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Mali vs. Mauritania

Introduction

MaliMauritania
BackgroundThe Sudanese Republic and Senegal became independent of France in 1960 as the Mali Federation. When Senegal withdrew after only a few months, what formerly made up the Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali. Rule by dictatorship was brought to a close in 1991 by a military coup that ushered in a period of democratic rule. President Alpha KONARE won Mali's first two democratic presidential elections in 1992 and 1997. In keeping with Mali's two-term constitutional limit, he stepped down in 2002 and was succeeded by Amadou Toumani TOURE, who was elected to a second term in a 2007 election that was widely judged to be free and fair. Malian returnees from Libya in 2011 exacerbated tensions in northern Mali, and Tuareg ethnic militias rebelled in January 2012. Low- and mid-level soldiers, frustrated with the poor handling of the rebellion, overthrew TOURE on 22 March. Intensive mediation efforts led by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) returned power to a civilian administration in April with the appointment of Interim President Dioncounda TRAORE. The post-coup chaos led to rebels expelling the Malian military from the country's three northern regions and allowed Islamic militants to set up strongholds. Hundreds of thousands of northern Malians fled the violence to southern Mali and neighboring countries, exacerbating regional food shortages in host communities. An international military intervention to retake the three northern regions began in January 2013 and within a month most of the north had been retaken. In a democratic presidential election conducted in July and August of 2013, Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA was elected president. The Malian Government and northern armed groups signed an internationally-mediated peace accord in June 2015.
"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 more than 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 military junta led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ deposed him and installed a military council government. AZIZ was subsequently elected president in July 2009 and sworn in the following month. AZIZ sustained injuries from an accidental shooting by his own troops in October 2012 but has continued to maintain his authority. He was reelected in 2014 to a second and final term as president (according to the present constitution). The country continues to experience ethnic tensions among three major groups: Arabic-speaking descendants of slaves (Haratines), Arabic-speaking ""White Moors"" (Bidhan), and members of Sub-Saharan ethnic groups mostly originating in the Senegal River valley (Halpulaar, Soninke, and Wolof). Mauritania confronts a terrorism threat by al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb, which launched successful attacks between 2005 and 2011.

The activities of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and similar groups, pose a severe security threat to Mauritanians and foreign visitors. AQIM launched a series of attacks in Mauritania between 2005 and 2011, murdering American and foreign tourists and aid workers, attacking diplomatic and government facilities, and ambushing Mauritanian soldiers and gendarmes. A successful strategy against terrorism that combines dialogue with the terrorists and military actions has prevented the country from further terrorist attacks since 2011.
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Geography

MaliMauritania
Locationinterior Western Africa, southwest of Algeria, north of Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso, west of Niger
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara
Geographic coordinates17 00 N, 4 00 W
20 00 N, 12 00 W
Map referencesAfrica
Africa
Areatotal: 1,240,192 sq km
land: 1,220,190 sq km
water: 20,002 sq km
total: 1,030,700 sq km
land: 1,030,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly less than twice the size of Texas
slightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico
Land boundariestotal: 7,908 km
border countries (7): Algeria 1,359 km, Burkina Faso 1,325 km, Cote d'Ivoire 599 km, Guinea 1,062 km, Mauritania 2,236 km, Niger 838 km, Senegal 489 km
total: 5,002 km
border countries (4): Algeria 460 km, Mali 2,236 km, Senegal 742 km, Western Sahara 1,564 km
Coastline0 km (landlocked)
754 km
Maritime claimsnone (landlocked)
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climatesubtropical to arid; hot and dry (February to June); rainy, humid, and mild (June to November); cool and dry (November to February)
desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty
Terrainmostly flat to rolling northern plains covered by sand; savanna in south, rugged hills in northeast
mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 343 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Senegal River 23 m
highest point: Hombori Tondo 1,155 m
mean elevation: 276 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Sebkhet Te-n-Dghamcha -5 m
highest point: Kediet Ijill 915 m
Natural resourcesgold, phosphates, kaolin, salt, limestone, uranium, gypsum, granite, hydropower
note: bauxite, iron ore, manganese, tin, and copper deposits are known but not exploited
iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish
Land useagricultural land: 34.1%
arable land 5.6%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 28.4%
forest: 10.2%
other: 55.7% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 38.5%
arable land 0.4%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 38.1%
forest: 0.2%
other: 61.3% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land3,780 sq km (2012)
450 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardshot, dust-laden harmattan haze common during dry seasons; recurring droughts; occasional Niger River flooding
hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind primarily in March and April; periodic droughts
Environment - current issuesdeforestation; soil erosion; desertification; inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching
overgrazing, deforestation, and soil erosion aggravated by drought are contributing to desertification; limited natural freshwater resources away from the Senegal, which is the only perennial river; locust infestation
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notelandlocked; divided into three natural zones: the southern, cultivated Sudanese; the central, semiarid Sahelian; and the northern, arid Saharan
Mauritania is considered both a part of North Africa's Maghreb region and West Africa's Sahel region; most of the population is concentrated in the cities of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou and along the Senegal River in the southern part of the country
Population distributionthe overwhelming majority of the population lives in the southern half of the country, with greater density along the border with Burkina Faso
with most of the country being a desert, vast areas of the country, particularly in the central, northern, and eastern areas, are without sizeable population clusters; half the population lives in or around the coastal capital of Nouakchott; smaller clusters are found near the southern border with Mali and Senegal

