Mauritania Flag Icon

Mauritania Country Guide

Explore Mauritania in Africa

Travel warning information is updated daily: The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's advisory service suggests to reconsider your need to travel to this country. Take this advice seriously - check with your local authorities whether your exact destination is safe.

Mauritania with the capital city Nouakchott is located in Africa (Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean). It covers some 1,030,701 square kilometres (slightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico) with 3,364,000 citizens.

Map of the area of  in

The terrain features mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara having some central hills. The average density of population is approximately 3 per km². The notable climate conditions in Mauritania can be described as desert with constantly hot, dry, dusty. Potential natural disasters are hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind blows primarily in March and April or periodic droughts.

To reach someone in Mauritania dial +222 prior to a number. There are 74,500 installed telephones. And there are 2,182,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".mr". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 220V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Mauritania

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; the gold color stands for the sands of the Sahara.

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. The country continues to experience ethnic tensions among its black population (Afro-Mauritanians) and white and black Moor (Arab-Berber) communities, and is having to confront a growing terrorism threat by al-Qa''ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Africa
Neighbours: Senegal, Algeria, Western Sahara, Mali
Capital: Nouakchott
Size 1,030,700 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 397,955 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico
Population 3,364,000
Currency Name: Ouguiya, Currency Code: MRO
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .mr
Telephone Country Prefix +222
Mobile Phone Connections 2,182,000
Landline Phone Connections 74,500

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 1,030,700 (sq km) 29

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 3,437,610 133
Population growth rate 2.29 (%) 36
Birth rate 32.31 (births/1,000 population) 35
Death rate 8.50 (deaths/1,000 population) 81
Net migration rate -0.87 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 145
Maternal mortality rate 510.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 18
Infant mortality rate 57.48 (deaths/1,000 live births) 31
Life expectancy at birth 61.91 (years) 188
Total fertility rate 4.15 (children born/woman) 36
Health expenditures 4.40 (% of GDP) 157
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.70 (%) 61
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 14,000 88
HIV/AIDS - deaths 1,000 77
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 12.70 (%) 127
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 15.90 (%) 48
Education expenditures 3.90 (% of GDP) 114


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 7,824,000,000 157
GDP - real growth rate 6.40 (%) 39
GDP - per capita (PPP) 2,200 190
Labor force 1,318,000 135
Unemployment rate 30.00 (%) 182
Distribution of family income - Gini index 39 67
Taxes and other revenues 37.3 (% of GDP) 56
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -1.80 (% of GDP) 83
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 7.00 (%) 177
Central bank discount rate 12.00 (%) 17
Commercial bank prime lending rate 18.00 (%) 24
Stock of domestic credit 2,349,000,000 136
Industrial production growth rate 2.00 (%) 113
Current account balance -659,800,000 103
Exports 2,878,000,000 132
Imports 3,152,000,000 147
Debt - external 2,942,000,000 134


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 474,000,000 (kWh) 162
Electricity - consumption 440,800,000 (kWh) 170
Electricity - installed generating capacity 253000 (kW) 152
Electricity - from fossil fuels 61.7 (% of total installed capacity) 134
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 38.3 (% of total installed capacity) 58
Crude oil - production 7,738 (bbl/day) 83
Crude oil - exports 10,000 (bbl/day) 59
Crude oil - proved reserves 20000000 (bbl) 86
Refined petroleum products - consumption 18,120 (bbl/day) 134
Refined petroleum products - imports 12,870 (bbl/day) 126
Natural gas - proved reserves 28,320,000,000 (cu m) 72
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 2,890,000 (Mt) 142


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 72,300 157
Telephones - mobile cellular 3,315,000 122
Internet hosts 22 221
Internet users 75,000 170


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 28 121
Roadways 11,066 (km) 133


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 5.50 (% of GDP) 13

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Ancient Ksour of Ouadane, Chinguetti, Tichitt and Oualata
Founded in the 11th and 12th centuries to serve the caravans crossing the Sahara, these trading and religious centres became focal points of Islamic culture. They have managed to preserve an urban fabric that evolved between the 12th and 16th centuri ...
Banc d'Arguin National Park
Fringing the Atlantic coast, the park comprises sand-dunes, coastal swamps, small islands and shallow coastal waters. The contrast between the harsh desert environment and the biodiversity of the marine zone has resulted in a land- and seascape of ou ...