Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Mauritania

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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. (from the CIA)


Economic 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 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. oil prospects, while initially promising, have failed to materialize. meantime the government emphasizes reduction of poverty, improvement of health and education, and promoting privatization of the economy.

Environmental Issues

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

Government Type

Democratic republic


3,364,940 (july 2008 est.)


Northern africa, bordering the north atlantic ocean, between senegal and western sahara


Total: 1,030,700 sq km land: 1,030,400 sq km water: 300 sq km

Slightly larger than three times the size of new mexico

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: islamic republic of mauritania conventional short form: mauritania local long form: al jumhuriyah al islamiyah al muritaniyah local short form: muritaniyah


Name: nouakchott geographic coordinates: 18 07 n, 16 02 w time difference: utc 0 (5 hours ahead of washington, dc during standard time)

Military Service

18 years of age (est.); conscript service obligation - 2 years; majority of servicemen believed to be volunteers; service in air force and navy is voluntary (2006)

International Disputes

Mauritanian claims to western sahara remain dormant

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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