Demographics

MaliMauritania
Population17,467,108 (July 2016 est.)
3,677,293 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 47.27% (male 4,145,290/female 4,110,642)
15-24 years: 19.19% (male 1,601,474/female 1,751,161)
25-54 years: 26.82% (male 2,173,415/female 2,511,844)
55-64 years: 3.76% (male 327,923/female 329,296)
65 years and over: 2.95% (male 257,519/female 258,544) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 38.87% (male 717,790/female 711,694)
15-24 years: 19.86% (male 357,460/female 372,744)
25-54 years: 32.96% (male 561,341/female 650,580)
55-64 years: 4.61% (male 76,372/female 93,065)
65 years and over: 3.71% (male 57,814/female 78,433) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 16.2 years
male: 15.5 years
female: 16.8 years (2016 est.)
total: 20.3 years
male: 19.3 years
female: 21.2 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate2.96% (2016 est.)
2.2% (2016 est.)
Birth rate44.4 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
30.9 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate12.6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
8.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-2.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.86 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.82 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 100 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 106.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 93.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 53.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 58.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 48.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 55.8 years
male: 53.9 years
female: 57.7 years (2016 est.)
total population: 63 years
male: 60.7 years
female: 65.4 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate5.95 children born/woman (2016 est.)
3.93 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate1.25% (2015 est.)
0.57% (2015 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Malian(s)
adjective: Malian
noun: Mauritanian(s)
adjective: Mauritanian
Ethnic groupsBambara 34.1%, Fulani (Peul) 14.7%, Sarakole 10.8%, Senufo 10.5%, Dogon 8.9%, Malinke 8.7%, Bobo 2.9%, Songhai 1.6%, Tuareg 0.9%, other Malian 6.1%, from member of Economic Community of West African States 0.3%, other 0.4% (2012-13 est.)
black Moors (Haratines - Arab-speaking slaves, former slaves, and their descendants of African origin, enslaved by white Moors) 40%, white Moors (of Arab-Berber descent, known as Bidhan) 30%, Sub-Saharan Mauritanians (non-Arabic speaking, Halpulaar, Soninke, Wolof, and Bamara ethnic groups) 30%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS124,200 (2015 est.)
13,700 (2015 est.)
ReligionsMuslim 94.8%, Christian 2.4%, Animist 2%, none 0.5%, unspecified 0.3% (2009 est.)
Muslim (official) 100%
HIV/AIDS - deaths6,500 (2015 est.)
1,000 (2015 est.)
LanguagesFrench (official), Bambara 46.3%, Peul/Foulfoulbe 9.4%, Dogon 7.2%, Maraka/Soninke 6.4%, Malinke 5.6%, Sonrhai/Djerma 5.6%, Minianka 4.3%, Tamacheq 3.5%, Senoufo 2.6%, Bobo 2.1%, unspecified 0.7%, other 6.3%
note: Mali has 13 national languages in addition to its official language (2009 est.)
Arabic (official and national), Pular, Soninke, Wolof (all national languages), French
note: the spoken Arabic in Mauritania differs considerably from the modern standard Arabic used for official written purposes or in the media; the Mauritanian dialect, which incorporates many Berber words, is referred to as Hassaniya
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 38.7%
male: 48.2%
female: 29.2% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 52.1%
male: 62.6%
female: 41.6% (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 8 years
male: 9 years
female: 7 years (2011)
total: 9 years
male: 9 years
female: 9 years (2015)
Education expenditures3.6% of GDP (2014)
2.9% of GDP (2013)
Urbanizationurban population: 39.9% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 5.08% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 59.9% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.54% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 96.5% of population
rural: 64.1% of population
total: 77% of population
unimproved:
urban: 3.5% of population
rural: 35.9% of population
total: 23% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 58.4% of population
rural: 57.1% of population
total: 57.9% of population
unimproved:
urban: 41.6% of population
rural: 42.9% of population
total: 42.1% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 37.5% of population
rural: 16.1% of population
total: 24.7% of population
unimproved:
urban: 62.5% of population
rural: 83.9% of population
total: 75.3% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 57.5% of population
rural: 13.8% of population
total: 40% of population
unimproved:
urban: 42.5% of population
rural: 86.2% of population
total: 60% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationBAMAKO (capital) 2.515 million (2015)
NOUAKCHOTT (capital) 968,000 (2015)
Maternal mortality rate587 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
602 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight27.9% (2006)
19.5% (2012)
Health expenditures6.9% of GDP (2014)
3.8% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density0.09 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
0.13 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
Hospital bed density0.1 beds/1,000 population (2010)
0.4 beds/1,000 population (2006)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate5.7% (2014)
8.6% (2014)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 1,485,027
percentage: 36% (2010 est.)
total number: 127,251
percentage: 16% (2007 est.)
