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1. Geography
2. Political situation
3. Economy
a. Figures
4. Defense
5. Health
6. Education
a. Universities
7. Demographics
8. Religions
a. Freedom
9. Peoples
10. Languages
11. Human rights
12. History
13. Cities and Towns

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Index / Economy /
Open map of MauritaniaFlag of MauritaniaMauritania /

Mauritanian 1000 ougiyas
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Key figures
GDP per capita
World average: -80%.
MENA rank: 23 of 23 (worst).
US$6.3 billion.
MENA rank: 22 of 23.
List of figuresAll other figures
2.5 points of 10 max.
World rank: 130 of 180.
MENA rank: 15 of 21.
Investment friendly
World rank: 160 of 181.
MENA rank: 21 of 21 (worst).
Economic freedom
53.9 points of 100 max.
World rank: 127 of 179.
MENA rank: 16 of 19.
Value of Currency
US$1=137 Ougiyas

US$1=151 Ougiyas

US$1=188 Ougiyas

US$1=209 Ougiyas

US$1=238 Ougiyas

US$1=254 Ougiyas

US$1=261 Ougiyas

Sep. 2008:
US$1=230 Ougiyas

Mauritanian 500 ouguiyas
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Mauritanian 200 ouguiyas
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Railways transporting iron to the coast.

Mauritania is very poor, most people here lead a life little touched by modern changes. The elite is small, mainly living in the capital Nouakchott, and in almost all cases best compared to European middle class.
The most important sectors are agriculture and livestock
The economy is totally depending on iron from the mines in the north of Mauritania, fishing and foreign aid. Iron represents about 50% of total export.
Inflation rate, although at a reasonable level, has increased over the last years.
In the late 1990's and early 2000's iron prices fell to the point that Mauritania's iron production became close to unprofitable. Briefly, over recent years iron prices increased to allow new iron fields to be explored.
Mauritania's proven oil reserves are as of 2008, 100 million barrels, which is enough for 18 years with today's production level.
Mauritania had until the 1980's a surplus in their foreign trade, but this changed in just a couple of years into a foreign dept almost three times the GNP. and the rights of fishing has been given away to Koreans, Japanese and Russians there are few signs of improvement in Mauritanian economy.
Mauritanian GNP/capita is estimated to be at around $500, but considering the extensive barter economy and wide-spread smuggling, real figures must be considerably higher.
TVs are found all around the country, but in small numbers outside the capital. The drought over the recent decades has made old nomadic life styles far less common. This has resulted in an extreme growth of cities, and Mauritania has quickly reached a Western level of urbanization. These figures are however misleading, as many of the cities have no better infrastructure and conditions than a village.

International partners
Mauritania's main economic partners are China, France and Spain. The three countries make up half of Mauritania's export and 33% of import.
Mauritania has a negative balance for exports/imports, but now under control at -5.7%, or US$80 million per year (2006 figures).

1986: The first deepwater port is opened near Noukchott.
1999 March: Mauritania is forced to sign an agreement with the World Bank-IMF to improve the economic sector; one of the points is to increase the level of private companies.
2000 February: Mauritania qualifies for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.
2001 December: Received strong support from donor and lending countries at a triennial Consultative Group review.
— Improved regulations for foreign investment.
2001: Discoveries of the oil field Chinguetti, 80 km offshore, with proven reserves of 120 million barrels of oil.

By Tore Kjeilen