Mauritania (GPS: 20 00 N, 12 00 W) located in Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara. The country’s area measurements are total: 1,030,700 sq km; land: 1,030,700 sq km, water: 0 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico. The total irrigated land is 450 sq km (2012).
Mauritania’s essential features: Mauritania is considered both a part of North Africa’s Maghreb region and West Africa’s Sahel region. Most of the population is concentrated in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou and along the Senegal River in the southern part of the country.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Nouakchott’s GPS coordinates are 18 04 N 15 58 W. Nouakchott’s local time is 5 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC 0.
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 and ruled Mauritania with a heavy hand for more than two decades. A series of presidential elections that he held were widely seen as flawed. A bloodless coup in August 2005 deposed President TAYA and ushered in a military council that oversaw a transition to democratic rule. Independent candidate Sidi Ould Cheikh ABDALLAHI was inaugurated in April 2007 as Mauritania’s first freely and fairly elected president. His term ended prematurely in August 2008 when a military junta led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ deposed him and installed a military council government.
AZIZ was subsequently elected president in July 2009 and sworn in the following month. AZIZ sustained injuries from an accidental shooting by his troops in October 2012 but has maintained his authority. He was reelected in 2014 to a second and final term as president (according to the present constitution). AZIZ will be replaced through elections scheduled for June 2019. The country continues to experience ethnic tensions among three major groups: Arabic-speaking descendants of slaves (Haratines), Arabic-speaking “White Moors” (Beydane), and members of Sub-Saharan ethnic groups mostly originating in the Senegal River valley (Halpulaar, Soninke, and Wolof).
In the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al-Qaeda launched a series of attacks in Mauritania between 2005 and 2011, murdering American and foreign tourists and aid workers, attacking diplomatic and government facilities, and ambushing Mauritanian soldiers and gendarmes. A successful strategy against terrorism that combines dialogue with the terrorists and military actions has prevented the country from further terrorist attacks since 2011. However, AQIM and similar groups remain active in neighboring Mali and elsewhere in the Sahel region and continue to threaten Mauritanians and foreign visitors.
Mauritania’s names conventional long form: the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, conventional short form: Mauritania, local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah, local short form: Muritaniyah, etymology: named for the ancient Kingdom of Mauretania (3rd century B.C. to 1st century A.D.), which existed further north in present-day Morocco; the name derives from the Mauri (Moors), the Berber-speaking peoples of northwest Africa. Named for Mauretania’s ancient kingdom (3rd century B.C. to 1st century A.D.), which existed further north in present-day Morocco; The Name derives from the Mauri (Moors), the Berber-speaking peoples of northwest Africa.
Mauritania’s terrain is typically mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills. The country’s mean elevation: 276 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: Sebkhet Te-n-Dghamcha -5 m, highest point: Kediet Ijill 915 m.
The general climate in the country; desert: always hot, dry, dusty.
The total number of border countries is 4, Algeria 460 km, Mali 2,236 km, Senegal 742 km, Western Sahara 1,564 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Mauritania’s coastline is 754 km. Its marital claims are territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, contiguous zone: 24 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles, continental shelf: 200 nautical miles or the edge of the continental margin. Waterways: (some navigation possible on the Senegal River) (2011). Land use: agricultural land: 38.5%; arable land 0.4%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 38.1%; forest: 0.2%; other: 61.3% (2011 estimate).
The population in Mauritania 3,840,429 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 59.9% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: NOUAKCHOTT (capital) 968,000 (2015), while Mauritania has with most of the country being a desert, vast areas of the country, particularly in the central, northern, and eastern areas, are without sizeable population clusters; half the population lives in or around the coastal capital of Nouakchott; smaller clusters are found near the southern border with Mali and Senegal. Their spoken languages are Arabic (official language and national), Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof (all national languages), French. Note: spoken Arabic in Mauritania differs considerably from the modern standard Arabic used for official language is written purposes or in the media; the Mauritanian dialect, which incorporates many Berber words, is referred to as Hassaniya. The main religions in Mauritania are Muslim (official) 100%. The nation uses mixed legal system of Islamic and French civil law. It is a(n) presidential republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 28 November (1960).
Economic overview for the country: Mauritania’s economy is dominated by extractive industries (oil and mines), fisheries, livestock, agriculture, and services. Half the population still depends on farming and raising livestock, even though many nomads and subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s, 1980s, 2000s, and 2017. Recently, GDP growth has been driven mostly by foreign investment in the mining and oil sectors.
Mauritania’s extensive mineral resources include iron ore, gold, copper, gypsum, phosphate rock, and ongoing tantalum, uranium, crude oil, and natural gas. Extractive commodities make up about three-quarters of Mauritania’s total exports, subjecting the economy to price swings in world commodity markets. Mining is also a growing source of government revenue, rising from 13% to 30% of total revenue from 2006 to 2014. The nation’s coastal waters are among the most affluent fishing areas globally, and fishing accounts for about 15% of budget revenues, 45% of foreign currency earnings.
Mauritania processes a total of 1,800,000 tons of fish per year, but overexploitation by foreign and national fleets threaten the sustainability of this crucial source of revenue. The economy is highly sensitive to international food and extractive commodity prices. Other risks to Mauritania’s economy include its recurring droughts, dependence on foreign aid and investment, and insecurity in neighboring Mali, as well as significant shortages of infrastructure, institutional capacity, and human capital. In December 2017, Mauritania and the IMF agreed to a three-year agreement under the Extended Credit Facility to foster economic growth, maintain macroeconomic stability, and reduce poverty. Investment in agriculture and infrastructure are the largest components of the country’s public expenditures.
Natural resources of Mauritania: iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish.
Main export partners for Mauritania, Africa are China 32.7%, Switzerland 11.1%, Spain 8.6%, Italy 6.7%, Cote d’Ivoire 6.6%, Japan 5.7% (2015) for iron ore, fish and fish products, gold, copper, petroleum, while the main import partners for the country are: China 25.5%, Algeria 8.4%, France 6.3%, Morocco 5.1%, Spain 4.8%, Brazil 4.5%, US 4% (2015) for machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods.
When you visit this country in Africa, consider the natural hazards in Mauritania: Hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind primarily in March and April, periodic droughts, while infectious diseases are a degree of risk: very high food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis animal contact disease: rabies (2016). Also, note that Mauritania faces the following environmental issues: Overgrazing, deforestation, and soil erosion aggravated by drought are contributing to desertification, Limited natural freshwater resources away from the Senegal, which is the only perennial river, Locust infestation.
You may also be interested in the countries next to Mauritania around its total: 5,002 km border, like Algeria, Mali, Senegal, Western Sahara.