Demographic profileMali’s total population is expected to double by 2035; its capital Bamako is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa. A young age structure, a declining mortality rate, and a sustained high total fertility rate of 6 children per woman – the third highest in the world – ensure continued rapid population growth for the foreseeable future. Significant outmigration only marginally tempers this growth. Despite decreases, Mali’s infant, child, and maternal mortality rates remain among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa because of limited access to and adoption of family planning, early childbearing, short birth intervals, the prevalence of female genital cutting, infrequent use of skilled birth attendants, and a lack of emergency obstetrical and neonatal care.
Mali’s high total fertility rate has been virtually unchanged for decades, as a result of the ongoing preference for large families, early childbearing, the lack of female education and empowerment, poverty, and extremely low contraceptive use. Slowing Mali’s population growth by lowering its birth rate will be essential for poverty reduction, improving food security, and developing human capital and the economy.
Mali has a long history of seasonal migration and emigration driven by poverty, conflict, demographic pressure, unemployment, food insecurity, and droughts. Many Malians from rural areas migrate during the dry period to nearby villages and towns to do odd jobs or to adjoining countries to work in agriculture or mining. Pastoralists and nomads move seasonally to southern Mali or nearby coastal states. Others migrate long term to Mali’s urban areas, Cote d’Ivoire, other neighboring countries, and in smaller numbers to France, Mali’s former colonial ruler. Since the early 1990s, Mali’s role has grown as a transit country for regional migration flows and illegal migration to Europe. Human smugglers and traffickers exploit the same regional routes used for moving contraband drugs, arms, and cigarettes.
Between early 2012 and 2013, renewed fighting in northern Mali between government forces and Tuareg secessionists and their Islamist allies, a French-led international military intervention, as well as chronic food shortages, caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Malians. Most of those displaced domestically sought shelter in urban areas of southern Mali, except for pastoralist and nomadic groups, who abandoned their traditional routes, gave away or sold their livestock, and dispersed into the deserts of northern Mali or crossed into neighboring countries. Almost all Malians who took refuge abroad (mostly Tuareg and Maure pastoralists) stayed in the region, largely in Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso.
With a sustained total fertility rate of about 4 children per woman and almost 60% of the population under the age of 25, Mauritania’s population is likely to continue growing for the foreseeable future. Mauritania’s large youth cohort is vital to its development prospects, but available schooling does not adequately prepare students for the workplace. Girls continue to be underrepresented in the classroom, educational quality remains poor, and the dropout rate is high. The literacy rate is only about 50%, even though access to primary education has improved since the mid-2000s. Women’s restricted access to education and discriminatory laws maintain gender inequality – worsened by early and forced marriages and female genital cutting.
The denial of education to black Moors also helps to perpetuate slavery. Although Mauritania abolished slavery in 1981 (the last country in the world to do so) and made it a criminal offense in 2007, the millenniums-old practice persists largely because anti-slavery laws are rarely enforced and the custom is so ingrained. Up to 20% of Mauritania’s population is estimated to be enslaved, the highest rate worldwide.
Drought, poverty, and unemployment have driven outmigration from Mauritania since the 1970s. Early flows were directed toward other West African countries, including Senegal, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, and Gambia. The 1989 Mauritania-Senegal conflict forced thousands of black Mauritanians to take refuge in Senegal and pushed labor migrants toward the Gulf, Libya, and Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Mauritania has accepted migrants from neighboring countries to fill labor shortages since its independence in 1960 and more recently has received refugees escaping civil wars, including tens of thousands of Tuaregs who fled Mali in 2012.
Mauritania was an important transit point for sub-Saharan migrants moving illegally to North Africa and Europe. In the mid-2000s, as border patrols increased in the Strait of Gibraltar, security increased around Spain’s North African enclaves (Ceuta and Melilla), and Moroccan border controls intensified, illegal migration flows shifted from the Western Mediterranean to Spain’s Canary Islands. In 2006, departure points moved southward along the West African coast from Morocco and Western Sahara to Mauritania’s two key ports (Nouadhibou and the capital Nouakchott), and illegal migration to the Canaries peaked at almost 32,000. The numbers fell dramatically in the following years because of joint patrolling off the West African coast by Frontex (the EU’s border protection agency), Spain, Mauritania, and Senegal; the expansion of Spain’s border surveillance system; and the 2008 European economic downturn.
Contraceptive prevalence rate10.3% (2012/13)
11.4% (2011)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 100.2
youth dependency ratio: 95.1
elderly dependency ratio: 5
potential support ratio: 19.8 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 76.1
youth dependency ratio: 70.5
elderly dependency ratio: 5.7
potential support ratio: 17.7 (2015 est.)

