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Get A Large Static Flag Mauritania
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Map of Mauritania
Introduction Mauritania
Independent from France in 1960, Mauritania annexed southern third of former Spanish Sahara (now Western Sahara) in 1976, but relinquished it after three years of raids by Polisario guerrilla front seeking independence for territory. Opposition parties were legalized and a new constitution approved in 1991. Two multiparty presidential elections since then were widely seen as flawed, but October 2001 legislative and municipal elections were generally free and open. Mauritania remains, in reality, a one-party state. country continues to experience ethnic tensions between its black minority population and dominant Maur (Arab-Berber) populace.
Geography Mauritania
Northern Africa, bordering North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara
Geographic coordinates:
20 00 N, 12 00 W
Map references:
total: 1,030,700 sq km
land: 1,030,400 sq km
water: 300 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than three times size of New Mexico
Land boundaries:
total: 5,074 km
border countries: Algeria 463 km, Mali 2,237 km, Senegal 813 km, Western Sahara 1,561 km
754 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to edge of continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty
mostly barren, flat plains of Sahara; some central hills
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Sebkha de Ndrhamcha -3 m
highest point: Kediet Ijill 910 m
Natural resources:
iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish
Land use:
arable land: 0.48%
permanent crops: 0.01%
other: 99.51% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
490 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind blows primarily in March and April; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
overgrazing, deforestation, and soil erosion aggravated by drought are contributing to desertification; very limited natural fresh water resources away from Senegal, which is only perennial river
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of selected agreements
Geography - note:
most of population concentrated in cities of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou and along Senegal River in southern part of country
People Mauritania
Total Population:
2,912,584 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 46% (male 671,080; female 668,408)
15-64 years: 51.8% (male 743,573; female 764,358)
65 years and over: 2.2% (male 26,669; female 38,496) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 16.9 years
male: 16.6 years
female: 17.2 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
2.91% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
42.16 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
13.04 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
Population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 73.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 70.89 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 76.62 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 51.93 years
male: 49.78 years
female: 54.13 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
6.08 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.8% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
6,600 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
610 (2001 est.)
noun: Mauritanian(s)
adjective: Mauritanian
Ethnic groups:
mixed Maur/black 40%, Maur 30%, black 30%
Muslim 100%
Hassaniya Arabic (official), Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof (official), French
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Population: 41.7%
male: 51.8%
female: 31.9% (2003 est.)
Government Mauritania
Country name:
conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Mauritania
conventional short form: Mauritania
local short form: Muritaniyah
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
12 regions (regions, singular - region) and 1 capital district*; Adrar, Assaba, Brakna, Dakhlet Nouadhibou, Gorgol, Guidimaka, Hodh Ech Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi, Inchiri, Nouakchott*, Tagant, Tiris Zemmour, Trarza
28 November 1960 (from France)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 28 November (1960)
12 July 1991
Legal system:
a combination of Shari'a (Islamic law) and French civil law
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA (since 12 December 1984)
head of government: Prime Minister Sghair Ould M'BARECK (since 6 July 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 7 November 2003 (next to be held NA 2009); prime minister appointed by president
election results: President Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA reelected for a third term with 60.8% of vote
Legislative branch:
bicameral legislature consists of Senate or Majlis al-Shuyukh (56 seats, a part of seats up for election every two years; members elected by municipal leaders to serve six-year terms) and National Assembly or Majlis al-Watani (81 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 12 April 2002 (next to be held NA April 2004); National Assembly - last held 19 and 26 October 2001 (next to be held NA 2006)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PRDS 54, RFD 1, UNDD 1; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - PRDS 79%, RDU 3.5%, UDP 3.5%, AC 5%, UFP 3.5%, FP 1.5%; seats by party - PRDS 64, UDP 3, RDU 3, AC 4, RFD 3, UFP 3, and FP 1
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Court of Appeals; lower courts
Political parties and leaders:
Action for Change or AC [Messoud Ould BOULKHEIR]; Alliance for Justice and Democracy or AJD [Kebe ABDOULAYE]; Democratic and Social Republican Party or PRDS (ruling party) [President Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA]; Mauritanian Party for Renewal and Concorde or PMRC [Molaye El Hassen Ould JIYID]; National Union for Democracy and Development or UNDD [Tidjane KOITA]; Party for Liberty, Equality and Justice or PLEJ [Daouda M'BAGNIGA]; Popular Front or FP [Ch'bih Ould CHEIKH MALAININE]; Popular Progress Alliance or APP [Mohamed El Hafed Ould ISMAEL]; Popular Social and Democratic Union or UPSD [Mohamed Mahmoud Ould MAH]; Progress Force Union or UFP [Mohamed Ould MAOULOUD]; Rally of Democratic Forces or RFD [Ahmed Ould DADDAH]; Rally for Democracy and Unity or RDU [Ahmed Ould SIDI BABA]; Union for Democracy and Progress or UDP [Naha Mint MOUKNASS]
