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Mauritania

 
Flag of Mauritania
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Coordinates:
20.00 N  12.00 W

 
 
Introduction  Geography  People  Government  Economy
 
Communications  Transportation  Military  Transnational Issues

Map of Mauritania

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Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Mauritania Top of Page
Background:
Definition 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. Opposition parties were legalized and a new constitution approved in 1991. Two multiparty presidential elections since then were widely seen as flawed, but October 2001 legislative and municipal elections were generally free and open. A bloodless coup in August 2005 deposed President TAYA and ushered in a military council headed by Col. Ely Ould Mohamed VALL, which declared it would remain in power for up to two years while it created conditions for genuine democratic institutions and organized elections. For now, however, Mauritania remains an autocratic state, and the country continues to experience ethnic tensions among its black population and different Moor (Arab-Berber) communities.
   Geography    Mauritania Top of Page
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
20 00 N, 12 00 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Africa
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 1,030,700 sq km
land: 1,030,400 sq km
water: 300 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 5,074 km
border countries: Algeria 463 km, Mali 2,237 km, Senegal 813 km, Western Sahara 1,561 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
754 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Sebkhet Te-n-Dghamcha -5 m
highest point: Kediet Ijill 915 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 0.2%
permanent crops: 0.01%
other: 99.79% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
490 sq km (2002)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind blows primarily in March and April; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
overgrazing, deforestation, and soil erosion aggravated by drought are contributing to desertification; very limited natural fresh water resources away from the Senegal, which is the only perennial river; locust infestation
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
most of the population concentrated in the cities of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou and along the Senegal River in the southern part of the country
   People    Mauritania Top of Page
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,177,388 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 45.6% (male 726,376/female 723,013)
15-64 years: 52.2% (male 818,408/female 839,832)
65 years and over: 2.2% (male 28,042/female 41,717) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 17 years
male: 16.8 years
female: 17.3 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.88% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
40.99 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12.16 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 69.48 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 72.44 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 66.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 53.12 years
male: 50.88 years
female: 55.42 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.86 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.6% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9,500 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 500 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
Definition Field Listing
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and Rift Valley fever are high risks in some locations
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis (2005)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Mauritanian(s)
adjective: Mauritanian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
mixed Maur/black 40%, Moor 30%, black 30%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Muslim 100%
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Arabic (official), Pulaar, Soninke, French, Hassaniya, Wolof
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 41.7%
male: 51.8%
female: 31.9% (2003 est.)
   Government    Mauritania Top of Page
Country name:
Definition 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
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
republic
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Nouakchott
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
12 regions (regions, singular - region) and 1 capital district*; Adrar, Assaba, Brakna, Dakhlet Nouadhibou, Gorgol, Guidimaka, Hodh Ech Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi, Inchiri, Nouakchott*, Tagant, Tiris Zemmour, Trarza
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
28 November 1960 (from France)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 28 November (1960)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
12 July 1991
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
a combination of Shari'a (Islamic law) and French civil law
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: Col. Ely Ould Mohamed VALL, whose Military Council for Justice and Democracy deposed longtime President Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA in a coup on 3 August 2005
head of government: Prime Minister Sidi Mohamed Ould BOUBAKAR (since 8 August 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second consecutive term); note - passage of a constitutional reform referendum in July 2006 limits president to two five-year terms; election last held 7 November 2003 (next to be held in March 2007); prime minister appointed by the president;
election results: President Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA reelected for a third term with 60.8% of the vote
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral legislature consists of the Senate or Majlis al-Shuyukh (56 seats; a portion of seats up for election every two years; members elected by municipal leaders to serve six-year terms) and the National Assembly or Majlis al-Watani (81 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 9 and 16 April 2004 (next to be held NA); National Assembly - last held 19 and 26 October 2001 (next to be held November 2006)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - PRDS 79%, RDU 3.5%, UDP 3.5%, AC 5%, UFP 3.5%, FP 1.5%; seats by party - PRDS 64, UDP 3, RDU 3, AC 4, RFD 3, UFP 3, and FP 1
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Court of Appeals; lower courts
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Action for Change or AC (no longer active) [Messoud Ould BOULKHEIR]; Alliance for Justice and Democracy or AJD [Cisse Amadou CHEIKHOU]; National Union for Democracy and Development or UNDD [Tidjane KOITA]; Party for Liberty, Equality, and Justice or PLEJ [Ba Mamdou ALASSANE]; Party of Democratic Convergence or PCD [Cheikh Ould HORMA]; Popular Front or FP [Ch'bih Ould CHEIKH MALAININE]; Popular Progressive Alliance or APP [Messoud Ould BOULKHEIR]; Progress Force Union or UFP (no longer active) [Mohamed Ould MAOULOUD]; Rally of Democratic Forces or RFD [Ahmed Ould DADDAH]; Rally for Democracy and Unity or RDU [Ahmed Ould SIDI BABA]; Republican Party for Democracy and Renewal or PRDR (formerly ruling Democratic and Social Republican Party or PRDS) [Boullah Ould MOGUEYA]; Right Way or SAWAB [Cheikh Ould Sidi Ould HANANA]; Union for Democracy and Progress or UDP [Naha Mint MOUKNASS]; Union of Forces of Progress or UFP [Mohamed Ould MAOULOUD]
