Mauritania is an independent republic which lies mainly in the Sahara Desert belt on the on the bulge of Africa and forms part of the West African Region. The capital city and major port is Nouakchott. Other major towns are Kaedi and Zouerate and the port of Nouadhibou.
The official languages are French and Arabic. The local currency is the Ouguiya (UM). (US$ / UM – current exchange rate).
The international time zone for Mauritania is GMT and the international dialling code is +222. Air Afrique, Royal Air Maroc and Iberia fly to Mauritania’s two international airports at Nouakchott and Nouadhibou. All visitors except nationals of France and Italy require visas in order to visit Mauritania.
The state of health, the current immunisation status, location and the local disease situation leads to the risk of contraction of cholera, hepatitis A, malaria, schistosomiasis, and typhoid fever in Mauritania. An individual risk assessment is recommended. Vaccinations may be required and insurance should be organised prior to arrival in the country.
Mauritania has implemented an impressive array of structural reforms, the most important of which are: the unification of the VAT rates and elimination of exemptions (except where they protect the poor); strengthening public expenditure management; stream-lining the procurement code and revising the investment code to enhance its transparency; and completing an ambitious privatisation programme.
The country has limited agricultural resources but contains extensive mineral deposits, most notably iron ore. Its coastal waters are among the worlds richest fishing grounds, and oil reserves were discovered offshore in 2001. Commercial drilling is expected to begin in 2005. The economy depends heavily on the exports of iron ore and fish. A large percentage of the land is desert and most regions are only suitable for livestock raising due to unreliable rainfall. Food crop requirements are supplemented by imports.
In ten years Mauritania has been transformed from a country with a predominantly nomadic population (2.8 million in 2002), limited economic base and poor social indicators to one that is highly urbanized, market-driven. Growth seems to have come essentially from construction and services, particularly trade, transport and telecommunications. The rural sector is the main source of income for the population and employs an estimated 64% of the labour force.
Structural measures in the form of price liberalisation, the privatisation, liquidation or restructuring of several public enterprises, and agricultural sector reforms have been undertaken in an attempt to reduce debts.
GDP in 2002 amounted to US$0.98 billion, with social and poverty-related spending reaching 10.6% of GDP. Agriculture accounted for 21.4% of GDP, industry 31.0% and services 47.6%. Average inflation for 2002 was 4%.
Mauritania’s is rated 154th on the Human Development Index in 2003. A severe drought and weak demand for Mauritania’s main exports led to a lower growth rate of 3.3%, down from 4% in 2001.
Economic Community of West African States, International Finance Corporation, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, World Trade Organisation, Arab Maghreb Union
Block 1 – Mauritania, Block PSC – A – Mauritania, Block PSC B – Mauritania, Guelb El Rhein, Guelb Moghrein, Kedia d’Idjil, M’Haoudat, SNIM iron ore mine – Mauritania, Somir Refinery
|Accommodation (21):||El Ahmedi, El Amane, El Amane Hotel, El Aziza, Faboly, Halima, Halima Hotel, Houda, L’auberge de Ouadane, L’Hôtel Tenadi, La Dune, Le Complexe Touristique Tenadi, Marhaba, Mercure Marhaba, Mercure Nouakchott Marhaba 3m|
|Attractions (9):||Atar, Baie du Levrier Integral Reserve, Banc d’Arguin National Park, Chinguetti, Diawling National Park, Mousquee Saudique, National Museum, Nouadhibou Beaches, Oadane|