Information about travelling to Mauritania

Mauritania is located in Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara

Facts about Mauritania
Population3,364,940 (July 2008 est.
Time zoneUTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Location Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara

General info about Mauritania
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 over 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 coup deposed him and ushered in a military council government. Meanwhile, the country continues to experience ethnic tensions among its black population (Afro-Mauritanians) and White and Black Moor (Arab-Berber) communities.
Disease threats
degree of risk: high food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis
Languages spoken
Arabic (official and national), Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof (all national languages), French, Hassaniya
Ethnic division
mixed Moor/black 40%, Moor 30%, black 30%
HIV/AIDS prevalence rate
0.6% (2003 est.)
desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty
iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish
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 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. Oil prospects, while initially promising, have largely failed to materialize. Meantime the government emphasizes reduction of poverty, improvement of health and education, and promoting privatization of the economy.
overgrazing, deforestation, and soil erosion aggravated by drought are contributing to desertification; limited natural fresh water resources away from the Senegal, which is the only perennial river; locust infestation

Cities in Mauritania

atar     bababe     maghama     nouadhibou     nouakchott    

Airports in Mauritania
Aioun El AtroussAEO
Atar MouakchottATR

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