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Mauritania

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Environment
Mauritania is extremely susceptible to natural disasters, particularly flooding which occurs during the rainy season. Other effects of climate change within the country are rising temperatures and an increase in the extremity of climate events. Since nearly half of the population relies on agriculture to support themselves, the effects of climate change on the economy will be devastating if the government fails to adequately support mitigation methods.1 Twenty years of drought have also contributed to the desertification of much of Mauritania’s land, severely limiting the agricultural productivity of the country.2

Show References
1 http://www.gcca.eu/national-programmes/africa/gcca-mauritania
2 http://www.who.int/features/2013/mauritania_environmental_health/en/
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Mauritania News

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Geography

Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara
Area

Total 1,030,700 sq km
Land 1,030,700 sq km
Water 0 sq km

Climate

desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty
Natural Resources

iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish ;
Natural Hazards

hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind blows primarily in March and April; periodic droughts
Current Environmental 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

Demographics

Nationality
Mauritanian
Population
3,437,610 (July 2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups
Languages
Religions

Finances

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 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. Before 2000, drought and economic mismanagement resulted in a buildup of foreign debt. In February 2000, Mauritania qualified ...See More for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and nearly all of its foreign debt has since been forgiven. A new investment code approved in December 2001 improved the opportunities for direct foreign investment. Mauritania and the IMF agreed to a three-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangement in 2006. Mauritania made satisfactory progress, but the IMF, World Bank, and other international actors suspended assistance and investment in Mauritania after the August 2008 coup. Since the presidential election in July 2009, donors have resumed assistance. Oil prospects, while initially promising, have largely failed to materialize, and the government has placed a priority on attracting private investment to spur economic growth. The government also emphasizes reduction of poverty, improvement of health and education, and privatization of the economy. Economic growth remained around 5% in 2010-12, mostly because of rising prices of gold, copper, iron ore, and oil. Show Less ;
GDP Purchasing Power Parity

$7.824 billion (2012 est.); $7.356 billion (2011 est.); $7.082 billion (2010 est.)
Gross National Saving

17.1% of GDP (2012 est.); 17.5% of GDP (2011 est.); 15.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
Agriculture Products

dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn; cattle, sheep
Industries

fish processing, oil production, mining (iron ore, gold, and copper)