Mauritania Population: 3,677,293

« Previous Country | Next Country »

  
 History
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). The country continues to experience ethnic tensions among three major groups: Arabic-speaking descendants of slaves (Haratines), Arabic-speaking "White Moors" (Bidhan), and members of Sub-Saharan ethnic groups mostly originating in the Senegal River valley (Halpulaar, Soninke, and Wolof). Mauritania confronts a terrorism threat by al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb, which launched successful attacks between 2005 and 2010.

 Geography
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
Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara
Geographic coordinates: 20 00 N, 12 00 W
Area: total: 1,030,700 sq km
land: 1,030,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Size comparison: slightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico
Land Boundaries: total: 5,002 km border countries (4): Algeria 460 km, Mali 2,236 km, Senegal 742 km, Western Sahara 1,564 km
Coastline: 754 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty
Terrain: mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills
Elevation extremes:
Natural resources: iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish
Land use: agricultural land: 38.5% arable land 0.4%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 38.1% forest: 0.2%
other: 61.3% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 450 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind primarily in March and April; periodic droughts
Current Environment Issues: 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
International Environment Agreements: 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
^Back to Top
 People
Nationality: noun: Mauritanian(s)
adjective: Mauritanian
Ethnic groups: 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 Bidhan) 30%, black Africans (non-Arabic speaking, Halpulaar, Soninke, Wolof, and Bamara ethnic groups) 30%
Languages: Arabic (official and national), Pulaar, 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: Muslim (official) 100%
Population: 3,677,293 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 38.87% (male 717,790/female 711,694)
15-24 years: 19.86% (male 357,460/female 372,744)
25-54 years: 32.96% (male 561,341/female 650,580)
55-64 years: 4.61% (male 76,372/female 93,065)
65 years and over: 3.71% (male 57,814/female 78,433) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 76.1%
youth dependency ratio: 70.5%
elderly dependency ratio: 5.7%
potential support ratio: 17.7% (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 20.3 years
male: 19.3 years
female: 21.2 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.2% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 30.9 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 8.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 59.9% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.54% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: NOUAKCHOTT (capital) 968,000 (2015)
Sex ratio: 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: 0.86 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.82 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 602 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 53.3 deaths/1,000 live births male: 58.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 48.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 63 years male: 60.7 years
female: 65.4 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.93 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 9.3% (2007)
Health expenditures: 3.8% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density: 0.13 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
Hospital bed density: 0.4 beds/1,000 population (2006)
Drinking water source: 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.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 57.5% of population
rural: 13.8% of population
total: 40% of population

unimproved:
urban: 42.5% of population
rural: 86.2% of population
total: 60% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.57% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 13,700 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 1,000 (2015 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 8.6% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 19.5% (2012)
Education expenditures: 2.9% of GDP (2013)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 52.1%
male: 62.6%
female: 41.6% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 8 years male: 9 years
female: 8 years (2013)
^Back to Top
 Government
Country name: 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: presidential republic
Capital: name: Nouakchott
geographic coordinates: 18 04 N, 15 58 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 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: 28 November 1960 (from France)
National holiday: Independence Day, 28 November (1960)
Constitution: previous 1964; latest adopted 12 July 1991; amended 2004, 2006, 2012 (2016)
Legal system: mixed legal system of Islamic and French civil law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ (since 5 August 2009); note - AZIZ deposed President Sidi Ould Cheikh ABDELLAHI in a coup and installed himself as president in August 2008; he subsequently retired from the military, stepped down from the appropriated presidency in April 2009 to run for the legitimate presidency, and was elected president on 18 July 2009

head of government: Prime Minister Yahya Ould HADEMINE (since 21 August 2014)

cabinet: Council of Ministers 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 21 June 2014 (next to be held by 2019); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ elected president; percent of vote - Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ (UPR) 81.9%, Biram Dah ABEID (independent) 8.7%, Boidiel Ould HOUMEIT (El Wiam) 4.5%, Ibrahima Moctar SARR (SJD/MR) 4.4%, other 0.5%
Legislative branch: description: bicameral Parliament or Barlamane consists of the Senate or Majlis al-Shuyukh (56 seats; 53 members indirectly elected by municipal leaders by simple majority vote and 3 directly elected by Mauritanians abroad; members serve a 6-year term with one-third of membership renewed every 2 years) and the National Assembly or Al Jamiya Al Wataniya (146 seats; 106 members directly elected in single- and two-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in two rounds if needed and 40 directly elected in constituencies with three or more seats by proportional representation vote; members serve a 5-year term)

