Statistical information Mauritania 1990Mauritania

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Mauritania in the World
Mauritania in the World


Mauritania - Introduction 1990
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Background: 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.

Mauritania - Geography 1990
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Geographic coordinates

Map reference


Land boundaries: 5,074 km total; Algeria 463 km, Mali 2,237 km, Senegal 813 km, Western Sahara 1,561 km

Coastline: 754 km

Maritime claims
Continental shelf: edge of continental margin or 200 nm
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty

Terrain: mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills


Natural resources: iron ore, gypsum, fish, copper, phosphate
Land use

Land use: 1% arable land; NEGL% permanent crops; 38% meadows and pastures; 5% forest and woodland; 56% other; includes NEGL% irrigated

Irrigated land

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards


Mauritania - People 1990
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Population: 1,934,549 (July 1990), growth rate 3.1% (1990)

Nationality: noun--Mauritanian(s; adjective--Mauritanian

Ethnic groups: 40% mixed Maur/black, 30% Maur, 30% black

Languages: Hasaniya Arabic (national; French (official; Toucouleur, Fula, Sarakole, Wolof

Religions: nearly 100% Muslim

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate

Birth rate: 49 births/1000 population (1990)

Death rate: 18 deaths/1000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1000 population (1990)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind blows primarily in March and April; desertification; only perennial river is the Senegal

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 96 deaths/1000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 44 years male, 49 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 7.3 children born/woman (1990)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Literacy: 17%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Mauritania - Government 1990
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Country name: conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Mauritania

Government type: republic; military first seized power in bloodless coup 10 July 1978; a palace coup that took place on 24 December 1984 brought President Taya to power

Capital: Nouakchott

Administrative divisions: 12 regions (regions, singular--region; Adrar, Brakna, Dakhlet Nouadhibou, El Acaba, Gorgol, Guidimaka, Hodh Ech Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi, Inchiri, Tagant, Tiris Zemmour, Trarza; note--there may be a new capital district of Nouakchott

Dependent areas

Independence: 28 November 1960 (from France)

National holiday: Independence Day, 28 November (1960)

Constitution: 20 May 1961, abrogated after coup of 10 July 1978; provisional constitution published 17 December 1980 but abandoned in 1981; new constitutional charter published 27 February 1985

Legal system: based on Islamic law

International law organization participation


Suffrage: none

Executive branch: Chief of State and Head of Government--President Col. Maaouiya Ould SidAhmed TAYA (since 12 December 1984)

Legislative branch: Army, Navy, Air Force, paramilitary Gendarmerie, paramilitary National Guard, paramilitary National Police, paramilitary Presidential Guard, paramilitary Nomad Security Guards

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, AIOEC, Arab League, CCC, CEAO, CIPEC (associate), EAMA, EIB (associate), FAO, G-77, GATT, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB--Islamic Development Bank, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IPU, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OMVS (Organization for the Development of the Senegal River Valley), UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO

Diplomatic representation
In the us: Ambassador Abdellah OULD DADDAH; Chancery at 2,129 Leroy Place NW, Washington DC 20,008; telephone (202) 232-5,700; US--Ambassador William H. TWADDELL; Embassy at address NA, Nouakchott (mailing address is B. P. 222, Nouakchott; telephone p2,222o 52,660 or 52,663

Flag descriptionflag of Mauritania: green with a yellow five-pointed star above a yellow, horizontal crescent; the closed side of the crescent is down; the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Mauritania - Economy 1990
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Economy overview: A majority of the population still depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though most of the nomads and many subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent drought in 1983. Mauritania has extensive deposits of iron ore that account for almost 50% of total exports. The decline in world demand for this ore, however, has led to cutbacks in production in recent years. 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.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: accounts for 29% of GDP (including fishing; largely subsistence farming and nomadic cattle and sheep herding except in Senegal river valley; crops--dates, millet, sorghum, root crops; fish products number-one export; large food deficit in years of drought

Industries: fishing, fish processing, mining of iron ore and gypsum

Industrial production growth rate: 4.4% (1988 est.)

Labor force:
465,000 (1981 est.), 45,000 wage earners (1980; 47% agriculture, 29%
services, 14%
industry and commerce, 10% government; 53% of population of working age (1985)

Labor force

Unemployment rate: 50% (1988 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Budget: revenues $358 million; expenditures $334 million, including capital expenditures of $79 million (1988 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $424 million (f.o.b., 1988)
Commodities: iron ore, processed fish, small amounts of gum arabic and gypsum, unrecorded but numerically significant cattle exports to Senegal
Partners: EC 57%, Japan 39%, Ivory Coast 2%

Imports: $365 million (c.i.f., 1988)
Commodities: foodstuffs, consumer goods, petroleum products, capital goods
Partners: EC 79%, Africa 5%, US 4%, Japan 2%

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $2.3 billion (December 1989)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: ouguiya (UM) per US$1--83.838 (January 1990), 83.051 (1989), 75.261 (1988), 73.878 (1987), 74.375 (1986), 77.085 (1985)

Mauritania - Energy 1990
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Electricity access

Electricity production

Electricity consumption

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Mauritania - Communication 1990
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Mauritania - Military 1990
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Military expenditures
Percent of gdp: 4.2% of GDP (1987)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Mauritania - Transportation 1990
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 30 total, 29 usable; 9 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 4 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 17 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways





Waterways: mostly ferry traffic on the Senegal River

Merchant marine: 1 cargo ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,272 GRT/ 1,840 DWT

Ports and terminals

Mauritania - Transnational issues 1990
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Disputes international: armed conflict in Western Sahara; boundary with Senegal

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs

World Nomads

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