Government

MaliMauritania
Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Mali
conventional short form: Mali
local long form: Republique de Mali
local short form: Mali
former: French Sudan and Sudanese Republic
etymology: name derives from the West African Mali Empire of the 13th to 16th centuries A.D.
conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Mauritania
conventional short form: Mauritania
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah
local short form: Muritaniyah
etymology: named for the ancient kingdom of Mauretania (3rd century B.C. to 1st century A.D.), which existed further north in present-day Morocco; the name derives from the Mauri (Moors), the Berber-speaking peoples of northwest Africa
Government typesemi-presidential republic
presidential republic
Capitalname: Bamako
geographic coordinates: 12 39 N, 8 00 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Nouakchott
geographic coordinates: 18 04 N, 15 58 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions8 regions (regions, singular - region), 1 district*; District de Bamako*, Gao, Kayes, Kidal, Koulikoro, Mopti, Segou, Sikasso, Tombouctou (Timbuktu); note - two new regions, Menaka and Taoudenni, were reportedly created in early 2016, but these have not yet been vetted by the US Board on Geographic Names
15 regions (wilayas, singular - wilaya); Adrar, Assaba, Brakna, Dakhlet Nouadhibou, Gorgol, Guidimaka, Hodh ech Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi, Inchiri, Nouakchott Nord, Nouakchott Ouest, Nouakchott Sud, Tagant, Tiris Zemmour, Trarza
Independence22 September 1960 (from France)
28 November 1960 (from France)
National holidayIndependence Day, 22 September (1960)
Independence Day, 28 November (1960)
Constitutionseveral previous; latest drafted August 1991, approved by referendum 12 January 1992, effective 25 February 1992; amended 1999, suspended briefly in 2012 (2016)
previous 1964; latest adopted 12 July 1991; amended 2004, 2006, 2012 (2016)
Legal systemcivil law system based on the French civil law model and influenced by customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Court
mixed legal system of Islamic and French civil law
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA (since 4 September 2013)
head of government: Prime Minister Abdoulaye Idrissa MAIGA (since 8 April 2017)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 28 July 2013 with a runoff on 11 August 2013 (election delayed from April 2012 due to a coup in March 2012); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA elected president in runoff; percent of vote - Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA (RPM) 77.6%, Soumaila CISSE (URD) 22.4%
chief of state: President Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ (since 5 August 2009); note - AZIZ deposed President Sidi Ould Cheikh ABDELLAHI in a coup and installed himself as president in August 2008; he subsequently retired from the military, stepped down from the appropriated presidency in April 2009 to run for the legitimate presidency; he was elected president in July 2009 and reelected in June 2014
head of government: Prime Minister Yahya Ould HADEMINE (since 21 August 2014)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 21 June 2014 (next to be held by 2019); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ elected president; percent of vote - Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ (UPR) 81.9%, Biram Dah ABEID (independent) 8.7%, Boidiel Ould HOUMEIT (El Wiam) 4.5%, Ibrahima Moctar SARR (SJD/MR) 4.4%, other 0.5%
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (147 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in two rounds if needed; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held in two rounds on 24 November and 15 December 2013 (next to be held in 2018); note - the scheduled July 2012 election was canceled due to a coup d'etat and the Tuareg Rebellion
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FDR coalition 69 (RPM 66, PARENA 3), ADP coalition 37 (ADEMA-PASG 16, URD 17, CNID 4), FARE 6, CODEM 5, SADI 5, ASMA-CFP 3, PDES 3, MPR 3, independent 4, other 12; note - 13 seats were from voters abroad
description: bicameral Parliament or Barlamane consists of the Senate or Majlis al-Shuyukh (56 seats; 53 members indirectly elected by municipal leaders by simple majority vote and 3 directly elected by Mauritanians abroad; members serve a 6-year term with one-third of membership renewed every 2 years) and the National Assembly or Al Jamiya Al Wataniya (146 seats; 106 members directly elected in single- and two-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in two rounds if needed and 40 directly elected in constituencies with three or more seats by proportional representation vote; members serve a 5-year term)
elections: Senate - last held on 23 November 2013 (next election scheduled for 2015 but delayed because of opposition party threats to boycott election); National Assembly - first round last held on 23 November and second round on 21 December 2013 (next to be held in 2018)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UPR 75, RNRD-TAWASSOUL 16, El Wiam 10, APP 7, El Karama Party 6, UDP 6, AJD/MR 4, Burst of Youth for the Nation 4, El Vadila Party 3, PRDR 3, PUD 3, Ravah Party 3, other 6; note - parties winning fewer than 3 seats sit as independents unless they join a coalition
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of 19 members organized into 3 civil chambers and a criminal chamber); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court members appointed by the Ministry of Justice to serve 5-year terms; Constitutional Court members selected - 3 each by the president, the National Assembly, and the Supreme Council of the Magistracy; members serve single renewable 7-year terms
subordinate courts: subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Court of Justice (jurisdiction limited to cases of high treason or criminal offenses by the president or ministers while in office); magistrate courts; first instance courts; labor dispute courts; special court of state security
highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (subdivided into 1 criminal and 2 civil chambers, each with a president and 5 counselors); Constitutional Council (consists of 6 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president appointed by the president of the republic to serve a 5-year renewable term; Constitutional Council members appointed - 3 by the president of the republic, 2 by the president of the National Assembly, and 1 by the president of the Senate; members serve single, 9-year terms with one-third of membership renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: High Court of Justice (cases involving treason and criminal acts of high government officials, including the president); courts of appeal; wilaya (regional) courts (located at the headquarters of each of the 13 regions); commercial and labor courts; criminal courts; moughataa (district) courts; informal/customary courts
Political parties and leadersAfrican Solidarity for Democracy and Independence or SADI [Oumar MARIKO]
Alliance for Democracy in Mali-Pan-African Party for Liberty, Solidarity, and Justice or ADEMA-PASJ [Dionconda TRAORE]
Alliance for Democracy and Progress or ADP (coalition including ADEMA and URD formed in December 2006 to support the presidential candidacy of Amadou TOURE)
Alliance for the Solidarity of Mali-Convergence of Patriotic Forces or ASMA-CFP [Soumeylou Boubeye MAIGA]
Alternative Forces for Renewal and Emergence or FARE [Modibo SIDIBE]
Convergence for the Development of Mali or CODEM [Housseyni Amion GUINDO]
Economic and Social Development Party or PDES [Jamille BITTAR]
Front for Democracy and the Republic or FDR (coalition including RPM and PARENA formed to oppose the presidential candidacy of Amadou TOURE)
National Congress for Democratic Initiative or CNID [Mountaga TALL]
Party for National Renewal or PARENA [Tiebile DRAME]
Patriotic Movement for Renewal or MPR [Choguel Kokalla MAIGA]
Rally for Mali or RPM [Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA] (ruling party)
Union for Republic and Democracy or URD [Younoussi TOURE]
Alliance for Justice and Democracy/Movement for Renewal or AJD/MR [Ibrahima Moctar SARR]
Burst of Youth for the Nation [Lalla CHERIVA]
Coalition for Pacific Alternation or CAP (coalition of opposition parties, including APP, El Wiam)
Coalition of Majority Parties or CPM (including UPR, UDP)
Coordination of Democratic Opposition or COD [Ahmed Ould DADDAH] (coalition including RNRD-TAWASSOUL)
El Karama Party [Cheikhna Ould Mohamed Ould HAJBOU]
El Vadila Party [Ethmane Ould Ahmed ABOULMAALY]
El Wiam [Boidiel Ould HOUMEIT]
National Rally for Reform and Development or RNRD-TAWASSOUL [Mohamed Jamil Ould MANSOUR]
Party for Liberty, Equality and Justice [Ba ALASSANE]
Party of Unity and Development or PUD [Mohamed BARO]
Popular Progressive Alliance or APP [Messaoud Ould BOULKHEIR]
Ravah Party
Republican Party for Democracy and Renewal or PRDR [Sidi Mohamed Ould Mohamed VALL]
Union for Democracy and Progress or UDP [Naha Mint MOUKNASS]
Union for Progress [Mohamed Ould MAOULOUD]
Union for the Republic or UPR [Sidi Mohamed Ould MAHAM]
Political pressure groups and leadersother: the army; Islamic authorities; state-run cotton company CMDT
Association of Women Heads of Family [Aminetou Mint El-MOCTAR]
General Confederation of Mauritanian Workers or CGTM [Abdallahi Ould MOHAMED, secretary general]
Independent Confederation of Mauritanian Workers or CLTM and El Hor [Samory Ould BEYE] (civil society organization)
Mauritanian Workers Union or UTM [Mohamed Ely Ould BRAHIM, secretary general]
SOS-Esclaves [Boubacar MESSAOUD] (anti-slavery group)
The Mauritanian Human Rights Association [Fatimata M'BAYE]
The National Forum for Democracy and Unity [Mohamed Jamil Ould MANSOUR]
The Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA-Mauritania) [Biram Dah ABEID] (anti-slavery group)

