Where is Mauritania?

Located in Western Africa, Mauritania has a 5,002.00 km border with Algeria (460 km), Mali (2,236 km), Senegal (742 km) and Western Sahara (1,564 km). It has a 754.00 km coastline. Mauritania has claims to Western Sahara, which currently lay dormant.

The capital city of Mauritania is Nouakchott, which is also the biggest city in the country. It is situated on the Atlantic coast of the Sahara desert in North West Africa. The name Nouakchott means place of the winds in the Berber language. The city was constructed in 1958 and was complete by November 28, 1960, when Mauritania gained independence. The city was chosen as the capital by Moktar Ould Daddah. The population of Nouakchott was estimated at 968,000 in 2015. A significant part of the population is nomadic, making the population to fluctuate most of the time. The city has about a third of the whole country’s population. The city, though not frequently toured, has a number of popular tourist attractions, which includes the National archives and the national library, the National Museum of Mauritania, Markets like the Nouakchott silver market, the Saudi mosque and the Moroccan mosque and several beaches. The climate of Nouakchott is a hot desert climate. Temperatures are mostly high throughout the year.

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Mauritania is an African country covering 1,030,700.00 km2. This makes it the 28th largest country in the world and slightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico. Its geographic coordinates are 20 00 N, 12 00 W and Nouakchott is the capital city.

The name comes from the ancient kingdom of Mauretania.

Its ISO code is MR.

Geography

Mauritania has a mean elevation of 276 m above sea level.

It has a desert climate that is hot, dry, and dusty. Its terrain is mostly barren with some central hills.

Population

Mauritania has a population of 3,677,293 making it the 131st largest in the world. Half of the population lives in or around the coastal capital of Nouakchott.

Arabic is the official language. The major ethnic group reported is black Moors. The overwehlming majority of the country is Muslim.

The languages used in Mauritania fall under the Afroasiatic group of languages. The languages include Arabic and Berber. Modern standard Arabic is the official language of the country. Modern Arabic may differ from classical Arabic in vocabulary and pronunciation. French is also spoken by a large number of the population because Mauritania was a French colony. The Arabic in Mauritania is divided into two the modern standard Arabic and Hassaniya which is the everyday spoken language. Zenaga and Tamasheq make up the Berber language. Zenaga was once widely spoken by a majority of the population. The minority languages in Mauritania are grouped under the Niger-Congo languages. The languages include Wollof which is spoken by 7% of the population, Soninke spoken by the Soninke community. Bambana and Pulaar are spoken by the Toucouleur and Fula. Most of the population speaking the minority languages has interacted with people from other countries. The pulaar and Wollof speaking people live along the Senegal River.

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The dialing code for the country is 222.

Government

Mauritania is an independent country. It gained independence from France in 1960. Its constitution was last ratified in 1991.

The Government of Mauritania has a unitary-semi presidential system of government. After Mauritania achieved independence in 1960, President Moktar Ould Daddah changed Mauritania to a one-party state by amending the constitution in 1964, and he became an authoritarian president until the military took over power in 2005. The executive is made up of the President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The president can run for office twice, and is responsible for appointing the members of the executive government including the Prime Minister and the cabinet. The Mauritanian parliament is also known as Majlis al-Watani consisting of 79 seats with members serving a five-year term and they are elected on a popular vote. The 2017 constitutional referendum abolished the Senate which had 56 members elected for six years term. All the official residences and the main government offices including the parliament are situated in Nouakchott city which is the main administrative center. The election for president is conducted once in every five years, and to win one has to garner a simple majority of the votes cast.

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Economy

Factoring in Purchasing Power Parity, Mauritania's GDP is $16,710,000,000.00 (USD) with $4,400.00 (USD) per capita. This makes it the 149th largest economy and its citizens the 168th richest in the world. The currency of Mauritania is the Ouguiya (MRO).

Its major export partners are China, Switzerland, and Spain. Its main exports are iron ore, fish and fish products, and livestock. Its major import partners are China, France, and Morocco. Its major imports include machinery and equipment, petroleum products, and capital goods.

Flag

The current Mauritanian flag which has a crescent, a star and two red stripes at the top and bottom of the flag was adopted in 2017 after the constitutional referendum which was fiercely opposed by the political opponents of the current president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. They believed that no one has a right to change the flag that had been given down to them as a symbol of national heritage, pride, and unity. They also argued that the cost of rolling out the new flag would be expensive considering the country was struggling against hunger, unemployment, and corruption. Compared to the earlier flag, the addition of two red stripes at the top and bottom of the flag served to remind the blood lost by the Mauritanian patriots who died during the struggle for independence against the French colonizers.

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This page was last modified on January 17th, 2018