14 Mar 2015


Economy of Mauritania

The Mauritania economy is agricultural economy. 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. The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world, but overexploitation by foreigners threatens this key source of revenue.

Mauritania has extensive deposits of iron ore. Mauritania’s mining industry represented 27 percent of the gross domestic product (2010). This portion was estimated to reach 28 percent of GDP in 2011 and expected to fall back to 25 percent in 2012. Mining industry accounts for 75% of Mauritania’s total export, but less than 3 percent of employment (2010).

Almost one out of two Mauritanians lives below the poverty line, and a large segment of the population remains subject to food insecurity.

GDP in the last ten years has increased remarkably in absolute values, however, real GDP growth is characterised by high volatility, with a stable trend line for nominal GDP.

The structure of the Mauritanian economy, which is characterised by the predominance of the secondary and tertiary sectors (34.7% and 44.8% of GDP respectively), remained largely unchanged between 2009 and 2010. The secondary sector remained dominated by the extractive industries (24.8% of GDP in 2009) the largest part of which was attributable to metals mining (20% of GDP). Production of oil products declined, which resulted in a contribution of only 4.8% to GDP. Manufacturing and construction are limited and account for just 4.1% and 5.7% of GDP. Trade (11.2% of GDP), goods and services (12.7%) and public administration (16.1%) make up the principal activities of the tertiary sector, while livestock (10.7%) and fishing (5.3%) account for the majority of the primary. This GDP structure should remain stable for the coming years. The secondary sector should also benefit with the start of activities of certain mining investments.

Essential Information     

Area: 1,030,700 sq km
Population: 3,437,610 (2012 est.)
Capital: Nouakchott
Principal Towns:Nouadhibou, Kaedi, Zouerate, Rosso, Atar, Kiffa
Languages: Arabic is the official language, while French is usual in business circles.
GDP: $4.1 billion (2012 est.)
GDP per capita: $1,193 (2012 est.)
Climate: Hot and dry, except in the south which has a rainy season from July to October. Mild temperatures in the coastal area, but around Nouakchott it is considerably hotter. Desert winds blow sand during March and April.

Currency: $1 = 296.5 MRO Mauritanian Ouguiya (MRO)  
Age Distribution (2012 est.)
0-14 years: 39.8%
15-24 years: 20%
25-54 years: 32.2%
55-64 years: 4.5%
65 years and over: 3.5%
Population Growth: 2.323% (2012 est.)
Literacy: 58%t of total population age 15 and over can read and write (2010).
Fossil Fuel
Iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold.
Very limited natural fresh water resources except from the Senegal, which is the only perennial river.

Visa Requirements:

Visas are required for all visitors which may be obtained from Mauritanian diplomatic and consular missions. Smallpox and yellow fever immunization is necessary.


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Diplomatic representation of Mauritania to Switzerland

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