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___ Mauritania (موريتانيا)

Sahara landscape near Chinguetti in Mauritania
There is a lot of sand in the desert. Sahara landscape near Chinguetti, a medieval Berber town near the country's border with Western Sahara.
Image: Paul Williams (Iron Ammonite)
Mauritania Flag
Flag of Mauritania
Where in Africa is Mauritania?
Location map of Mauritania
Destination Mauritania, a Northern African country in the Maghreb region bordering the North Atlantic Ocean in south west. Countries with international borders to Mauritania are Algeria, Mali, Senegal, and the Western Sahara.

The country covers an area of 1,025,520 km², making it about twice the size of Spain, or slightly larger than the US states of Texas and New Mexico combined. Much of the country is covered by the Sahara, about three quarters of Mauritania are desert or semidesert.

Mauritania has a mixed Arab and Berber population of 3.4 million inhabitants (in 2014), about one third of its people live in Nouakchott, the capital and largest city, situated between the dunes and the ocean.

Mauritania's population consists of about 70% Moors, people of Amazigh (Berber) and Arab descent, and 30% non-Arabic speaking Africans: Wolof, Bambara, and Fulas. Spoken languages are Arabic (official), Wolof (official), and French. Mauritania is an Islamic country, the majority are Sunni Muslims. Legal tender is Ouguiya, but Euro is the preferred currency. Rumor has it there is a working ATM in Nouakchott.

Islamic Republic of Mauritania

Country Profile

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 (White Moors, Arab-Berber) populace.

Mauritania is a member state of the League of Arab States

Related countries: France

Official Name:
Islamic Republic of Mauritania
conventional short form: Mauritania
short form: Muritaniyah
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah

ISO Country Code: mr, MRT
Actual Time: Sun-Oct-21  06:31
Local Time = No UTC no GMT offset

Country Calling Code: +222

Capital City: Nouakchott (pop. 800,000)

Other Cities:
Nouadhibou (113,000), Selibaby (107,000), Kaedi (91,000), Kiffa (77,000), Rosso (63,000), Zouerate (36,000).

Type: Republic.
Independence: November 28, 1960 (from Fance).
Constitution: Approved 1991. Military rule 1978-1992. Original constitution promulgated 1961.

Location: Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara.
Area: 1,030,000 km² (398,000 sq. mi.), almost 2 times the area of France.
Terrain: Northern four-fifths barren desert; southern 20% mainly Sahelian with small scale irrigated and rainfed agriculture in the Senegal River basin.

Climate: Predominantly hot and dry.

Nationality: Mauritanian(s).
Population: 3.4 million (2014)
Ethnic groups: Arab-Berber (White Moor or Beydane), Arab-Berber-Negroid (Black Moor or Haritine), Haalpulaar, Soninke, Wolof.
Religion: Islam.
Languages: Arabic (official), French, Pulaar, Wolof, and Soninke. Literacy: 42%.

Natural resources: Fish, copper, iron ore, gypsum.
Agriculture products: Dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn, cattle, sheep.

Industries: Fish processing, mining of iron ore and gypsum.

Exports - commodities: iron ore, fish and fish products, gold, copper, petroleum

Exports - partners: China 32.7%, Switzerland 11.1%, Spain 8.6%, Italy 6.7%, Cote dIvoire 6.6%, Japan 5.7% (2015)

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods

Imports - partners: China 25.5%, Algeria 8.4%, France 6.3%, Morocco 5.1%, Spain 4.8%, Brazil 4.5%, USA 4% (2015)

Currency: Ouguiya (MRO) sign: UM

Presidential Palace in Nouakchott
Presidential Palace in Nouakchott, the building houses the presidency of Mauritania.
Image: APF

Political system
The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is governed since 2007 by a military junta led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ, he is since 2009 also 'elected president'. Aziz was reelected in 2014 to a second and final term as president (according to the present constitution). Chief of state is the president, head of government is the prime minister.
Mauritanians are due to vote in a constitutional referendum on 5 August 2017 on the president's proposals to scrap the Senate and to change the flag. The opposition said it was boycotting the vote.

Official Sites of Mauritania

Note: External links will open in a new browser window.

Primature Mauritania
Official site of the Prime Minister Office of Mauritania.

Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to the UN
Mauritania Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

Consulate of Mauritania
Consulate of Mauritania in Montreal, Canada (in French)
Embassy of Islamic Republic of Mauritania in London
Embassy of Mauritania in the UK.

Office National de la Statistique
The national Statistics office (in French).


 Map of Mauritania
Political Map of Mauritania.
Google Earth Google Earth Mauritania
Searchable map and satellite view of Mauritania.
Google Earth Google Earth Nouakchott
Searchable map and satellite view of Mauritania's capital city.

 Map of North Africa and the Middle East
Reference map of North Africa and the Middle East.

Political Map of Africa
The 54 countries of Africa.
Map of Africa
A Relief Map of Africa.


