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Mauritania - Open Map
Introduction | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Communication | Transportation | Military

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Economy

Economy - overview: A majority of the population still depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though most of the nomads and many subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s and 1980s. Mauritania has extensive deposits of iron ore, which account for almost 50% of total exports. The decline in world demand for this ore, however, has led to cutbacks in production. The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world, but overexploitation by foreigners threatens this key source of revenue. The country's first deepwater port opened near Nouakchott in 1986. In recent years, drought and economic mismanagement have resulted in a buildup of foreign debt. In March 1999, the government signed an agreement with a joint World Bank-IMF mission on a $54 million enhanced structural adjustment facility (ESAF). The economic objectives have been set for 1999-2002. Privatization remains one of the key issues. Mauritania is unlikely to meet ESAF's annual GDP growth objectives of 4%-5%.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $4.9 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 3.7% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,910 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 25%
industry: 31%
services: 44% (1997)

Population below poverty line: 57% (1990 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.7%
highest 10%: 30.4% (1988)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 9.8% (1998)

Labor force: 465,000 (1981 est.); 45,000 wage earners (1980)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 47%, services 39%, industry 14%

Unemployment rate: 23% (1995 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $329 million
expenditures: $265 million, including capital expenditures of $75 million (1996 est.)

Industries: fish processing, mining of iron ore and gypsum

Industrial production growth rate: 7.2% (1994)

Electricity - production: 152 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 80.26%
hydro: 19.74%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 141 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: dates, millet, sorghum, root crops; cattle, sheep; fish products

Exports: $425 million (f.o.b., 1997)

Exports - commodities: fish and fish products, iron ore, gold

Exports - partners: Japan 24%, Italy 17%, France 14%, Spain 8% (1997)

Imports: $444 million (f.o.b., 1997)

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods

Imports - partners: France 26%, Spain 8%, Germany 7%, Benelux 7% (1997)

Debt - external: $2.5 billion (1997)

Economic aid - recipient: $227.9 million (1995)

Currency: 1 ouguiya (UM) = 5 khoums

Exchange rates: ouguiyas (UM) per US$1 - 219.560 (December 1999), 209.514 (1999), 188.476 (1998), 151.853 (1997), 137.222 (1996), 129.768 (1995)

Fiscal year: calendar year



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