elections: Senate - last held on 23 November 2013 (next election scheduled for 2015 but delayed because of opposition party threats to boycott election); National Assembly - first round last held on 23 November and second round on 21 December 2013 (next to be held in 2018)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UPR 75, RNRD-TAWASSOUL 16, El Wiam 10, APP 7, El Karama Party 6, UDP 6, AJD/MR 4, Burst of Youth for the Nation 4, El Vadila Party 3, PRDR 3, PUD 3, Ravah Party 3, other 6; note - parties winning fewer than 3 seats sit as independents unless they join a coalition
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (subdivided into 1 criminal and 2 civil chambers, each with a president and 5 counselors); 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: High Court of Justice (cases involving treason and criminal acts of high government officials); courts of appeal; wilaya (regional) courts (located at the headquarters of each of the 13 regions); commercial and labor courts; criminal courts; moughataa (district) courts; informal/customary courts
Political parties and leaders: Alliance for Justice and Democracy/Movement for Renewal or AJD/MR [Ibrahima Moctar SARR] Burst of Youth for the Nation [Lalla CHERIVA] Coalition for Pacific Alternation or CAP (coalition of opposition parties, including APP, El Wiam) Coalition of Majority Parties or CPM (including UPR, UDP) Coordination of Democratic Opposition or COD [Ahmed Ould DADDAH] (coalition including RNRD-TAWASSOUL) El Karama Party [Cheikhna Ould Mohamed Ould HAJBOU] El Vadila Party [Ethmane Ould Ahmed ABOULMAALY] El Wiam [Boidiel Ould HOUMEIT] National Rally for Reform and Development or RNRD-TAWASSOUL [Mohamed Jamil Ould MANSOUR] Party of Unity and Development or PUD [Mohamed BARO] Popular Progressive Alliance or APP [Messaoud Ould BOULKHEIR] Ravah Party Republican Party for Democracy and Renewal or PRDR [Sidi Mohamed Ould Mohamed VALL] Union for Democracy and Progress or UDP [Naha Mint MOUKNASS] Union for the Republic or UPR [Sidi Mohamed Ould MAHAM]
Political pressure groups and leaders: General Confederation of Mauritanian Workers or CGTM [Abdallahi Ould MOHAMED, secretary general] Independent Confederation of Mauritanian Workers or CLTM and El Hor [Samory Ould BEYE] (civil society organization) Mauritanian Workers Union or UTM [Mohamed Ely Ould BRAHIM, secretary general] SOS-Esclaves [Boubacar MESSAOUD] (anti-slavery group) other: Arab nationalists; Ba'athists; Islamists; Nasserists
International organization participation: 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
National symbol(s): star and crescent; national colors: green, yellow
National anthem: 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
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: 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: chief of mission: Ambassador Larry Edward ANDRE, Jr. (since 25 September 2014)
embassy: 288, rue 42-100 (rue Abdallaye), Nouakchott
mailing address: B.P. 222, Nouakchott
telephone: [222] 4525-2660 or [222] 2660-2663
FAX: [222] 4525-1592
^Back to Top
 Economy
Mauritania's economy is dominated by natural resources and agriculture. Half the population still depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though many nomads and subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s and 1980s. Recently, GDP growth has been driven 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 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 29% of total revenue between 2006 and 2013. The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world, and fishing accounts for about 25% of budget revenues, but overexploitation by foreigners threatens this key source of revenue. 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. Mauritania has sought additional IMF support by focusing efforts on poverty reduction. Investment in agriculture and infrastructure are the largest components of the country’s public expenditures.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $16.71 billion (2016 est.) $16.19 billion (2015 est.) $15.99 billion (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $4.718 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.2% (2016 est.) 1.2% (2015 est.) 5.4% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $4,400 (2016 est.) $4,400 (2015 est.) $4,400 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving: 22.2% of GDP (2016 est.) 18.8% of GDP (2015 est.) 25.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 72.5%
government consumption: 23.8%
investment in fixed capital: 47%
investment in inventories: -7.2%
exports of goods and services: 25.7%
imports of goods and services: -61.8% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 72.5%
government consumption: 23.8%
investment in fixed capital: 47%
investment in inventories: -7.2%
exports of goods and services: 25.7%
imports of goods and services: -61.8% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - products: dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn; cattle, sheep
Industries: fish processing, oil production, mining (iron ore, gold, copper) note: gypsum deposits have never been exploited
Industrial production growth rate: -1.2% (2016 est.)
Labor force: 1.356 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 50%
industry: 2%
services: 48% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate: 31% (2013 est.)
Population below poverty line: 40% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 29.5% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 39 (2000) 37.3 (1995)
Budget: revenues: $1.143 billion
expenditures: $1.43 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 24.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.5% (2016 est.) 0.5% (2015 est.)
Current account balance: -$1.033 billion (2016 est.) -$1.313 billion (2015 est.)
Exports: $1.212 billion (2016 est.) $1.385 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commodities: iron ore, fish and fish products, gold, copper, petroleum
Exports - partners: China 32.7%, Switzerland 11.1%, Spain 8.6%, Italy 6.7%, Cote dIvoire 6.6%, Japan 5.7% (2015)
Imports: $1.643 billion (2016 est.) $1.93 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partners: China 25.5%, Algeria 8.4%, France 6.3%, Morocco 5.1%, Spain 4.8%, Brazil 4.5%, US 4% (2015)
Debt - external: $3.585 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $3.415 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: ouguiyas (MRO) per US dollar - 341.6 (2016 est.) 319.7 (2015 est.) 319.7 (2014 est.) 299.5 (2013 est.) 296.6 (2012 est.)
^Back to Top
 Energy
Electricity - production: 800 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 800 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 400,000 kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 66.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 33.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Crude oil - production: 5,247 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 11,250 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 20 million bbl (1 January 2016 es)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 16,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 16,390 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 2.4 million Mt (2013 est.)
^Back to Top
 Communications
Cellular Phones in use: total: 3.644 million subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 101 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: limited system of cable and open-wire lines, minor microwave radio relay links, and radiotelephone communications stations; mobile-cellular services expanding rapidly