note: Action for Change party previously banned in January 2002; parties legalized by constitution ratified 12 July 1991, however, politics continue to be tribally based
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Arab nationalists; Ba'athists; General Confederation of Mauritanian Workers or CGTM [Abdallahi Ould MOHAMED, secretary general]; Independent Confederation of Mauritanian Workers or CLTM [Samory Ould BEYE]; Islamists; Mauritanian Workers Union or UTM [Mohamed Ely Ould BRAHIM, secretary general]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Mohamedou Ould MICHEL
chancery: 2129 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
FAX: [1] (202) 319-2623
telephone: [1] (202) 232-5700
Diplomatic representation from US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph E. LEBARON
embassy: Rue Abdallaye (between Presidency building and Spanish Embassy), Nouakchott
mailing address: BP 222, Nouakchott
telephone: [222] 25-26-60, 25-26-63, 25-11-41, 25-11-45
FAX: [222] 25-25-92
Flag description:
green with a yellow five-pointed star above a yellow, horizontal crescent; closed side of crescent is down; crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam
Economy Mauritania
Economy - overview:
Half population still depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though many of nomads and subsistence farmers were forced into cities by recurrent droughts in 1970s and 1980s. Mauritania has extensive deposits of iron ore, which account for nearly 40% of total exports. decline in world demand for this ore, however, has led to cutbacks in production. nation's coastal waters are among richest fishing areas in world, but overexploitation by foreigners threatens this key source of revenue. countries first deepwater port opened near Nouakchott in 1986. In past, drought and economic mismanagement resulted in a buildup of foreign debt. In February 2000, Mauritania qualified for debt relief under Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and in December 2001 received strong support from donor and lending countries at a triennial Consultative Group review. In 2001, exploratory oil wells in tracts 80 km offshore indicated potential extraction at current world oil prices. A new investment code approved in December 2001 improved opportunities for direct foreign investment. Ongoing negotiations with IMF involve problems of economic reforms and fiscal discipline. Substantial oil production and exports probably will not begin until 2005.
buying power parity - $4.891 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.3% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $1,700 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 25%
industry: 29%
services: 46% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
50% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 30.2% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
37.3 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
786,000 (2001)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 50%, services 40%, industry 10% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
21% (1999 est.)
revenues: $421 million
expenditures: $378 million, includes capital expenditures of $154 million (2002 est.)
fish processing, mining of iron ore and gypsum
Industrial production growth rate:
2% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:
157.4 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 85.9%
hydro: 14.1%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
146.3 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
24,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn, dates; cattle, sheep
$355 million f.o.b. (2002)
Exports - commodities:
iron ore, fish and fish products, gold
Exports - partners:
Italy 14.3%, France 14%, Spain 11.7%, Germany 10.9%, Belgium 9.9%, Japan 7.1% (2002)
$360 million f.o.b. (2000)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partners:
France 18.5%, Belgium 7.8%, China 7%, Spain 5.9%, Germany 5.2% (2002)
Debt - external:
$2.5 billion (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
$220 million (2000)
ouguiya (MRO)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
ouguiyas per US dollar - ouguiyas per US dollar - 254.350 (December 2001), 238.923 (2000), 209.514 (1999), 188.476 (1998), 151.853 (1997), 137.222 (1996)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Mauritania
Telephones - main lines in use:
26,500 (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
35,000 (2001)
Telephone system:
general assessment: limited system of cable and open-wire lines, minor microwave radio relay links, and radiotelephone communications stations (improvements being made)
domestic: mostly cable and open-wire lines; a recently completed domestic satellite telecommunications system links Nouakchott with regional capitals
international: satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 2 Arabsat
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 14, shortwave 1 (2001)
410,000 (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (2002)
98,000 (2001)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
5 (2001)
Internet users:
7,500 (2001)
Transportation Mauritania
717 km
standard gauge: 717 km 1.435-m gauge (2002)
total: 7,720 km
paved: 830 km
unpaved: 6,890 km (2000)
note: ferry traffic on Senegal River
Ports and harbors:
Bogue, Kaedi, Nouadhibou, Nouakchott, Rosso
Merchant marine:
none (2002)
26 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 16
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 3 (2002)
Military Mauritania
Military branches:
Army, Navy, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Guard, National Police, Presidential Guard
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 665,112 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 322,288 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$37.11 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
3.7% (FY02)
Transnational Issues Mauritania
Disputes - international:
Mauritanian claims to Western Sahara have been dormant in recent years