other: Arab nationalists; Ba'athists; Islamists; Nasserists
International organization participationACP, AfDB, AU, CD, ECOWAS, EITI (compliant country), FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
ABEDA, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, AU, CAEU (candidate), EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, MIUSMA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)
chancery: 2130 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-2249, 939-8950
FAX: [1] (202) 332-6603
chief of mission: Ambassador Mohamedoun DADDAH (since 27 June 2016)
chancery: 2129 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-5700 through 5701
FAX: [1] (202) 319-2623
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Paul A. FOLMSBEE (since 2015)
embassy: located just off the Roi Bin Fahad Aziz Bridge just west of the Bamako central district
mailing address: ACI 2000, Rue 243, Porte 297, Bamako
telephone: [223] 2070-2300
FAX: [223] 2070-2479
chief of mission: Ambassador Larry Edward ANDRE, Jr. (since 25 September 2014)
embassy: 288, rue 42-100 (rue Abdallaye), Nouakchott
mailing address: B.P. 222, Nouakchott
telephone: [222] 4525-2660 or [222] 2660-2663
FAX: [222] 4525-1592
Flag descriptionthree equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), yellow, and red
note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia; the colors from left to right are the same as those of neighboring Senegal (which has an additional green central star) and the reverse of those on the flag of neighboring Guinea
green with a yellow five-pointed star above a yellow, horizontal crescent; the closed side of the crescent is down; the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam; green also represents hope for a bright future; the yellow color stands for the sands of the Sahara
National anthem"name: ""Le Mali"" (Mali)
lyrics/music: Seydou Badian KOUYATE/Banzoumana SISSOKO
note: adopted 1962; also known as ""Pour L'Afrique et pour toi, Mali"" (For Africa and for You, Mali) and ""A ton appel Mali"" (At Your Call, Mali)
"
"name: ""Hymne National de la Republique Islamique de Mauritanie"" (National Anthem of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania)
lyrics/music: Baba Ould CHEIKH/traditional, arranged by Tolia NIKIPROWETZKY
note: adopted 1960; the unique rhythm of the Mauritanian anthem makes it particularly challenging to sing
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)Great Mosque of Djenne; national colors: green, yellow, red
star and crescent; national colors: green, yellow
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Mali
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Mauritania
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

