119 per 100 persons; mostly cable and open-wire lines; a domestic satellite telecommunications system links Nouakchott with regional capitals (2018)
international: country code - 222; landing point for the ACE submarine cable for connectivity to 19 West African countries and 2 European countries; satellite earth stations - 3 (1 Intelsat - Atlantic Ocean, 2 Arabsat) (2019)
the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
Broadcast media: This entry provides information on the approximate number of public and private TV and radio stations in a country, as well as basic information on the availability of satellite and cable TV services. Broadcast media field listing
10 TV stations: 5 government-owned and 5 private; in October 2017, the government suspended all private TV stations due to non-payment of broadcasting fees; as of April 2018, only one private TV station was broadcasting, Al Mourabitoune, the official TV of the Mauritanian Islamist party, Tewassoul; the other stations are negotiating payment options with the government and hope to be back on the air soon; 18 radio broadcasters: 15 government-owned, 3 (Radio Nouakchott Libre, Radio Tenwir, Radio Kobeni) private; all 3 private radio stations broadcast from Nouakchott; of the 15 government stations, 3 broadcast from Nouakchott (Radio Mauritanie, Radio Jeunesse, Radio Koran) and the other 12 broadcast from each of the 12 regions outside Nouakchott; Radio Jeunesse and Radio Koran are now also being re-broadcast in the regions (2019)
Internet country code: This entry includes the two-letter codes maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in the ISO 3166 Alpha-2 list and used by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to establish country-coded top-level domains (ccTLDs). Internet country code field listing
.mr
Internet users: This entry gives the total number of individuals within a country who can access the Internet at home, via any device type (computer or mobile) and connection. The percent of population with Internet access (i.e., the penetration rate) helps gauge how widespread Internet use is within a country. Statistics vary from country to country and may include users who access the Internet at least several times a week to those who access it only once within a period of several months. Internet users field listing
total: 661,913
percent of population: 18% (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
Broadband - fixed subscriptions: This entry gives the total number of fixed-broadband subscriptions, as well as the number of subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. Fixed broadband is a physical wired connection to the Internet (e.g., coaxial cable, optical fiber) at speeds equal to or greater than 256 kilobits/second (256 kbit/s). Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
total: 13,222
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163

Military and Security :: Mauritania

Military expenditures: This entry gives spending on defense programs for the most recent year available as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP); the GDP is calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). For countries with no military forces, this figure can include expenditures on public security and police. Military expenditures field listing
2.8% of GDP (2019)
3.02% of GDP (2018)
2.91% of GDP (2017)
2.91% of GDP (2016)
2.75% of GDP (2015)
country comparison to the world: 31
Military and security forces: This entry lists the military and security forces subordinate to defense ministries or the equivalent (typically ground, naval, air, and marine forces), as well as those belonging to interior ministries or the equivalent (typically gendarmeries, border/coast guards, paramilitary police, and other internal security forces). Military and security forces field listing
Mauritanian Armed Forces: Army, Mauritanian Navy (Marine Mauritanienne), Islamic Republic of Mauritania Air Group (Groupement Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie, GAIM); Ministry of Interior: Gendarmerie, National Guard (2019)
Military service age and obligation: This entry gives the required ages for voluntary or conscript military service and the length of service obligation. Military service age and obligation field listing
18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

