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Africa :: Mauritania
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Mauritania
  • Introduction :: MAURITANIA

  • 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 2010.
  • Geography :: MAURITANIA

  • Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara
    20 00 N, 12 00 W
    Africa
    total: 1,030,700 sq km
    land: 1,030,700 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 29
    slightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico
    total: 5,002 km
    border countries (4): Algeria 460 km, Mali 2,236 km, Senegal 742 km, Western Sahara 1,564 km
    754 km
    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
    desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty
    mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills
    lowest point: Sebkhet Te-n-Dghamcha -5 m
    highest point: Kediet Ijill 915 m
    iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish
    agricultural land: 38.5%
    arable land 0.4%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 38.1%
    forest: 0.2%
    other: 61.3% (2011 est.)
    450.1 sq km (2004)
    11.4 cu km (2011)
    total: 1.35 cu km/yr (7%/2%/91%)
    per capita: 420.2 cu m/yr (2005)
    hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind primarily in March and April; periodic droughts
    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
    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
    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
  • People and Society :: MAURITANIA

  • noun: Mauritanian(s)
    adjective: Mauritanian
    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%, black Africans (non-Arabic speaking, Halpulaar, Soninke, Wolof, and Bamara ethnic groups) 30%
    Arabic (official and national), Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof (all national languages), French, Hassaniya (a variety of Arabic)
    Muslim (official) 100%
    3,596,702 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    0-14 years: 39.18% (male 707,528/female 701,681)
    15-24 years: 19.9% (male 350,283/female 365,578)
    25-54 years: 32.71% (male 544,670/female 631,891)
    55-64 years: 4.55% (male 73,737/female 90,000)
    65 years and over: 3.65% (male 55,736/female 75,598) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 75.7%
    youth dependency ratio: 70.1%
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.6%
    potential support ratio: 17.9% (2014 est.)
    total: 19.9 years
    male: 19 years
    female: 20.9 years (2014 est.)
    2.23% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    31.34 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    8.2 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    -0.83 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    urban population: 59.9% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 3.54% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    NOUAKCHOTT (capital) 945,000 (2014)
    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 (2015 est.)
    total: 54.68 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 59.61 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 49.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    total population: 62.65 years
    male: 60.35 years
    female: 65.02 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    4 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 39
    9.3% (2007)
    3.8% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 100
    0.13 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    0.4 beds/1,000 population (2006)
    improved:
    urban: 52.3% of population
    rural: 47.7% of population
    total: 49.6% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 47.7% of population
    rural: 52.3% of population
    total: 50.4% of population (2012 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 51.1% of population
    rural: 9.2% of population
    total: 26.7% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 48.9% of population
    rural: 90.8% of population
    total: 73.3% of population (2012 est.)
    0.4% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    10,500 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    800 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    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 (2013)
    8.6% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    19.5% (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 32
    3.8% of GDP (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 52.1%
    male: 62.6%
    female: 41.6% (2015 est.)
    total: 9 years
    male: 9 years
    female: 8 years (2013)
    total number: 127,251
    percentage: 16% (2007 est.)
  • Government :: MAURITANIA

  • conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Mauritania
    conventional short form: Mauritania
    local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah
    local short form: Muritaniyah
    presidential republic
    name: Nouakchott
    geographic coordinates: 18 04 N, 15 58 W
    time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    13 regions (wilayas, singular - wilaya); Adrar, Assaba, Brakna, Dakhlet Nouadhibou, Gorgol, Guidimaka, Hodh ech Chargui, Hodh el Gharbi, Inchiri, Nouakchott, Tagant, Tiris Zemmour, Trarza
    28 November 1960 (from France)
    Independence Day, 28 November (1960)
    previous 1964; latest adopted 12 July 1991; amended 2006, 2012 (2012)
    mixed legal system of Islamic and French civil law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ (since 5 August 2009); note - AZIZ, who deposed democratically elected President Sidi Ould Cheikh ABDELLAHI in a coup and installed himself as President of the High State Council on 6 August 2008, retired from the military and stepped down from the presidency in April 2009 to run for president; he was elected president on 18 July 2009 and reelected on 21 June 2014
    head of government: Prime Minister Yahya Ould HADEMINE (since 20 August 2014)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held on 21 June 2014 (next to be held by 2019)
    election results: Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ reelected president; percent of vote - Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ 81.9%, Biram Dah ABEID 8.7%, Boidiel Ould HOUMEIT 4.5%, Ibrahima Moctar SARR 4.4%, other .5%
    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 6-year terms) 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 5-year terms)
    elections: Senate - last held on 8 and 15 November 2009 (next to be held in 2014); 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 - CPM (Coalition of Majority Parties) 14, RNRD-TAWASSOUL 1, independent 2; 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, Surge of Youth for the Nation 4, El Vadila Party 3, PRDR 3, PUD 3, Ravah Party 3, other 6
    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); 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
    Alliance for Justice and Democracy/Movement for Renewal or AJD/MR [Ibrahima Moctar SARR]
    Alternative or El-Badil [Mohamed Yahdhi Ould MOCTAR HACEN]
    Coalition of Majority Parties or CPM (parties supporting the regime including PRDR, UPR, UDP, RD, HATEM-PMUC, UCD)
    Coalition for Pacific Alternation or CAP (coalition of opposition parties, including APP, El Wiam, and Sawab)
    Coordination of Democratic Opposition or COD [Ahmed Ould DADDAH] (coalition of 11 opposition political parties including RNRD-TAWASSOUL, RFD, UFP, PNDD-ADIL, Alternative or El-Badil)
    Democratic Renewal or RD [Moustapha Ould ABDEIDARRAHMANE]
    El Karama Party [Cheikhna Ould Mohamed Ould HAJBOU]
    El Vadila Party [Ethmane Ould Ahmed ABOULMAALY]
    El Wiam [Boidiel Ould HOUMEIT]
    Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (Biram Dah ABEID]
    Mauritanian Party for Unity and Change or HATEM-PMUC [Saleh Ould HANENA] (Nasserist Arab Nationalists)
    National Pact for Democracy and Development or PNDD-ADIL [Yahya Ould Ahmed El WAGHEF] (independents formerly supporting President ABDELLAHI)
    National Rally for Freedom, Democracy and Equality or RNLDE
    National Rally for Reform and Development or RNRD-TAWASSOUL [Mohamed Jamil MANSOUR] (moderate Islamists)
    Party of Unity and Development or PUD [Mohamed BARO]
    Popular Front or FP [Mohamed Lemine Ch'bih Ould CHEIKH MALAININE]
    Popular Progressive Alliance or APP [Messaoud Ould BOULKHEIR]
    Rally of Democratic Forces or RFD [Ahmed Ould DADDAH]
    Ravah Party
    Republican Party for Democracy and Renewal or PRDR [Mintata Mint HIDEID]
    Sawab [Abdel Salem Ould HORMA] (Ba'athists)
    Socialist and Democratic Unity Party or PUDS [Mahfouz Weld AZIZ]
    Surge of Youth for the Nation [Lalla CHERIVA]
    Union for Democracy and Progress or UDP [Naha Mint MOUKNASS]
    Union for the Republic or UPR [Sidi Mohamed Ould MAHAM] (ruling party)
    Union of Democratic Center or UCD [Cheikh Sid'Ahmed Ould BABA]
    Union of the Forces for Progress or UFP [Mohamed Ould MAOULOUD]
    General Confederation of Mauritanian Workers or CGTM [Abdallahi Ould MOHAMED, secretary general]
    Independent Confederation of Mauritanian Workers or CLTM and El Hor (civil society organization) [Samory Ould BEYE]
    Mauritanian Workers Union or UTM [Mohamed Ely Ould BRAHIM, secretary general]
    SOS-Esclaves [Boubacar MESSAOUD] (anti-slavery group)
    other: Arab nationalists; Ba'athists; Islamists; Nasserists
    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
    chief of mission: Ambassador Mohamed Lemine El HAYCEN (since 28 July 2010)
    chancery: 2129 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 232-5700 through 5701
    FAX: [1] (202) 319-2623
    chief of mission: Ambassador Larry Edward ANDRE, Jr. (since 25 September 2014)
    embassy: 288 Rue Abdallaye, Rue 42-100 (between Presidency building and Spanish Embassy), Nouakchott
    mailing address: BP 222, Nouakchott
    telephone: [222] 4525-2660, -2663
    FAX: [222] 4525-1592
    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
    star and crescent; national colors: green, yellow
    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
  • Economy :: MAURITANIA