MaliMauritania
Economy - overviewAmong the 25 poorest countries in the world, Mali is a landlocked country that depends on gold mining and agricultural exports for revenue. The country's fiscal status fluctuates with gold and agricultural commodity prices and the harvest; cotton and gold exports make up around 80% of export earnings. Mali remains dependent on foreign aid.

Economic activity is largely confined to the riverine area irrigated by the Niger River; about 65% of Mali’s land area is desert or semidesert. About 10% of the population is nomadic and about 80% of the labor force is engaged in farming and fishing. Industrial activity is concentrated on processing farm commodities. The government subsidizes the production of cereals to decrease the country’s dependence on imported foodstuffs and to reduce its vulnerability to food price shocks.

Mali is developing its iron ore extraction industry to diversify foreign exchange earnings away from gold, but the pace will depend on global price trends. Although the political coup in 2012 slowed Mali’s growth, the economy has since bounced back, with GDP growth above 5% in 2014-16, although physical insecurity, high population growth, corruption, weak infrastructure, and low levels of human capital continue to constrain economic development. Higher rainfall should help boost cotton output in 2017, and the country’s 2017 budget calls for a more than 10% increase in spending, much of which will be devoted to infrastructure and agriculture. However, strong downside risks exist in the form of renewed political turmoil. Corruption is endemic.
Mauritania's economy is dominated by extractive industries (oil and mines), fisheries and agriculture. Half the population still depends on farming and raising livestock, even though many nomads and subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s, 1980s and 2000s. Recently, GDP growth has been driven largely by foreign investment in the mining and oil sectors.

Mauritania's extensive mineral resources include iron ore, gold, copper, gypsum, and phosphate rock, and exploration is ongoing for Tantalum, uranium, crude oil, and natural gas. Extractive commodities make up about three-quarters of Mauritania's total exports, subjecting the economy to price swings in world commodity markets. Mining is also a growing source of government revenue, rising from 13% to 30% of total revenue from 2006 to 2016. The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world, and fishing accounts for about 20% of budget revenues, 45% of foreign currency earnings. Mauritania processes a total of 1,800,000 tons of fish per year, but overexploitation by foreign and national fleets threaten the sustainability of this key source of revenue.

