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Mauritania (2006)

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Mauritania 2006 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: 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.)
Agriculture - products dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn; cattle, sheep
Airports 25 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways total: 8

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 5 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 17

1,524 to 2,437 m: 9

914 to 1,523 m: 7

under 914 m: 1 (2006)
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. 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.
Birth rate 40.99 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Budget revenues: $421 million

expenditures: $378 million; including capital expenditures of $154 million (2002 est.)
Capital name: Nouakchott

geographic coordinates: 18 06 N, 15 57 W

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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
Death rate 12.16 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Debt - external $2.5 billion (2000)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Steven KOUTSIS

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
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador Tijani Ould Mohamed EL KERIM

chancery: 2129 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 232-5700, 5701

FAX: [1] (202) 319-2623
Disputes - international Mauritanian claims to Western Sahara have been dormant in recent years
Economic aid - recipient $305.7 million (2002)
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 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.
Electricity - consumption 172.6 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - production 185.6 million kWh (2003)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Sebkhet Te-n-Dghamcha -5 m

highest point: Kediet Ijill 915 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; locust infestation
Environment - international agreements 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
Ethnic groups mixed Maur/black 40%, Moor 30%, black 30%
Exchange rates ouguiyas per US dollar - NA (2005), NA (2004), 263.03 (2003), 271.74 (2002), 255.63 (2001)
Executive branch 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 11 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
Exports 0 kWh (2003)
Exports $784 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports NA bbl/day
Exports - commodities iron ore, fish and fish products, gold
Exports - partners Italy 14.9%, Japan 12.3%, France 11.8%, Belgium 8.5%, Germany 8.3%, Cote d'Ivoire 7.2%, Spain 6.5%, Russia 5%, Netherlands 4.4% (2005)
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 - composition by sector agriculture: 25%

industry: 29%

services: 46% (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 5.5% (2005 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
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 2.5%

highest 10%: 30.2% (2000)
Imports 0 kWh (2003)
Imports $1.124 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports NA bbl/day
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partners France 18.5%, UK 7.2%, US 7%, China 6%, Spain 5%, Belgium 4.3% (2005)
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: 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.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 7% (2003 est.)
Irrigated land 490 sq km (2002)
Judicial branch Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Court of Appeals; lower courts
Labor force 786,000 (2001)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture: 50%

industry: 10%

services: 40% (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: 0.2%

permanent crops: 0.01%

other: 99.79% (2005)
Languages Arabic (official), Pulaar, Soninke, French, Hassaniya, Wolof
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 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 (95 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held 9 and 16 April 2004 (next to be held 21 January 2007); National Assembly - last held 19 November and 3 December 2006

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA
Life expectancy at birth total population: 53.12 years

male: 50.88 years

female: 55.42 years (2006 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 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
Military branches Mauritanian Armed Forces: Army, Navy (Marine Mauritanienne; includes naval infantry), Air Force (Force Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie, FAIM) (2005)
Military expenditures - dollar figure $19.32 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 1.4% (2005 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 (2006 est.)
Political parties and leaders 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 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]
Population 3,177,388 (July 2006 est.)
Population below poverty line 40% (2004 est.)
Population growth rate 2.88% (2006 est.)
Radio broadcast stations AM 1, FM 14, shortwave 1 (2001)
Railways 717 km

standard gauge: 717 km 1.435-m gauge (2005)
Religions Muslim 100%
Sex ratio 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.)
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: country code - 222; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 2 Arabsat
Telephones - main lines in use 41,000 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular 745,600 (2005)
Television broadcast stations 1 (2002)
Terrain mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills
Total fertility rate 5.86 children born/woman (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate 20% (2004 est.)
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