Country Summary

2022 population pyramid



Berbers moved south into the area of today's Mauritania beginning in the 3rd century. Beginning in the 8th century, Mauritania experienced a slow but constant infiltration of Arabs and Arab influence from the north. The French colonized Mauritania in the late 19th century. The country gained independence from France in 1960.



total: 1,030,700 sq km

land: 1,030,700 sq km

water: 0 sq km


desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty

Natural resources

iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish

People and Society


4,161,925 (2022 est.)

Ethnic groups

Black Moors (Haratines - Arabic-speaking descendants of African origin who are or were enslaved by White Moors) 40%, White Moors (of Arab-Berber descent, known as Beydane) 30%, Sub-Saharan Mauritanians (non-Arabic speaking, largely resident in or originating from the Senegal River Valley, including Halpulaar, Fulani, Soninke, Wolof, and Bambara ethnic groups) 30%


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


Muslim (official) 100%

Population growth rate

1.99% (2022 est.)


Government type

presidential republic


name: Nouakchott

Executive branch

chief of state: President Mohamed Ould Cheikh el GHAZOUANI (since 1 August 2019)

head of government: Prime Minister Mohamed Ould BILAL (since 6 August 2020)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament or Barlamane consists of the National Assembly or Al Jamiya Al Wataniya (157 seats statutory, 153 current term; 113 members in single- and multi-seat constituencies directly elected by a combination of plurality and proportional representation voting systems, 40 members in a single, nationwide constituency directly elected by proportional representation vote (20 seats are reserved for women candidates in the nationwide constituency) , and 4 members directly elected by the diaspora; all members serve 5-year terms)


Economic overview

lower middle-income West African economy; primarily agrarian; rising urbanization; poor property rights; systemic corruption; endemic social and workforce tensions; wide-scale terrorism; foreign over-fishing; environmentally fragile

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$23.17 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$5,000 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

rice, milk, goat milk, sheep milk, sorghum, mutton, beef, camel milk, camel meat, dates


fish processing, oil production, mining (iron ore, gold, copper)


$2.52 billion (2019 est.)

Exports - partners

China 32%, Switzerland 13%, Spain 9%, Japan 9%, Italy 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

iron ore, fish products, gold, mollusks, processed crustaceans (2019)


$3.68 billion (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

China 26%, France 6%, Spain 6%, Morocco 6%, United Arab Emirates 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

ships, aircraft, wheat, raw sugar, refined petroleum (2019)

Exchange rates

ouguiyas (MRO) per US dollar -

Page last updated: Thursday, July 28, 2022