The economy is highly sensitive to international food price and extractive commodity prices. Other risks to Mauritania's economy include its recurring droughts, dependence on foreign aid and investment, and insecurity in neighboring Mali, as well as significant shortages of infrastructure, institutional capacity, and human capital. Mauritania has sought additional IMF support by focusing efforts on poverty reduction. Investment in agriculture and infrastructure are the largest components of the country’s public expenditures.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$38.09 billion (2016 est.)
$36.16 billion (2015 est.)
$34.13 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$16.71 billion (2016 est.)
$16.19 billion (2015 est.)
$15.99 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate5.3% (2016 est.)
6% (2015 est.)
7% (2014 est.)
3.2% (2016 est.)
1.2% (2015 est.)
5.4% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$2,300 (2016 est.)
$2,200 (2015 est.)
$2,200 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$4,400 (2016 est.)
$4,400 (2015 est.)
$4,400 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 41%
industry: 18.6%
services: 40.4% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 24.1%
industry: 34.8%
services: 41.1% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line36.1% (2005 est.)
31% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 3.5%
highest 10%: 25.8% (2010 est.)
lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 29.5% (2000)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)-0.3% (2016 est.)
1.4% (2015 est.)
3.5% (2016 est.)
0.5% (2015 est.)
Labor force6.283 million (2016 est.)
1.356 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 80%
industry and services: 20% (2005 est.)
agriculture: 50%
industry: 1.9%
services: 48.1% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate30% (2015 est.)
8.1% (2014 est.)
12.8% (2016 est.)
31% (2014 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index40.1 (2001)
50.5 (1994)
37 (2014)
39 (2006 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $2.571 billion
expenditures: $3.112 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $1.143 billion
expenditures: $1.43 billion (2016 est.)
Industriesfood processing; construction; phosphate and gold mining
fish processing, oil production, mining (iron ore, gold, copper)
note: gypsum deposits have never been exploited
Industrial production growth rate1.5% (2016 est.)
-1.2% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productscotton, millet, rice, corn, vegetables, peanuts; cattle, sheep, goats
dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn; cattle, camel and sheep
Exports$2.79 billion (2016 est.)
$2.513 billion (2015 est.)
$1.212 billion (2016 est.)
$1.385 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiescotton, gold, livestock
iron ore, fish and fish products, livestock, gold, copper, crude oil
Exports - partnersSwitzerland 45.5%, India 14.4%, China 8.8%, Bangladesh 7.5%, Thailand 4.3%, Indonesia 4.1% (2015)
China 32.7%, Switzerland 11.1%, Spain 8.6%, Italy 6.7%, Cote dIvoire 6.6%, Japan 5.7% (2015)
Imports$2.904 billion (2016 est.)
$2.744 billion (2015 est.)
$1.643 billion (2016 est.)
$1.93 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiespetroleum, machinery and equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs, textiles
machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partnersCote dIvoire 10%, France 9.6%, Senegal 7.7%, China 7% (2015)
China 27.8%, France 6.9%, Morocco 5.6%, Spain 5.2%, Brazil 4.9%, US 4.4% (2015)
Debt - external$3.626 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.334 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$3.585 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.415 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesCommunaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -
605.7 (2016 est.)
591.16 (2015 est.)
591.16 (2014 est.)
494.42 (2013 est.)
510.53 (2012 est.)
ouguiyas (MRO) per US dollar -
341.6 (2016 est.)
319.7 (2015 est.)
319.7 (2014 est.)
299.5 (2013 est.)
296.6 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Current Account Balance-$1.12 billion (2016 est.)
-$955 million (2015 est.)
-$765 million (2016 est.)
-$956 million (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$14.1 billion (2016 est.)
$4.718 billion (2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
$NA
Central bank discount rate16% (31 December 2010)
4.25% (31 December 2009)
9% (31 December 2009)
12% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate9.3% (31 December 2016 est.)
9.3% (31 December 2015 est.)
17% (31 December 2016 est.)
17% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$3.267 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.822 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.753 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Taxes and other revenues18.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
24.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-3.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
-6.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 71.1%
government consumption: 17.6%
investment in fixed capital: 17.3%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 23.5%
imports of goods and services: -29.6% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 72.5%
government consumption: 23.8%
investment in fixed capital: 47%
investment in inventories: -7.2%
exports of goods and services: 25.7%
imports of goods and services: -61.8% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving13.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
20.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
19.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
22.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
18.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
25.2% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

MaliMauritania
Electricity - production1.5 billion kWh (2014 est.)
800 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption1.4 billion kWh (2014 est.)
800 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports0 kWh (2013 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports0 kWh (2013 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Oil - production0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
4,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
11,250 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves0 bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
20 million bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity600,000 kW (2014 est.)
518,600 kW (2015 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels48.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
66.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants51.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
33.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption7,500 bbl/day (2014 est.)
16,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports7,486 bbl/day (2013 est.)
16,390 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy800,000 Mt (2013 est.)
2.4 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 11,400,000
electrification - total population: 26%
electrification - urban areas: 53%
electrification - rural areas: 9% (2013)
population without electricity: 2,800,000
electrification - total population: 28%
electrification - urban areas: 47%
electrification - rural areas: 2% (2013)

Telecommunications

MaliMauritania
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 169,006
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 51,294
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 22.699 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 134 (July 2015 est.)
total: 3.644 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 101 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: domestic system improving; increasing use of local radio loops to extend network coverage to remote areas
domestic: fixed-line subscribership remains less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular subscribership has increased sharply to over 130 per 100 persons
international: country code - 223; satellite communications center and fiber-optic links to neighboring countries; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean, 1 Indian Ocean) (2015)
general assessment: limited system of cable and open-wire lines, minor microwave radio relay links, and radiotelephone communications stations; mobile-cellular services expanding rapidly
domestic: fixed-line teledensity 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular network coverage extends mainly to urban areas with a teledensity of roughly 100 per 100 persons; mostly cable and open-wire lines; a domestic satellite telecommunications system links Nouakchott with regional capitals
international: country code - 222; satellite earth stations - 3 (1 Intelsat - Atlantic Ocean, 2 Arabsat); fiber-optic and asymmetric digital subscriber line cables for Internet access (2015)
Internet country code.ml
.mr
Internet userstotal: 1.753 million
percent of population: 10.3% (July 2015 est.)
total: 547,000
percent of population: 15.2% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast medianational public TV broadcaster; 2 privately owned companies provide subscription services to foreign multi-channel TV packages; national public radio broadcaster supplemented by a large number of privately owned and community broadcast stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)
1 state-run TV (Television de Mauritanie) and one state-run radio network (Radio de Mauritanie); Television de Mauritanie has three channels, Al Mahadra station (for Islamic content) and Channels 1 and 2, which cover news, sports, and other programming; Radio de Mauritanie runs 12 regional stations, as well as a radio station for youth and the Holy Quran station; five private TV channels and five private radio stations also broadcast from Mauritania; six private international radio stations broadcast in Mauritania on the FM band; with satellite connections, Mauritanians also have access to hundreds of foreign TV channels (2013)

