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Mauritania vs. Western Sahara

Introduction

MauritaniaWestern Sahara
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 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.
"
Western Sahara is a disputed territory on the northwest coast of Africa bordered by Morocco, Mauritania, and Algeria. After Spain withdrew from its former colony of Spanish Sahara in 1976, Morocco annexed the northern two-thirds of Western Sahara and claimed the rest of the territory in 1979, following Mauritania's withdrawal. A guerrilla war with the Polisario Front contesting Morocco's sovereignty ended in a 1991 cease-fire and the establishment of a UN peacekeeping operation. As part of this effort, the UN sought to offer a choice to the peoples of Western Sahara between independence (favored by the Polisario Front) or integration into Morocco. A proposed referendum never took place due to lack of agreement on voter eligibility. The 2,700 km- (1,700 mi-) long defensive sand berm, built by the Moroccans from 1980 to 1987 and running the length of the territory, continues to separate the opposing forces with Morocco controlling the roughly 80 percent of the territory west of the berm. Local demonstrations criticizing the Moroccan authorities occur regularly, and there are periodic ethnic tensions between the native Sahrawi population and Moroccan immigrants. Morocco maintains a heavy security presence in the territory.

Geography

MauritaniaWestern Sahara
LocationWestern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara
Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Mauritania and Morocco
Geographic coordinates20 00 N, 12 00 W
24 30 N, 13 00 W
Map referencesAfrica
Africa
Areatotal: 1,030,700 sq km
land: 1,030,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
total: 266,000 sq km
land: 266,000 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico
about the size of Colorado
Land boundariestotal: 5,002 km
border countries (4): Algeria 460 km, Mali 2,236 km, Senegal 742 km, Western Sahara 1,564 km
total: 2,049 km
border countries (3): Algeria 41 km, Mauritania 1,564 km, Morocco 444 km
Coastline754 km
1,110 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
contingent upon resolution of sovereignty issue
Climatedesert; constantly hot, dry, dusty
hot, dry desert; rain is rare; cold offshore air currents produce fog and heavy dew
Terrainmostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills
mostly low, flat desert with large areas of rocky or sandy surfaces rising to small mountains in south and northeast
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 276 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Sebkhet Te-n-Dghamcha -5 m
highest point: Kediet Ijill 915 m
mean elevation: 256 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Sebjet Tah -55 m
highest point: unnamed elevation 805 m
Natural resourcesiron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish
phosphates, iron ore
Land useagricultural land: 38.5%
arable land 0.4%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 38.1%
forest: 0.2%
other: 61.3% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 18.8%
arable land 0%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 18.8%
forest: 2.7%
other: 78.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land450 sq km (2012)
0 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardshot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind primarily in March and April; periodic droughts
hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind can occur during winter and spring; widespread harmattan haze exists 60% of time, often severely restricting visibility
Environment - current issuesovergrazing, 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
sparse water and lack of arable land
Geography - noteMauritania 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
the waters off the coast are particularly rich fishing areas
Population distributionwith 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
most of the population lives in the two-thirds of the area west of the berm (Moroccan-occupied) that divides the territory; about 40% of that populace resides in Laayoune

