Mauritania Population: 3,437,610


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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. The country continues to experience ethnic tensions among its black population (Afro-Mauritanians) and white and black Moor (Arab-Berber) communities, and is having to confront a growing terrorism threat by al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

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: 5,074 km
border countries: Algeria 463 km, Mali 2,237 km, Senegal 813 km, Western Sahara 1,561 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: lowest point: Sebkhet Te-n-Dghamcha -5 m
highest point: Kediet Ijill 915 m
Natural resources: iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish
Land use: arable land: 0.44%
permanent crops: 0.01%
other: 99.55% (2011)
Irrigated land: 450.1 sq km (2004)
Natural hazards: hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind blows 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
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Nationality: noun: Mauritanian(s)
adjective: Mauritanian
Ethnic groups: mixed Moor/black 40%, Moor 30%, black 30%
Languages: Arabic (official and national), Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof (all national languages), French, Hassaniya
Religions: Muslim (official) 100%
Population: 3,437,610 (July 2013 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 39.8% (male 686,596/female 681,224)
15-24 years: 20% (male 335,998/female 351,367)
25-54 years: 32.2% (male 512,045/female 595,195)
55-64 years: 4.5% (male 68,960/female 84,303)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 51,736/female 70,186) (2013 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 76.3 %
youth dependency ratio: 70.7 %
elderly dependency ratio: 5.6 %
potential support ratio: 17.9 (2013)
Median age: total: 19.8 years
male: 18.8 years
female: 20.7 years (2013 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.29% (2013 est.)
Birth rate: 32.31 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Death rate: 8.5 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.87 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 41.5% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 2.91% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: NOUAKCHOTT (capital) 709,000 (2009)
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 (2013 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth: 21.9 (2001 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 510 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Infant mortality rate: total: 57.48 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 62.51 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 52.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 61.91 years
male: 59.65 years
female: 64.23 years (2013 est.)
Total fertility rate: 4.15 children born/woman (2013 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 9.3% (2007)
Health expenditures: 4.4% of GDP (2010)
Physicians density: 0.13 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
Hospital bed density: 0.4 beds/1,000 population (2006)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 52% of population
rural: 48% of population
total: 50% of population

urban: 48% of population
rural: 52% of population
total: 50% of population (2010 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 51% of population
rural: 9% of population
total: 26% of population

urban: 49% of population
rural: 91% of population
total: 74% of population (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.7% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 14,000 (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 12.7% (2008)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 15.9% (2008)
Education expenditures: 3.9% of GDP (2011)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 58.6%
male: 65.3%
female: 52% (2011 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 8 years
male: 8 years
female: 8 years (2011)
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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
Government type: military junta
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: 13 regions (wilayas, singular - wilaya); Adrar, Assaba, Brakna, Dakhlet Nouadhibou, Gorgol, Guidimaka, Hodh ech Chargui, Hodh el Gharbi, Inchiri, Nouakchott, Tagant, Tiris Zemmour, Trarza
Independence: 28 November 1960 (from France)
National holiday: Independence Day, 28 November (1960)
Constitution: 12 July 1991
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, who deposed democratically elected President Sidi Ould Cheikh ABDELLAHI in a coup and installed himself as President of the High State Council on 6 August 2008, retired from the military and stepped down from the presidency in April 2009 to run for president; he was elected president in an election held on 18 July 2009

head of government: Prime Minister Moulaye Ould Mohamed LAGHDAF (since 14 August 2008)

cabinet: Council of Ministers (For more information visit the World Leaders website )

elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held on 18 July 2009 (next to be held by 2014)

