Country Summary

2023 population pyramid



The Amazigh and Bafour people were among the earliest settlers in what is now Mauritania. The country gained independence from France in 1960. After years of dictatorships, flawed elections, and military coups, the country is now an emerging democracy.



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


total: 4,328,040
male: 2,083,690
female: 2,244,350 (2024 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-Amazigh 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 Tamazight words, is referred to as Hassaniya


Muslim (official) 100%

Population growth rate

1.92% (2024 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 (176 seats statutory; 88 members filled from one or two seat constituencies elected by a two-round majority system and the other 88 members filled from a single, nationwide constituency directly elected by proportional representation vote); 20 seats are reserved for women candidates in the nationwide constituency, 11 seats are reserved for young candidates (aged between 25 and 35), 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)

$25.245 billion (2022 est.)
$23.731 billion (2021 est.)
$23.557 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$5,300 (2022 est.)
$5,100 (2021 est.)
$5,200 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

rice, milk, sorghum, goat milk, sheep milk, lamb/mutton, beef, camel meat, camel milk, dates (2022)


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


$4.132 billion (2022 est.)
$3.18 billion (2021 est.)
$2.784 billion (2020 est.)

Exports - partners

China 24%, Canada 12%, UAE 12%, Spain 9%, Turkey 6% (2022)

Exports - commodities

gold, iron ore, fish, processed crustaceans, animal meal (2022)


$5.77 billion (2022 est.)
$4.312 billion (2021 est.)
$3.675 billion (2020 est.)

Imports - partners

China 18%, Spain 7%, Morocco 6%, UAE 6%, Indonesia 6% (2022)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, iron pipes, wheat, raw sugar, palm oil (2022)

Exchange rates

ouguiyas (MRO) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
36.063 (2021 est.)
37.189 (2020 est.)
36.691 (2019 est.)
35.678 (2018 est.)
35.794 (2017 est.)

Page last updated: Wednesday, May 22, 2024