Statistical information Mauritania 1992Mauritania

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Mauritania in the World
Mauritania in the World


Mauritania - Introduction 1992
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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. Opposition parties were legalized and a new constitution approved in 1991. Two multiparty presidential elections since then were widely seen as being flawed; Mauritania remains in reality a one-party state. The country continues to experience ethnic tensions between its black minority population and the dominant Maur (Arab-Berber) populace.

Mauritania - Geography 1992
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Geographic coordinates

Map reference

Total: 1,030,700 km²
Land: 1,030,400 km²
Comparative: slightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico

Land boundaries: 5,074 km; 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
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm
Disputes: boundary with Senegal

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

Irrigated land

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards


Mauritania - People 1992
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Population: 2,059,187 (July 1992), growth rate 3.1% (1992)

Nationality: noun - Mauritanian(s; adjective - Mauritanian

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

Hasaniya Arabic (official); Hasaniya Arabic, Pular, Soninke,
Wolof (official)

Religions: Muslim, nearly 100%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate

Birth rate: 48 births/1000 population (1992)

Death rate: 17 deaths/1000 population (1992)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1000 population (1992)

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: 89 deaths/1000 live births (1992)

Life expectancy at birth: 44 years male, 50 years female (1992)

Total fertility rate: 7.1 children born/woman (1992)

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: 34% (male 47%, female 21%) age 10 and over can read and write (1990 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Mauritania - Government 1992
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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 12 December 1984 brought President
Taya to power; he was elected in 1992

Capital: Nouakchott

Administrative divisions:
12 regions(regions, singular - region); Adrar,
Assaba, Brakna, Dakhlet Nouadhibou, 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: currently 12 July 1991; 20 May 1961 Constitution abrogated after coup of 10 July 1978; provisional constitution published 17 December 1980 but abandoned in 1981; constitutional charter published 27 February 1985 after Taya came to power; latest constitution approved after general referendum 12 July 1991

Legal system: based on Islamic law

International law organization participation


Suffrage: universal at age 18
National Assembly: last held 6 and 13 March 1992 (next to be held NA 1997)
President: last held January 1992 (next to be held NA)
Senate: last held 3 and 10 April 1992 (next to be held April 1998) results: President Col. Maabuya Ould Sid`Ahmed TAYA elected

Executive branch: president

Legislative branch: National Assembly (Assemblee Nationale) and Senate

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation:
ABEDA, ACCT (associate), ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, AMU,

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Mohamed Fall OULD AININA; Chancery at 2,129 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20,008; telephone (202) 232-5,700
US: Ambassador Gordon S. BROWN; Embassy at address NA, Nouakchott (mailing address is B. P. 222, Nouakchott); telephone 222 (2) 526-60 or 526-63; FAX 222 (2) 515-92

Diplomatic representation

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 1992
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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 droughts in the 1970s and 1980s. Mauritania has extensive deposits of iron ore, which account for almost 50% of total exports. The decline in world demand for this ore, however, has led to cutbacks in production. 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 recent years, the droughts, the endemic conflict with Senegal, rising energy costs, and economic mismanagement have resulted in a substantial buildup of foreign debt. The government has begun the second stage of an economic reform program in consultation with the World Bank, the IMF, and major donor countries. But the reform process suffered a major setback following the
Gulf war of early 1991. Because of Mauritania's support of Saddam Husayn, bilateral aid from its two top donors, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, was suspended, and multilateral aid was reduced.

GDP: exchange rate conversion - $1.1 billion, per capita $535; real growth rate 3% (1991 est.)

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: growth rate 4.4% (1988 est.), accounts for almost 20% of GDP

Labor force: 465,000 (1981 est.); 45,000 wage earners (1980); agriculture 47%, services 29%, industry and commerce 14%, government 10%; 53% of population of working age (1985)
Organized labor:
30,000 members claimed by single union, Mauritanian
Workers' Union

Labor force

Unemployment rate: 20% (1991 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Budget: revenues $280 million; expenditures $346 million, including capital expenditures of $61 million (1989 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: $436 million (f.o.b., 1990)
Commodoties: iron ore, processed fish, small amounts of gum arabic and gypsum; unrecorded but numerically significant cattle exports to Senegal
Partners: EC 43%, Japan 27%, USSR 11%, Ivory Coast 3%

Imports: $389 million (c.i.f., 1990)
Commodoties: foodstuffs, consumer goods, petroleum products, capital goods
Partners: EC 60%, Algeria 15%, China 6%, US 3%

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: ouguiya (UM) per US$1 - 79.300 (January 1992), 81.946 (1991), 80.609 (1990), 83.051 (1989), 75.261 (1988), 73.878 (1987)

Mauritania - Energy 1992
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 190,000 kW capacity; 135 million kWh produced, 70 kWh per capita (1991)

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 1992
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Mauritania - Military 1992
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Military expenditures
Percent of gdp:
exchange rate conversion - $40 million, 4.2% of
GDP (1989)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Mauritania - Transportation 1992
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

28 total, 28 usable; 9 with permanent-surface runways; none
with runways over 3,659 m; 5
with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 16
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 1,290
GRT/1,840 DWT

Civil air: 3 major transport aircraft

Ports and terminals

Mauritania - Transnational issues 1992
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs

Qatar Airways

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