  • Mauritania's economy is dominated by natural resources and agriculture. Half the population still depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though many of the nomads and subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s and 1980s. Recently, GDP growth has been driven 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 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 29% of total revenue between 2006 and 2013. China was Mauritania’s main export and import partner 2013. The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world, and fishing accounts for about 25% of budget revenues, but overexploitation by foreigners threatens this key source of revenue. 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.
    $15.53 billion (2014 est.)
    $14.59 billion (2013 est.)
    $13.81 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 155
    $5.079 billion (2014 est.)
    6.4% (2014 est.)
    5.7% (2013 est.)
    6% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    $4,300 (2014 est.)
    $4,000 (2013 est.)
    $3,800 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 182
    20% of GDP (2014 est.)
    25.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
    31.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    household consumption: 50.9%
    government consumption: 29.5%
    investment in fixed capital: 60.6%
    investment in inventories: 5.2%
    exports of goods and services: 35.2%
    imports of goods and services: -81.4%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 17.1%
    industry: 48.7%
    services: 34.2% (2014 est.)
    dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn; cattle, sheep
    fish processing, oil production, mining (iron ore, gold, copper)
    note: gypsum deposits have never been exploited
    10% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    1.292 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    agriculture: 50%
    industry: 2%
    services: 48% (2001 est.)
    31% (2012 est.)
    30% (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    40% (2004 est.)
    lowest 10%: 2.5%
    highest 10%: 29.5% (2000)
    39 (2000)
    37.3 (1995)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    revenues: $1.953 billion
    expenditures: $1.999 billion (2014 est.)
    45.6% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    -1.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 62
    calendar year
    3.5% (2014 est.)
    4.1% (2013 est.)
    9% (31 December 2009)
    12% (31 December 2007)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    18% (31 December 2014 est.)
    18% (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    $1.895 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $1.726 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    $NA
    -$1.403 billion (2014 est.)
    -$1.367 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    $2.573 billion (2014 est.)
    $2.738 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    iron ore, fish and fish products, gold, copper, petroleum
    China 55.4%, Italy 8.1%, Japan 4.7%, US 4.2% (2013)
    $3.489 billion (2014 est.)
    $3.413 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 143
    machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
    China 15.8%, Netherlands 13.6%, France 7.6%, US 6.5%, Brazil 4.8%, Spain 4.7%, Belgium 4.5% (2013)
    $3.996 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $3.702 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    ouguiyas (MRO) per US dollar -
    299.5 (2014 est.)
    298.5 (2013 est.)
    296.6 (2012 est.)
    281.12 (2011 est.)
    275.89 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: MAURITANIA

  • 930 million kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    864.9 million kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    293,000 kW (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    66.9% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    33.1% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    6,750 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    7,337 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    20 million bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    17,870 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 200
    12,810 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 100
    28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    2.408 million Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
  • Communications :: MAURITANIA

  • 65,100 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 157
    4.024 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    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: Mauritel, the national telecommunications company, was privatized in 2001 but remains the monopoly provider of fixed-line services; fixed-line teledensity 2 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular network coverage extends mainly to urban areas with a teledensity of roughly 106 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 (2009)
    one 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)
    AM 1, FM 14, shortwave 1 (2001)
    1 (2002)
    .mr
    22 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 220
    75,000 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 166
  • Transportation :: MAURITANIA

  • 30 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    total: 9
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (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)
    total: 728 km
    standard gauge: 728 km 1.435-m gauge (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 100
    total: 10,628 km
    paved: 3,158 km
    unpaved: 7,470 km (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    (some navigation possible on the Senegal River) (2011)
    major seaport(s): Nouadhibou, Nouakchott
  • Military :: MAURITANIA

  • Mauritanian Armed Forces: Army, Mauritanian Navy (Marine Mauritanienne; includes naval infantry), Islamic Republic of Mauritania Air Group (Groupement Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie, GAIM) (2013)
    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
    males age 16-49: 718,713
    females age 16-49: 804,622 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 480,042
    females age 16-49: 581,473 (2010 est.)
    male: 36,116
    female: 36,826 (2010 est.)
  • Transnational Issues :: MAURITANIA

  • Mauritanian claims to Western Sahara remain dormant
    refugees (country of origin): 26,001 (Western Saharan - Sahrawis) (2014); 49,811 (Mali) (2015)
    current situation: Mauritania is a source, transit, 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 talibe 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
    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; in 2013, law enforcement and judicial personnel thwarted the progress of criminal prosecutions for human trafficking by intervening on the behalf of alleged offenders; the government did not provide adequate protective services to victims or ensure their referral to NGOs, which provide the majority of care to trafficking victims without financial support from the government; the absence of measures in place to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations may have led to victims being punished for acts committed as a result of being trafficked; the effectiveness of the 2007 anti-slavery law remains impaired because slaves, many of whom are illiterate, are unable to file the required legal complaint; NGOs are barred from lodging cases on behalf of slaves, and the national agency to fight slavery became operational in 2013 but did not submit any criminal complaints for victims (2014)
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