election results: percent of vote - Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ 52.6%, Messaoud Ould BOULKHEIR 16.3%, Ahmed Ould DADDAH 13.7%, other 17.4%
Legislative branch: bicameral legislature consists of the Senate or Majlis al-Shuyukh (56 seats; 53 members elected by municipal leaders and 3 members elected for Mauritanians abroad to serve six-year terms; a portion of seats up for election every two years) and the National Assembly or Al Jamiya Al Wataniya (95 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held in November 2009; National Assembly - last held on 19 November and 3 December 2006 (election scheduled for 16 October 2011 postponed, rescheduled for 31 March 2012 and then postponed indefinitely)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPM (Coalition of Majority Parties) 45, COD 7, RNRD-TAWASSOUL 4; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPM 63 (UPR 50, PRDR 7, UDP 3, HATEM-PMUC 2, RD 1), COD 27 (RFD 9, UFP 6, APP 6, PNDD-ADIL 6), RNRD-TAWASSOUL 4, FP 1
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: Alternative or El-Badil [Mohamed Yahdhi Ould MOCTAR HACEN] Coalition of Majority Parties or CPM (parties supporting the regime including PRDR, UPR, RD, HATEM-PMUC, UCD) Coordination of Democratic Opposition or COD (coalition of opposition political parties opposed to the government including APP, RFD, UFP, PNDD-ADIL, Alternative or El-Badil) Democratic Renewal or RD [Moustapha Ould ABDEIDARRAHMANE] Mauritanian Party for Unity and Change or HATEM-PMUC [Saleh Ould HANENA] National Pact for Democracy and Development or PNDD-ADIL [Yahya Ould Ahmed El WAGHEF] (independents formerly supporting President Abdellahi) National Rally for Freedom, Democracy and Equality or RNDLE National Rally for Reform and Development or RNRD-TAWASSOUL [Mohamed Jamil MANSOUR] (moderate Islamists) Popular Front or FP [Ch'bih Ould CHEIKH MALAININE] Popular Progressive Alliance or APP [Messaoud Ould BOULKHEIR] Rally of Democratic Forces or RFD [Ahmed Ould DADDAH] Republican Party for Democracy and Renewal or PRDR [Mintata Mint HDEID] Socialist and Democratic Unity Party or PUDS Union for Democracy and Progress or UDP [Naha Mint MOUKNASS] Union for the Republic or UPR Union of Democratic Center or UCD [Cheikh Sid'Ahmed Ould BABA] Union of the Forces for Progress or UFP [Mohamed Ould MAOULOUD]
Political pressure groups and leaders: General Confederation of Mauritanian Workers or CGTM [Abdallahi Ould MOHAMED, secretary general] Independent Confederation of Mauritanian Workers or CLTM [Samory Ould BEYE] Mauritanian Workers Union or UTM [Mohamed Ely Ould BRAHIM, secretary general] other: Arab nationalists; Ba'thists; Islamists
International organization participation: ABEDA, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, AU, CAEU (candidate), EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National symbol(s): star and crescent
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 Mohamed Lemine El HAYCEN
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 Jo Ellen POWELL
embassy: 288 Rue Abdallaye, Rue 42-100 (between Presidency building and Spanish Embassy), Nouakchott
mailing address: BP 222, Nouakchott
telephone: [222] 4525-2660 through 2663
FAX: [222] 4525-1592
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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 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $7.824 billion (2012 est.) $7.356 billion (2011 est.) $7.082 billion (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $4.199 billion (2012 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 6.4% (2012 est.) 3.9% (2011 est.) 5.1% (2010 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $2,200 (2012 est.) $2,100 (2011 est.) $2,000 (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars
Gross national saving: 17.1% of GDP (2012 est.) 17.5% of GDP (2011 est.) 15.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 87.7%
government consumption: 16.9%
investment in fixed capital: 30.5%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 68.6%
imports of goods and services: -103.9% (2012 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 87.7%
government consumption: 16.9%
investment in fixed capital: 30.5%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 68.6%
imports of goods and services: -103.9% (2012 est.)
Agriculture - products: dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn; cattle, sheep
Industries: fish processing, oil production, mining (iron ore, gold, and copper) note: gypsum deposits have never been exploited
Industrial production growth rate: 9% (2012 est.)
Labor force: 1.318 million (2007)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 50%
industry: 10%
services: 40% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate: 30% (2008 est.) 20% (2004 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: $1.263 billion (2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 27.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.5% (2012 est.) 5.7% (2011 est.)
Current account balance: -$659.8 million (2012 est.) -$549.4 million (2011 est.)
Exports: $2.66 billion (2012 est.) $2.799 billion (2011 est.)
Exports - commodities: iron ore, fish and fish products, gold, copper, petroleum
Exports - partners: China 48.6%, Italy 7.5%, Japan 7%, Cote dIvoire 6.7%, France 4.7%, Spain 4.1% (2012)
Imports: $2.916 billion (2012 est.) $2.656 billion (2011 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partners: China 12.9%, Netherlands 10.5%, US 7.8%, France 7.7%, Brazil 5.6%, Germany 5.5%, Spain 5.1%, Belgium 4.7% (2012)
Debt - external: $2.897 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $2.709 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: ouguiyas (MRO) per US dollar - 296.6 (2012 est.) 281.12 (2011 est.) 275.89 (2010 est.) 262.4 (2009) 238.2 (2008)
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Electricity - production: 474 million kWh (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 161
Electricity - consumption: 440.8 million kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 253,000 kW (2009 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 61.7% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 38.3% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Crude oil - production: 7,738 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 10,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 20 million bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 18,120 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 12,870 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 2.89 million Mt (2010 est.)
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Telephones in use: 72,300 (2011)
country comparison to the world: 157
Cellular Phones in use: 3.315 million (2011)
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: Mauritel, the national telecommunications company, was privatized in 2001 but remains the monopoly provider of fixed-line services; fixed-line teledensity 2 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 with regional capitals

international: country code - 222; satellite earth stations - 3 (1 Intelsat - Atlantic Ocean, 2 Arabsat); fiber-optic and Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) cables for Internet access (2009)
Broadcast media: broadcast media state-owned; 1 state-run TV and 1 state-run radio network; Television de Mauritanie, the state-run TV station, has an additional 6 regional TV stations that provide local programming (2008)
Internet country code: .mr
Internet hosts: 22 (2012)
Internet users: 75,000 (2009)
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Airports: 30 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 116
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: 728 km standard gauge: 728 km 1.435-m gauge (2008)
Roadways: total 11,066 km
paved: 2,966 km
unpaved: 8,100 km (2006)
Waterways: (some navigation is possible on the Senegal River) (2011)
Ports and terminals: Nouadhibou, Nouakchott
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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)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 718,713
females age 16-49: 804,622 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 480,042
females age 16-49: 581,473 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 36,116
female: 36,826 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures: 5.5% of GDP (2006)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: Mauritanian claims to Western Sahara remain dormant
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 26,000 (Western Saharan - Sahrawis) (2012); 69,676 (Mali) (2013)
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