Demographics

MauritaniaWestern Sahara
Population3,677,293 (July 2016 est.)
587,020
note: estimate is based on projections by age, sex, fertility, mortality, and migration; fertility and mortality are based on data from neighboring countries (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 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.)
0-14 years: 37.54% (male 111,389/female 108,958)
15-24 years: 19.57% (male 57,855/female 57,049)
25-54 years: 34.14% (male 98,659/female 101,733)
55-64 years: 4.95% (male 13,552/female 15,490)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 9,823/female 12,512) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 20.3 years
male: 19.3 years
female: 21.2 years (2016 est.)
total: 21.1 years
male: 20.7 years
female: 21.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate2.2% (2016 est.)
2.76% (2016 est.)
Birth rate30.9 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
29.8 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate8.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
8.2 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.96 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.)
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 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.)
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: 63 years
male: 60.7 years
female: 65.4 years (2016 est.)
total population: 63 years
male: 60.7 years
female: 65.4 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate3.93 children born/woman (2016 est.)
3.93 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.57% (2015 est.)
NA
Nationalitynoun: Mauritanian(s)
adjective: Mauritanian
noun: Sahrawi(s), Sahraoui(s)
adjective: Sahrawi, Sahrawian, Sahraouian
Ethnic groupsblack 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%
Arab, Berber
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS13,700 (2015 est.)
NA
ReligionsMuslim (official) 100%
Muslim
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,000 (2015 est.)
NA
LanguagesArabic (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
Standard Arabic (national), Hassaniya Arabic, Moroccan Arabic
Urbanizationurban population: 59.9% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.54% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 80.9% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.27% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major cities - populationNOUAKCHOTT (capital) 968,000 (2015)
Laayoune 262,000 (2014)
Demographic profileWith 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.
Western Sahara is a disputed territory; 85% is under Moroccan control. It was inhabited almost entirely by Sahrawi pastoral nomads until the mid-20th century. Their traditional vast migratory ranges, based on following unpredictable rainfall, did not coincide with colonial and later international borders. Since the 1930s, most Sahrawis have been compelled to adopt a sedentary lifestyle and to live in urban settings as a result of fighting, the presence of minefields, job opportunities in the phosphate industry, prolonged drought, the closure of Western Sahara’s border with Mauritania from 1979-2002, and the construction of the defensive berm separating Moroccan- and Polisario-controlled (Sahrawi liberalization movement) areas. Morocco supported rapid urbanization to facilitate surveillance and security.
Today more than 80% of Western Sahara’s population lives in urban areas; more than 40% live in the administrative center Laayoune. Moroccan immigration has altered the composition and dramatically increased the size of Western Sahara’s population. Morocco maintains a large military presence in Western Sahara and has encouraged its citizens to settle there, offering bonuses, pay raises, and food subsidies to civil servants and a tax exemption, in order to integrate Western Sahara into the Moroccan Kingdom and, Sahrawis contend, to marginalize the native population.
Western Saharan Sahrawis have been migrating to Europe, principally to former colonial ruler Spain, since the 1950s. Many who moved to refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, also have migrated to Spain and Italy, usually alternating between living in cities abroad with periods back at the camps. The Polisario claims that the population of the Tindouf camps is about 155,000, but this figure may include thousands of Arabs and Tuaregs from neighboring countries. Because international organizations have been unable to conduct an independent census in Tindouf, the UNHCR bases its aid on a figure of 90,000 refugees. Western Saharan coastal towns emerged as key migration transit points (for reaching Spain’s Canary Islands) in the mid-1990s, when Spain’s and Italy’s tightening of visa restrictions and EU pressure on Morocco and other North African countries to control illegal migration pushed sub-Saharan African migrants to shift their routes to the south.
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 76.1
youth dependency ratio: 70.5
elderly dependency ratio: 5.7
potential support ratio: 17.7 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 40.2
youth dependency ratio: 36.1
elderly dependency ratio: 4.1
potential support ratio: 24.4 (2015 est.)

Government

MauritaniaWestern Sahara
Country nameconventional 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
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Western Sahara
former: Rio de Oro, Saguia el Hamra, Spanish Sahara
etymology: self-descriptive name specifying the territory's western location on the African continent's vast desert
Government typepresidential republic
legal status of territory and issue of sovereignty unresolved - territory contested by Morocco and Polisario Front (Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro), which in February 1976 formally proclaimed a government-in-exile of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), near Tindouf, Algeria, was led by President Mohamed ABDELAZIZ until his death in May 2016; current President Brahim GHALI elected in July 2016; territory partitioned between Morocco and Mauritania in April 1976 when Spain withdrew, with Morocco acquiring northern two-thirds; Mauritania, under pressure from Polisario guerrillas, abandoned all claims to its portion in August 1979; Morocco moved to occupy that sector shortly thereafter and has since asserted administrative control; the Polisario's government-in-exile was seated as an Organization of African Unity (OAU) member in 1984 - Morocco between 1980 and 1987 built a fortified sand berm delineating the roughly 80 percent of Western Sahara west of the barrier that currently is controlled by Morocco; guerrilla activities continued sporadically until a UN-monitored cease-fire was implemented on 6 September 1991 (Security Council Resolution 690) by the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO)
Capitalname: Nouakchott
geographic coordinates: 18 04 N, 15 58 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Laayoune (administrative center)
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in April; ends last Sunday in September
Administrative divisions15 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
none officially; the territory west of the Moroccan berm falls under de facto Moroccan control; Morocco claims the territory of Western Sahara, the political status of which is considered undetermined by the US Government; portions of the regions Guelmim-Es Smara and Laayoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra, as claimed by Morocco, lie within Western Sahara; Morocco also claims Oued Eddahab-Lagouira, another region that falls entirely within Western Sahara
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
none; (residents of Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara participate in Moroccan elections)
Executive branchchief 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%
none
Political pressure groups and leadersAssociation 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
Polisario Front
International organization participationABEDA, 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
AU, CAN (observer), WFTU (NGOs)
Diplomatic representation in the USchief 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
none
Diplomatic representation from the USchief 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
none

Economy

MauritaniaWestern Sahara
Economy - overviewMauritania'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.
Western Sahara has a small market-based economy whose main industries are fishing, phosphate mining, and pastoral nomadism. The territory's arid desert climate makes sedentary agriculture difficult, and Western Sahara imports much of its food. The Moroccan Government administers Western Sahara's economy and is a key source of employment, infrastructure development, and social spending in the territory.