Transportation :: Mauritania

National air transport system: This entry includes four subfields describing the air transport system of a given country in terms of both structure and performance. The first subfield, number of registered air carriers, indicates the total number of air carriers registered with the country’s national aviation authority and issued an air operator certificate as required by the Convention on International Civil Aviation. The second subfield, inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers, lists the total number . . . more National air transport system field listing
number of registered air carriers: 1 (2015)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 4 (2015)
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 248,158 (2015)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 0 mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix: This entry provides the one- or two-character alphanumeric code indicating the nationality of civil aircraft. Article 20 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention), signed in 1944, requires that all aircraft engaged in international air navigation bear appropriate nationality marks. The aircraft registration number consists of two parts: a prefix consisting of a one- or two-character alphanumeric code indicating nationality and a registration suffix of one to fi . . . more Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
5T (2016)
Airports: This entry gives the total number of airports or airfields recognizable from the air. The runway(s) may be paved (concrete or asphalt surfaces) or unpaved (grass, earth, sand, or gravel surfaces) and may include closed or abandoned installations. Airports or airfields that are no longer recognizable (overgrown, no facilities, etc.) are not included. Note that not all airports have accommodations for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control. Airports field listing
30 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 115
Airports - with paved runways: This entry gives the total number of airports with paved runways (concrete or asphalt surfaces) by length. For airports with more than one runway, only the longest runway is included according to the following five groups - (1) over 3,047 m (over 10,000 ft), (2) 2,438 to 3,047 m (8,000 to 10,000 ft), (3) 1,524 to 2,437 m (5,000 to 8,000 ft), (4) 914 to 1,523 m (3,000 to 5,000 ft), and (5) under 914 m (under 3,000 ft). Only airports with usable runways are included in this listing. Not all . . . more Airports - with paved runways field listing
total: 9 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runways: This entry gives the total number of airports with unpaved runways (grass, dirt, sand, or gravel surfaces) by length. For airports with more than one runway, only the longest runway is included according to the following five groups - (1) over 3,047 m (over 10,000 ft), (2) 2,438 to 3,047 m (8,000 to 10,000 ft), (3) 1,524 to 2,437 m (5,000 to 8,000 ft), (4) 914 to 1,523 m (3,000 to 5,000 ft), and (5) under 914 m (under 3,000 ft). Only airports with usable runways are included in this listin . . . more Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
total: 21 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 8 (2013)
under 914 m: 2 (2013)
Railways: This entry states the total route length of the railway network and of its component parts by gauge, which is the measure of the distance between the inner sides of the load-bearing rails. The four typical types of gauges are: broad, standard, narrow, and dual. Other gauges are listed under note. Some 60% of the world's railways use the standard gauge of 1.4 m (4.7 ft). Gauges vary by country and sometimes within countries. The choice of gauge during initial construction was mainly in resp . . . more Railways field listing
total: 728 km (2014)
standard gauge: 728 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
country comparison to the world: 100
Roadways: This entry gives the total length of the road network and includes the length of the paved and unpaved portions. Roadways field listing
total: 12,253 km (2018)
paved: 3,988 km (2018)
unpaved: 8,265 km (2018)
country comparison to the world: 128
Waterways: This entry gives the total length of navigable rivers, canals, and other inland bodies of water. Waterways field listing
(some navigation possible on the Senegal River) (2011)
Merchant marine: This entry provides the total and the number of each type of privately or publicly owned commercial ship for each country; military ships are not included; the five ships by type include: bulk carrier - for cargo such as coal, grain, cement, ores, and gravel; container ship - for loads in truck-size containers, a transportation system called containerization; general cargo - also referred to as break-bulk containers - for a wide variety of packaged merchandise, such as textiles, furniture . . . more Merchant marine field listing
total: 5
by type: general cargo 2, other 3 (2019)
country comparison to the world: 165
Ports and terminals: This entry lists major ports and terminals primarily on the basis of the amount of cargo tonnage shipped through the facilities on an annual basis. In some instances, the number of containers handled or ship visits were also considered. Most ports service multiple classes of vessels including bulk carriers (dry and liquid), break bulk cargoes (goods loaded individually in bags, boxes, crates, or drums; sometimes palletized), containers, roll-on/roll-off, and passenger ships. The listing le . . . more Ports and terminals field listing
major seaport(s): Nouadhibou, Nouakchott

Transnational Issues :: Mauritania

Disputes - international: This entry includes a wide variety of situations that range from traditional bilateral boundary disputes to unilateral claims of one sort or another. Information regarding disputes over international terrestrial and maritime boundaries has been reviewed by the US Department of State. References to other situations involving borders or frontiers may also be included, such as resource disputes, geopolitical questions, or irredentist issues; however, inclusion does not necessarily constitute . . . more Disputes - international field listing

Mauritanian claims to Western Sahara remain dormant
Refugees and internally displaced persons: This entry includes those persons residing in a country as refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), or stateless persons. Each country's refugee entry includes only countries of origin that are the source of refugee populations of 5,000 or more. The definition of a refugee according to a UN Convention is "a person who is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a . . . more Refugees and internally displaced persons field listing
refugees (country of origin): 26,001 (Western Saharan Sahrawis) (2018); 60,455 (Mali) (2020)
Trafficking in persons: Trafficking in persons is modern-day slavery, involving victims who are forced, defrauded, or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. The International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN agency charged with addressing labor standards, employment, and social protection issues, estimated in 2011 that 20.9 million people worldwide were victims of forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, sexual servitude, and involuntary servitude. Human trafficking is a multi-dimensional threat, depri . . . more Trafficking in persons field listing
current situation: Mauritania is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; adults and children from traditional slave castes are subjected to slavery-related practices rooted in ancestral master-slave relationships; Mauritanian boy students called talibes are trafficked within the country by religious teachers for forced begging; Mauritanian girls, as well as girls from Mali, Senegal, The Gambia, and other West African countries, are forced into domestic servitude; Mauritanian women and girls are forced into prostitution domestically or transported to countries in the Middle East for the same purpose, sometimes through forced marriages
tier rating: Tier 3 - Mauritania does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were negligible; one slavery case identified by an NGO was investigated, but no prosecutions or convictions were made, including among the 4,000 child labor cases NGOs referred to the police; the 2007 anti-slavery law remains ineffective because it requires slaves, most of whom are illiterate, to file their own legal complaint, and the government agency that can submit claims on them did not file any in 2014; authorities arrested, prosecuted, and convicted several anti-slavery activists; NGOs continued to provide the majority of protective services to trafficking victims without support from the government; some steps were taken to raise public awareness about human trafficking (2015)

World

Index

Hellenica World