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Mauritania (2003)

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Mauritania 2003 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% (male 671,080; female 668,408)

15-64 years: 51.8% (male 743,573; female 764,358)

65 years and over: 2.2% (male 26,669; female 38,496) (2003 est.)
Agriculture - products dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn, dates; cattle, sheep
Airports 26 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways total: 10

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 7 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 16

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 6

under 914 m: 3 (2002)
Area total: 1,030,700 sq km

land: 1,030,400 sq km

water: 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 flawed, but October 2001 legislative and municipal elections were generally free and open. 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 42.16 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Budget revenues: $421 million

expenditures: $378 million, including capital expenditures of $154 million (2002 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: Mauritania

local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah

local short form: Muritaniyah
Currency ouguiya (MRO)
Death rate 13.04 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Debt - external $2.5 billion (2000)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph E. LEBARON

embassy: Rue Abdallaye (between Presidency building and Spanish Embassy), Nouakchott

mailing address: BP 222, Nouakchott

telephone: [222] 25-26-60, 25-26-63, 25-11-41, 25-11-45

FAX: [222] 25-25-92
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador Mohamedou Ould MICHEL

chancery: 2129 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 232-5700

FAX: [1] (202) 319-2623
Disputes - international Mauritanian claims to Western Sahara have been dormant in recent years
Economic aid - recipient $220 million (2000)
Economy - overview 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. 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. In 2001, exploratory oil wells in tracts 80 km offshore indicated potential extraction at current world oil prices. 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. Substantial oil production and exports probably will not begin until 2005.
Electricity - consumption 146.3 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - production 157.4 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source fossil fuel: 85.9%

hydro: 14.1%

nuclear: 0%

other: 0% (2001)
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 - ouguiyas per US dollar - 254.350 (December 2001), 238.923 (2000), 209.514 (1999), 188.476 (1998), 151.853 (1997), 137.222 (1996)
Executive branch chief of state: President Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA (since 12 December 1984)

head of government: Prime Minister Sghair Ould M'BARECK (since 6 July 2003)

cabinet: Council of Ministers

elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 7 November 2003 (next to be held NA 2009); 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
Exports 0 kWh (2001)
Exports $355 million f.o.b. (2002)
Exports NA (2001)
Exports - commodities iron ore, fish and fish products, gold
Exports - partners Italy 14.3%, France 14%, Spain 11.7%, Germany 10.9%, Belgium 9.9%, Japan 7.1% (2002)
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 - $4.891 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 25%

industry: 29%

services: 46% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $1,700 (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 3.3% (2002 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: 7,720 km

paved: 830 km

unpaved: 6,890 km (2000)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 2.5%

highest 10%: 30.2% (2000)
Imports 0 kWh (2001)
Imports $360 million f.o.b. (2000)
Imports NA (2001)
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partners France 18.5%, Belgium 7.8%, China 7%, Spain 5.9%, Germany 5.2% (2002)
Independence 28 November 1960 (from France)
Industrial production growth rate 2% (2000 est.)
Industries fish processing, mining of iron ore and gypsum
Infant mortality rate total: 73.8 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 76.62 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 70.89 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 3% (2002 est.)
International organization participation ABEDA, ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, AMU, CAEU, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 5 (2001)
Irrigated land 490 sq km (1998 est.)
Judicial branch Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Court of Appeals; lower courts
Labor force 786,000 (2001)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 50%, services 40%, industry 10% (2001 est.)
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: 0.48%

permanent crops: 0.01%

other: 99.51% (1998 est.)
Languages Hassaniya Arabic (official), Pulaar, 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, a part of the 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 12 April 2002 (next to be held NA April 2004); National Assembly - last held 19 and 26 October 2001 (next to be held NA 2006)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PRDS 54, RFD 1, UNDD 1; 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
Life expectancy at birth total population: 51.93 years

male: 49.78 years

female: 54.13 years (2003 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 41.7%

male: 51.8%

female: 31.9% (2003 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 (2002)
Military branches Army, Navy, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Guard, National Police, Presidential Guard
Military expenditures - dollar figure $37.11 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 3.7% (FY02)
Military manpower - availability males age 15-49: 665,112 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service males age 15-49: 322,288 (2003 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 28 November (1960)
Nationality noun: Mauritanian(s)

adjective: Mauritanian
Natural hazards hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind blows primarily in March and April; periodic droughts
Natural resources iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish
Net migration rate 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Political parties and leaders Action for Change or AC [Messoud Ould BOULKHEIR]; Alliance for Justice and Democracy or AJD [Kebe ABDOULAYE]; Democratic and Social Republican Party or PRDS (ruling party) [President 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 MAOULOUD]; Rally of Democratic Forces or RFD [Ahmed Ould DADDAH]; Rally for Democracy and Unity or RDU [Ahmed Ould SIDI BABA]; Union for Democracy and Progress or UDP [Naha Mint MOUKNASS]

note: the Action for Change party was banned in January 2002; 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 2,912,584 (July 2003 est.)
Population below poverty line 50% (2001 est.)
Population growth rate 2.91% (2003 est.)
Ports and harbors Bogue, Kaedi, Nouadhibou, Nouakchott, Rosso
Radio broadcast stations AM 1, FM 14, shortwave 1 (2001)
Railways 717 km

standard gauge: 717 km 1.435-m gauge (2002)
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: 0.69 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2003 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)

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

international: satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 2 Arabsat
Telephones - main lines in use 26,500 (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular 35,000 (2001)
Television broadcast stations 1 (2002)
Terrain mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills
Total fertility rate 6.08 children born/woman (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate 21% (1999 est.)
Waterways note: ferry traffic on the Senegal River
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