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Mauritania Economy

Mauritania    Economy Top of Page
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 half 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 the past, 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). Mauritania withdrew its membership in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2000. Privatization and debt relief are in full swing, and the rate of economic growth appears to be accelerating, especially in the construction, telecommunication, and information sectors. Diamonds and petroleum are beginning to be explored and exploited.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $5.4 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2,000 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture:  25%

industry:  31%

services:  44% (1997)
Population below poverty line: 50% (1996 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%:  2.3%

highest 10%:  29.9% (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.5% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 750,000 (1999)
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: 2.2% (1999)
Electricity - production: 151 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel:  82.78%

hydro:  17.22%

nuclear:  0%

other:  0% (1999)
Electricity - consumption: 140.4 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products: dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn, dates; cattle, sheep
Exports: $333 million (f.o.b., 1999)
Exports - commodities: iron ore, fish and fish products, gold
Exports - partners: Japan 18%, France 17%, Italy 16%, Spain 11% (1998)
Imports: $305 million (f.o.b., 1999)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partners: France 27%, Benelux 9%, Germany 7%, Spain 7% (1998)
Debt - external: $2.1 billion (1999)
Economic aid - recipient: $300 million (1998)
Currency: ouguiya (MRO)
Currency code: MRO
Exchange rates: ouguiyas per US dollar - 250.870 (December 2000), 238.923 (2000), 209.514 (1999), 188.476 (1998), 151.853 (1997), 137.222 (1996)
Fiscal year: calendar year


Countryfacts Information Courtesy: CIA Worldbook

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