Mauritania has one of the most open media environments of the Maghreb region with relatively little government interference. But blogger Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir’s death sentence on a charge of apostasy in 2014 and the government’s repeated refusal to pardon him have sent a clear and intimidating message to the media.
(Source: BBC and RSF)

AMI - Agence Mauritanienne d'Iinformation
Mauritanian News Agency (in French and Arabic)

Mauritania daily news in French.

Mauritania daily news in Arabic.

Television de Mauritanie (TVM)
Official website of the state-run TV station (in Arabic).

InternationalNews Coverage Mauritania
The Guardian  
Mauritania related news.

Bookmark/share this page

Arts & Culture

Portal for and about Mauritanian women.


Market in Trarza Region in southwest Mauritania
Market in Trarza Region in southwest Mauritania.
Image: Christine Vaufrey

Business & Economy

Mauritania is a country with rich mineral resources, especially iron and copper ore and now even oil, but the majority of the population depends on subsistence agriculture and livestock for a livelihood.

Banque Centrale de Mauritanie
Mauritania's Central Bank (in French).



Air Mauritanie
Mauritania's former national carrier ceased operations in 2007 replaced by Mauritania Airlines International.

Mauritania Airlines International
The airline is based in Nouakchott and serves now as the flag carrier of the country.

Mauritania Railway
The national railway of Mauritania consists of a single, 700 km (435 mi) railway line linking the iron mining center of Zouérat with the port of Nouadhibou, a key commercial center and Mauritania's second largest city.

Iron ore train in Mauritania
A really long iron ore train in Mauritania. The national railway operates the transport of iron ore between the iron mining center of Zouérat and the port of Nouadhibou.
Image: Michał Huniewicz
Chinguetti town in northern Mauritania
Chinguetti, a medieval Berber trading center on the Adrar Plateau in northern Mauritania.
Image: Evgeni Zotov

Travel and Tour Consumer Information

Destination Mauritania

Discover Mauritania: Nouakchott,
Adrar Plateau (arid plateau with nice gorges arising from the flat desert), Richat Structure (the Eye of the Sahara)

Wikivoyage Mauritania
Travel information for Mauritania.

Embassy of Islamic Republic of Mauritania in Washington D.C.
The embassy provides also information about the country.

LookLex / Mauritania
A guide to Mauritania.

De Terjit à Chinguitti
From Terjit to Chinguitt, a French based guide to the holy city of the Sahara (in French).

Trek en Mauritanie
A trek in Mauritania, afoot in the Sahara (in French).

Tour Operators

Amatliche Tours
Desert tours and more (in French).
Surmi Voyages
Mauritania tour operator.
Tourist complex Tenadi
Located at Trarza 90 km from Nouakchott on the road connecting Nouakchott with Mali (in French).

UNESCO World Heritage Sites Mauritania

World Heritage Site Ancient Ksour of Ouadane, Chinguetti, Tichitt and Oualata
Ancient Ksour (town/fortification) of the 11th and 12th centuries, built to serve the caravans crossing the Sahara. These trading and religious centers became focal points of Islamic culture.

World Heritage Site Banc d'Arguin National Park
The park is a land- and seascape of outstanding natural significance, with sand-dunes, coastal swamps, small islands and shallow coastal waters. A prefered destination for migrating birds which spend the winter there.

View of the Richat Structure in Mauritania.
Richat Structure in Mauritania, the 50-kilometer-wide 'bull's-eye' on the otherwise kind of featureless expanse of the desert. The view was generated from a Landsat satellite image.

Students of the Qur'an in the Assaba-Region of Mauritania
Madhara or Madhhab, the ritual of memorizing the Qur'an. Students of the Qur'an in the Assaba Region of Mauritania.
Image: Michał Huniewicz


Bibliothèque de l'Université de NKTT
The Nouakchott University Library (in French).

Université des Sciences, de Technologie et de Médecine
University of Science, Technology and Medicine in Nouakchott.

Université de Nouakchott (dead link)
Main academic institution in Mauritania, founded in 1981 with two faculties, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the Faculty of Juridical and Economic Sciences.
Sahara landscape east of Choum
Sahara landscape east of Choûm, a town close to Mauritania's border with the Western Sahara.
Image: © Susanne Bommeli

Environment & Nature

Ministère de l'Environnement et du Développement Durable
Official website of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development with information about the ministry, its work and function. (in French and Arabic)

Le Parc National du Banc d'Arguin
Official website of the National Park of Banc d'Arguin with its exceptional coastal ecosystem (in French).

Parc National du Diawling (PND)
National Park Diawling.


History of Mauritania by the Embassy of Mauritania in Washington.

History of Mauritania
Wikipedia entry about Mauritania's history.

Sources and additional Information on Mauritania

Amnesty International: Mauritania

BBC Country Profile: Mauritania

FAO: Mauritania

Foreign travel advice: Mauritania

GlobalEDGE: Mauritania

The Heritage Foundation: Mauritania

Human Rights Watch: Mauritania

OEC: Mauritania

Reporters Without Borders: Mauritania

Upenn - African Studies Center: Mauritania

Wikipedia: Mauritania

The World Factbook -- Mauritania
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