domestic: fixed-line teledensity 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular network coverage extends mainly to urban areas with a teledensity of roughly 100 per 100 persons; mostly cable and open-wire lines; a domestic satellite telecommunications system links Nouakchott w

international: country code - 222; satellite earth stations - 3 (1 Intelsat - Atlantic Ocean, 2 Arabsat); fiber-optic and asymmetric digital subscriber line cables for Internet access (2015)
Broadcast media: one state-run TV (Television de Mauritanie) and one state-run radio network (Radio de Mauritanie); Television de Mauritanie has three channels, Al Mahadra station (for Islamic content) and Channels 1 and 2, which cover news, sports, and other programming; (2013)
Internet country code: .mr
Internet users: total: 547,000 percent of population: 15.2% (July 2015 est.)
^Back to Top
 Transportation
Airports: 30 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 9

2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 21

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 2 (2013)
Railways: total 728 km
standard gauge: 728 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
Roadways: total 10,628 km
paved: 3,158 km
unpaved: 7,470 km (2010)
Waterways: (some navigation possible on the Senegal River) (2011)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Nouadhibou, Nouakchott
^Back to Top
 Military
Military branches: Mauritanian Armed Forces: Army, Mauritanian Navy (Marine Mauritanienne; includes naval infantry), Islamic Republic of Mauritania Air Group (Groupement Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie, GAIM) (2013)
Military service age and obligation: 18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
^Back to Top
 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: Mauritanian claims to Western Sahara remain dormant
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 26,007 (Western Saharan - Sahrawis) (2015); 46,640 (Mali) (2016)
^Back to Top


« Previous Country | Next Country »




   Source: CIA - The World Factbook

 

Flag Counter