Transportation

MaliMauritania
Railwaystotal: 593 km
narrow gauge: 593 km 1.000-m gauge (2014)
total: 728 km
standard gauge: 728 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
Roadwaystotal: 22,474 km
paved: 5,522 km
unpaved: 16,952 km (2009)
total: 10,628 km
paved: 3,158 km
unpaved: 7,470 km (2010)
Waterways1,800 km (downstream of Koulikoro; low water levels on the River Niger cause problems in dry years; in the months before the rainy season the river is not navigable by commercial vessels) (2011)
(some navigation possible on the Senegal River) (2011)
Ports and terminalsriver port(s): Koulikoro (Niger)
major seaport(s): Nouadhibou, Nouakchott
Airports25 (2013)
30 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 8
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
total: 9
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 17
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 5 (2013)
total: 21
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 2 (2013)

Military

MaliMauritania
Military branchesMalian Armed Forces: Army (Armee de Terre), Republic of Mali Air Force (Force Aerienne de la Republique du Mali, FARM), National Guard (Garde National du Mali) (2013)
Mauritanian Armed Forces: Army, Mauritanian Navy (Marine Mauritanienne; includes naval infantry), Islamic Republic of Mauritania Air Group (Groupement Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie, GAIM) (2013)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for selective compulsory and voluntary military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2012)
18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP2.43% of GDP (2015)
1.56% of GDP (2014)
1.2% of GDP (2013)
1.2% of GDP (2012)
1.24% of GDP (2011)
2.67% of GDP (2014)
2.56% of GDP (2013)
2.72% of GDP (2012)

Transnational Issues

MaliMauritania
Disputes - internationaldemarcation is underway with Burkina Faso
Mauritanian claims to Western Sahara remain dormant
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 15,298 (Mauritania) (2016)
IDPs: 58,985 (Tuareg rebellion since 2012) (2017)
refugees (country of origin): 26,001 (Western Saharan - Sahrawis) (2016); 50,996 (Mali) (2017)
Trafficking in personscurrent situation: Mali is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; internal trafficking is more prevalent than transnational trafficking, but foreign women and girls are forced into domestic servitude, agricultural labor, and support roles in gold mines, as well as subjected to sex trafficking; Malian boys are forced to work in agricultural settings, gold mines, the informal commercial sector and to beg within Mali and neighboring countries; Malians and other Africans who travel through Mali to Mauritania, Algeria, or Libya in hopes of reaching Europe are particularly at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking; men and boys, primarily of Songhai ethnicity, are subjected to debt bondage in the salt mines of Taoudenni in northern Mali; some members of Mali's Tamachek community are subjected to hereditary slavery-related practices; Malian women and girls are victims of sex trafficking in Gabon, Libya, Lebanon, and Tunisia; the recruitment of child soldiers by armed groups in northern Mali decreased
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Mali does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, Mali was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has a written plan that, if implemented would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; officials failed to distribute the 2012 anti-trafficking law to judicial and law enforcement personnel, perpetuating a lack of understanding and awareness of the legislation; anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts decreased in 2014, with only one case investigated and no prosecutions or convictions; fewer victims were identified, and the government did not support the privately funded NGOs and international organizations it relied upon to provide victims with services; the government did not conduct any awareness-raising campaigns, workshops, or training sessions (2015)
current situation: Mauritania is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; adults and children from traditional slave castes are subjected to slavery-related practices rooted in ancestral master-slave relationships; Mauritanian boy students called talibes are trafficked within the country by religious teachers for forced begging; Mauritanian girls, as well as girls from Mali, Senegal, The Gambia, and other West African countries, are forced into domestic servitude; Mauritanian women and girls are forced into prostitution domestically or transported to countries in the Middle East for the same purpose, sometimes through forced marriages
tier rating: Tier 3 - Mauritania does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were negligible; one slavery case identified by an NGO was investigated, but no prosecutions or convictions were made, including among the 4,000 child labor cases NGOs referred to the police; the 2007 anti-slavery law remains ineffective because it requires slaves, most of whom are illiterate, to file their own legal complaint, and the government agency that can submit claims on them did not file any in 2014; authorities arrested, prosecuted, and convicted several anti-slavery activists; NGOs continued to provide the majority of protective services to trafficking victims without support from the government; some steps were taken to raise public awareness about human trafficking (2015)

Source: CIA Factbook