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Mauritania (2001)

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Mauritania 2001 year

Administrative divisions 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
Age structure 0-14 years:
46.14% (male 634,940; female 632,654)

15-64 years:
51.59% (male 698,433; female 718,883)

65 years and over:
2.27% (male 25,840; female 36,562) (2001 est.)
Agriculture - products dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn, dates; cattle, sheep
Airports 26 (2000 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total:

2,438 to 3,047 m:

1,524 to 2,437 m:
5 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total:

2,438 to 3,047 m:

1,524 to 2,437 m:

914 to 1,523 m:

under 914 m:
3 (2000 est.)
Area total:
1,030,700 sq km

1,030,400 sq km

300 sq km
Area - comparative slightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico
Background 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. Opposition parties were legalized and a new constitution approved in 1991. Two multiparty presidential elections since then were widely seen as being flawed; Mauritania remains, in reality, a one-party state. The country continues to experience ethnic tensions between its black minority population and the dominant Maur (Arab-Berber) populace.
Birth rate 42.95 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Budget revenues:
$329 million

$265 million, including capital expenditures of $75 million (1996 est.)
Capital Nouakchott
Climate desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty
Coastline 754 km
Constitution 12 July 1991
Country name conventional long form:
Islamic Republic of Mauritania

conventional short form:

local long form:
Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah

local short form:
Currency ouguiya (MRO)
Death rate 13.65 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Debt - external $2.1 billion (1999)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission:
Ambassador John W. LIMBERT

Rue Abdallaye, Nouakchott

mailing address:
B. P. 222, Nouakchott

[222] 25-26-60, 25-26-63

[222] 25-15-92
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission:
Ambassador Ahmed Ben Khalifa BEN JIDOU

2129 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008

[1] (202) 232-5700

[1] (202) 319-2623
Disputes - international none
Economic aid - recipient $300 million (1998)
Economy - overview A majority of the population still depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though most of the nomads and many 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 half 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 have resulted in a buildup of foreign debt. In March 1999, the government signed an agreement with a joint World Bank-IMF mission on a $54 million enhanced structural adjustment facility (ESAF). Mauritania withdrew its membership in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2000. Privatization and debt relief are in full swing, and the rate of economic growth appears to be accelerating, especially in the construction, telecommunication, and information sectors. Diamonds and petroleum are beginning to be explored and exploited.
Electricity - consumption 140.4 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - production 151 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source fossil fuel:



0% (1999)
Elevation extremes lowest point:
Sebkha de Ndrhamcha -3 m

highest point:
Kediet Ijill 910 m
Environment - current issues 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
Environment - international agreements party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Ethnic groups mixed Maur/black 40%, Maur 30%, black 30%
Exchange rates ouguiyas per US dollar - 250.870 (December 2000), 238.923 (2000), 209.514 (1999), 188.476 (1998), 151.853 (1997), 137.222 (1996)
Executive branch chief of state:
President Col. Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA (since 12 December 1984)

head of government:
Prime Minister Cheik El Avia Ould Mohamed KHOUNA (since 17 November 1998)

Council of Ministers

president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 12 December 1997 (next to be held NA December 2003); prime minister appointed by the president

election results:
President Col. Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA reelected with 90.9% of the vote
Exports 0 kWh (1999)
Exports $333 million (f.o.b., 1999)
Exports - commodities iron ore, fish and fish products, gold
Exports - partners Japan 18%, France 17%, Italy 16%, Spain 11% (1998)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag description 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
GDP purchasing power parity - $5.4 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture:


44% (1997)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $2,000 (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 5% (2000 est.)
Geographic coordinates 20 00 N, 12 00 W
Geography - note most of the population concentrated in the cities of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou and along the Senegal River in the southern part of the country
Highways total:
7,660 km