note: the Party of Democratic Convergence was banned in October 2005 because it was regarded as Islamist and therefore in breach of Mauritanian law
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Arab nationalists; Ba'thists; General Confederation of Mauritanian Workers or CGTM [Abdallahi Ould MOHAMED, secretary general]; Independent Confederation of Mauritanian Workers or CLTM [Samory Ould BEYE]; Islamists; Mauritanian Workers Union or UTM [Mohamed Ely Ould BRAHIM, secretary general]
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ABEDA, ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, AU, CAEU, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Ahmed Ben Khalifa BEN JIDOU
chancery: 2129 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-5700, 5701
FAX: [1] (202) 319-2623
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph E. LEBARON
embassy: 288 Rue Abdallaye (between Presidency building and Spanish Embassy), Nouakchott
mailing address: BP 222, Nouakchott
telephone: [222] 525-2660/525-2663
FAX: [222] 525-1592
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
green with a yellow five-pointed star above a yellow, horizontal crescent; the closed side of the crescent is down; the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam
   Economy    Mauritania Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Half the population still depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though many of the nomads and subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s and 1980s. Mauritania has extensive deposits of iron ore, which account for nearly 40% of total exports. The decline in world demand for this ore, however, has led to cutbacks in production. The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world, but overexploitation by foreigners threatens this key source of revenue. The country's first deepwater port opened near Nouakchott in 1986. In the past, drought and economic mismanagement resulted in a buildup of foreign debt which now stands at more than three times the level of annual exports. In February 2000, Mauritania qualified for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and in December 2001 received strong support from donor and lending countries at a triennial Consultative Group review. A new investment code approved in December 2001 improved the opportunities for direct foreign investment. Ongoing negotiations with the IMF involve problems of economic reforms and fiscal discipline. In 2001, exploratory oil wells in tracts 80 km offshore indicated potential extraction at current world oil prices. Mauritania has an estimated 1 billion barrels of proved reserves. Substantial oil production and exports are scheduled to begin in early 2006 and may average 75,000 barrels per day for that year. Meantime the government emphasizes reduction of poverty, improvement of health and education, and promoting privatization of the economy.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$6.891 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$1.346 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.5% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$2,200 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 25%
industry: 29%
services: 46% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
786,000 (2001)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 50%
industry: 10%
services: 40% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
40% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 30.2% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
39 (2000)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7% (2003 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $421 million
expenditures: $378 million; including capital expenditures of $154 million (2002 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn; cattle, sheep
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
fish processing, mining of iron ore and gypsum
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
185.6 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
172.6 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
24,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1 billion bbl (2005)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2005)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$784 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
iron ore, fish and fish products, gold
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Italy 14.1%, Japan 12.4%, France 11.9%, Germany 9%, Belgium 8.5%, Cote d'Ivoire 7.3%, Spain 6.6%, Russia 4.7%, Netherlands 4.1% (2005)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.124 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
France 18.4%, UK 7.6%, US 7%, China 6%, Spain 5%, Germany 4.2% (2005)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$2.5 billion (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$305.7 million (2002)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
ouguiya (MRO)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
ouguiyas per US dollar - NA (2005), NA (2004), 263.03 (2003), 271.74 (2002), 255.63 (2001)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Mauritania Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
39,000 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
522,400 (2004)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: limited system of cable and open-wire lines, minor microwave radio relay links, and radiotelephone communications stations (improvements being made)
domestic: mostly cable and open-wire lines; a recently completed domestic satellite telecommunications system links Nouakchott with regional capitals
international: country code - 222; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 2 Arabsat
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 1, FM 14, shortwave 1 (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
1 (2002)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.mr
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
21 (2005)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
14,000 (2005)
   Transportation    Mauritania Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
24 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5 (2005)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 16
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 1 (2005)
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
717 km
standard gauge: 717 km 1.435-m gauge (2004)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 7,660 km
paved: 866 km
unpaved: 6,794 km (1999)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Nouadhibou, Nouakchott
   Military    Mauritania Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Mauritanian Armed Forces: Army, Navy (Marine Mauritanienne; includes Naval Infantry), Air Force (Force Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie, FAIM) (2005)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (est.); conscript service obligation - two years; majority of servicemen believed to be volunteers; service in Air Force and Navy is voluntary (April 2005)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 606,463
females age 18-49: 607,955 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 370,513
females age 18-49: 384,269 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$19.32 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.4% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Mauritania Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Mauritanian claims to Western Sahara have been dormant in recent years

This page was last updated on 20 July, 2006


Source: CIA Factbook