Western Sahara's unresolved legal status makes the exploitation of its natural resources a contentious issue between Morocco and the Polisario. Morocco and the EU in December 2013 finalized a four-year agreement allowing European vessels to fish off the coast of Morocco, including disputed waters off the coast of Western Sahara.

Oil has never been found in Western Sahara in commercially significant quantities, but Morocco and the Polisario have quarreled over who has the right to authorize and benefit from oil exploration in the territory. Western Sahara's main long-term economic challenge is the development of a more diverse set of industries capable of providing greater employment and income to the territory. However, following King MOHAMMED VI’s November 2015 visit to Western Sahara, the Government of Morocco announced a series of investments aimed at spurring economic activity in the region, while the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises announced a $609 million investment initiative in the region in March 2015.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$16.71 billion (2016 est.)
$16.19 billion (2015 est.)
$15.99 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$906.5 million (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate3.2% (2016 est.)
1.2% (2015 est.)
5.4% (2014 est.)
NA%
GDP - per capita (PPP)$4,400 (2016 est.)
$4,400 (2015 est.)
$4,400 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$2,500 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 24.1%
industry: 34.8%
services: 41.1% (2016 est.)
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: 40% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line31% (2014 est.)
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 29.5% (2000)
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices)3.5% (2016 est.)
0.5% (2015 est.)
NA%
Labor force1.356 million (2016 est.)
144,000 (2010 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 50%
industry: 1.9%
services: 48.1% (2014 est.)
agriculture: 50%
industry and services: 50% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate12.8% (2016 est.)
31% (2014 est.)
NA%
Budgetrevenues: $1.143 billion
expenditures: $1.43 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
Industriesfish processing, oil production, mining (iron ore, gold, copper)
note: gypsum deposits have never been exploited
phosphate mining, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate-1.2% (2016 est.)
NA%
Agriculture - productsdates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn; cattle, camel and sheep
fruits and vegetables (grown in the few oases); camels, sheep, goats (kept by nomads); fish
Exports$1.212 billion (2016 est.)
$1.385 billion (2015 est.)
$NA
Exports - commoditiesiron ore, fish and fish products, livestock, gold, copper, crude oil
phosphates 62% (2012 est.)
Imports$1.643 billion (2016 est.)
$1.93 billion (2015 est.)
$NA
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
fuel for fishing fleet, foodstuffs
Debt - external$3.585 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.415 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$NA
Exchange ratesouguiyas (MRO) per US dollar -
341.6 (2016 est.)
319.7 (2015 est.)
319.7 (2014 est.)
299.5 (2013 est.)
296.6 (2012 est.)
Moroccan dirhams (MAD) per US dollar -
9.929 (2016 est.)
9.7351 (2015 est.)
9.7351 (2013)
8.3803 (2013)
8.6 (2012)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
GDP (official exchange rate)$4.718 billion (2016 est.)
$NA
Taxes and other revenues24.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
NA%
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-6.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
NA%

Energy

MauritaniaWestern Sahara
Electricity - production800 million kWh (2014 est.)
90 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption800 million kWh (2014 est.)
83.7 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports0 kWh (2013 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports0 kWh (2013 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Oil - production4,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports11,250 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves20 million bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
0 bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
0 cu m (1 January 2014 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 capacity518,600 kW (2015 est.)
58,000 kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels66.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants33.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% 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 - consumption16,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
1,700 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports16,390 bbl/day (2013 est.)
1,702 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy2.4 million Mt (2013 est.)
300,000 Mt (2013 est.)

Telecommunications

MauritaniaWestern Sahara
Telephone systemgeneral 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)
general assessment: sparse and limited system
domestic: NA
international: country code - 212; tied into Morocco's system by microwave radio relay, tropospheric scatter, and satellite; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) linked to Rabat, Morocco (2015)
Internet country code.mr
.eh
Broadcast media1 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)
Morocco's state-owned broadcaster, Radio-Television Marocaine (RTM), operates a radio service from Laayoune and relays TV service; a Polisario-backed radio station also broadcasts (2008)

Transportation

MauritaniaWestern Sahara
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Nouadhibou, Nouakchott
major seaport(s): Ad Dakhla, Laayoune (El Aaiun)
Airports30 (2013)
6 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 9
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2013)
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 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)
total: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Transnational Issues

MauritaniaWestern Sahara
Disputes - internationalMauritanian claims to Western Sahara remain dormant
"many neighboring states reject Moroccan administration of Western Sahara; several states have extended diplomatic relations to the ""Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic"" represented by the Polisario Front in exile in Algeria, while others recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara; approximately 90,000 Sahrawi refugees continue to be sheltered in camps in Tindouf, Algeria, which has hosted Sahrawi refugees since the 1980s
"

Source: CIA Factbook