866 km

6,794 km (1996)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%:

highest 10%:
29.9% (1995)
Imports 0 kWh (1999)
Imports $305 million (f.o.b., 1999)
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partners France 27%, Benelux 9%, Germany 7%, Spain 7% (1998)
Independence 28 November 1960 (from France)
Industrial production growth rate 2.2% (1999)
Industries fish processing, mining of iron ore and gypsum
Infant mortality rate 76.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 4.5% (2000 est.)
International organization participation ABEDA, ACCT (associate), ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, AMU, CAEU, CCC, ECA, ECOWAS, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 5 (2000)
Irrigated land 490 sq km (1993 est.)
Judicial branch Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Court of Appeals; lower courts
Labor force 750,000 (1999)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 47%, services 39%, industry 14%
Land boundaries total:
5,074 km

border countries:
Algeria 463 km, Mali 2,237 km, Senegal 813 km, Western Sahara 1,561 km
Land use arable land:

permanent crops:

permanent pastures:

forests and woodland:

58% (1993 est.)
Languages Hasaniya Arabic (official), Pular, Soninke, Wolof (official), French
Legal system a combination of Shari'a (Islamic law) and French civil law
Legislative branch bicameral legislature consists of the Senate or Majlis al-Shuyukh (56 seats; 17 up for election every two years; members elected by municipal leaders to serve six-year terms) and the National Assembly or Majlis al-Watani (79 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

Senate - last held 17 April 1998 (next to be held NA 2001); National Assembly - last held 11 and 18 October 1996 (next to be held NA 2001)

election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PRDS 71, AC 1, independents and other 7
Life expectancy at birth total population:
51.14 years

49.06 years

53.29 years (2001 est.)
Literacy definition:
age 15 and over can read and write

total population:


40% (1998 est.)
Location Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara
Map references Africa
Maritime claims contiguous zone:
24 NM

continental shelf:
200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin

exclusive economic zone:
200 NM

territorial sea:
12 NM
Merchant marine none (2000 est.)
Military branches Army, Navy, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Guard, National Police, Presidential Guard
Military expenditures - dollar figure $41 million (FY97/98)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 2.7% (FY97/98)
Military manpower - availability males age 15-49:
624,375 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service males age 15-49:
302,699 (2001 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 28 November (1960)
Nationality noun:

Natural hazards hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind blows primarily in March and April; periodic droughts
Natural resources iron ore, gypsum, fish, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold
Net migration rate 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Political parties and leaders Action for Change or AC [Messoud Ould BOULKHEIR]; Assembly for Democracy and Unity or RDU [Ahmed Ould SIDI BABA]; Democratic and Social Republican Party or PRDS (ruling party) [President Col. Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA]; Mauritanian Party for Renewal and Concorde or PMRC [Molaye El Hassen Ould JIYID]; National Union for Democracy and Development or UNDD [Tidjane KOITA]; Party for Liberty, Equality and Justice or PLEJ [Daouda M'BAGNIGA]; Popular Front or FP [Ch'bih Ould CHEIKH MALAININE]; Popular Progress Alliance or APP [Mohamed El Hafed Ould ISMAEL]; Popular Social and Democratic Union or UPSD [Mohamed Mahmoud Ould MAH]; Progress Force Union or UFP [Mohamed Ould MOLOUD]; Union for Progress and Democracy or UNDD [Naha Mint MOUKNASS]

parties legalized by constitution ratified 12 July 1991; however, politics continue to be tribally based
Political pressure groups and leaders Arab nationalists; Ba'athists; 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]
Population 2,747,312 (July 2001 est.)
Population below poverty line 50% (1996 est.)
Population growth rate 2.93% (2001 est.)
Ports and harbors Bogue, Kaedi, Nouadhibou, Nouakchott, Rosso
Radio broadcast stations AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios 360,000 (1997)
Railways total:
750 km (single track); note - owned and operated by government mining company

standard gauge:
750 km 1.435-m gauge (1995)
Religions Muslim 100%
Sex ratio at birth:
1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years:
1 male(s)/female

15-64 years:
0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over:
0.71 male(s)/female

total population:
0.98 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment:
limited system of cable and open-wire lines, minor microwave radio relay links, and radiotelephone communications stations (improvements being made)

mostly cable and open-wire lines; a recently completed domestic satellite telecommunications system links Nouakchott with regional capitals

satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 2 Arabsat
Telephones - main lines in use 26,000 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular NA
Television broadcast stations 1 (1997)
Terrain mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills
Total fertility rate 6.22 children born/woman (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate 23% (1995 est.)
Waterways note:
ferry traffic on the Senegal River
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