Mauritania at a glance        0  333 reads

Geography

Area: 1,030,070 sq. km. (419,212 sq. mi.); slightly larger than Texas and New Mexico combined. Cities (2004): Capital--Nouakchott (pop. 708,000). Other cities--Nouadhibou (72,000), Rosso (50,000), Kaedi (34,000), Zouerate (34,000), Kiffa (33,000), Atar (24,000). Terrain: Northern four-fifths barren desert; southern 20% mainly Sahelian with small-scale irrigated and rain-fed agriculture in the Senegal River basin. Climate: Predominantly hot and dry.


People

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Mauritanian(s). Population: 3,162,338. Annual population growth rate: 2.5%. Ethnic groups: Arab-Berber (White Moor), Arab-Berber-Negroid (Black Moor), Haalpulaar, Soninke, Wolof (Black African Mauritanians). Religion: Islam. Languages: Arabic (official), Hassaniya (Arabic dialect), French, Pulaar, Wolof, and Soninke. Education: Years compulsory--six. Attendance (student population enrolled in primary school)--82%. Adult literacy (% of population age 15+)--59%. Health: Infant mortality rate--67/1,000. Life expectancy--64 yrs. Work force: Agriculture and fisheries--50%. Services and commerce--20%. Government--20%. Industry and transportation--10%.


Government

Type: Republic. Independence: November 28, 1960. Constitution: Approved 1991. Original constitution promulgated 1961. Branches: Executive--president (head of state). Legislative--bicameral national assembly, directly elected lower house (81 members), and upper house (56 members) chosen indirectly by municipal councilors. Judicial--a supreme court and lower courts are nominally independent but subject to control of executive branch; judicial decisions are rendered mainly on the basis of Shari'a (Islamic law) for social/family matters and a western style legal code, applied in commercial and some criminal cases. Political parties: 21. Suffrage: Universal at 18. National day: November 28, Independence Day.


Economy

GDP (at official exchange rate, 2009 est.): U.S. $3.029 billion. Annual growth rate (2009): -0.9%. Per capita GDP (2009): $939. Natural resources: petroleum, fish, iron ore, gypsum, copper, gum arabic, phosphates, salt and gold. Agriculture (13% of GDP 2007): Products--livestock, traditional fisheries, millet, maize, wheat, dates, rice. Industry (47% of GDP 2007): Types--mining, commercial fishing. Services (41% of GDP 2007). Trade: Exports (2009) 1.37 billion: iron ore, fish and fish products, gold, copper, petroleum. Export partners (2007)--China 30.5%, France 9.5%, Italy 8.6%, Spain 8.5%, Japan 5.5%, Netherlands 5.3%, Belgium 5%, Cote d'Ivoire 4.7%. Imports (2009)--$1.43 billion: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods. Import partners (2007)--France 16.7%, China 8.2%, Spain 6.8%, U.S. 6.2%, Belgium 5.8%, Brazil 5.5%. Currency: Ouguiya (UM). USAID: Total FY 2009 USAID humanitarian and development assistance to Mauritania--$11,100,000.

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. Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA seized power in a coup in 1984 and ruled Mauritania with a heavy hand for over two decades. A series of presidential elections that he held were widely seen as flawed. A bloodless coup in August 2005 deposed President TAYA and ushered in a military council that oversaw a transition to democratic rule. Independent candidate Sidi Ould Cheikh ABDALLAHI was inaugurated in April 2007 as Mauritania's first freely and fairly elected president. His term ended prematurely in August 2008 when a coup deposed him and ushered in a military council government. Meanwhile, the country continues to experience ethnic tensions among its black population (Afro-Mauritanians) and White and Black Moor (Arab-Berber) communities.

SOURCES
All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008

ALTERNATIVE NAMES

Mauritania, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah, Muritaniyah

Identification

 
15 character
Mauritania
30 character
Mauritania
Country name Mauritania
ountry name > Conventional long form
Islamic Republic of Mauritania
Country name > Conventional short form Mauritania
Country name > Local long form
Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah
Country name > Local short form Muritaniyah
ISO code 478
ISO long MRT
ISO short MR
Native names
Al-Muritaniyah موريتانيا
Oceanographic code MU
Translation > Catalan Mauritania
Translation > French Mauritanie
Translation > German Mauretanien
Translation > Italian
Mauritania
Translation > Portugese Mauritania
Translation > Spanish
Mauritania
UN code 478

SOURCES
CIA World Factbook, 28 July 2005; All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008; Microsoft.com; Wkipedia; IOC country codes

ALTERNATIVE NAMES

Mauritania, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah, Muritaniyah
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