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Mauritania Economy 2002

Economy - overview: Half 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 resulted in a buildup of foreign debt. In February, 2000, Mauritania qualified for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and in December 2001 received strong support from donor and lending countries at a triennial Consultative Group review. Mauritania withdrew its membership in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2000 and subsequently increased commercial ties with Arab Maghreb Union members Morocco and Tunisia, most notably in telecommunications. In 2001, exploratory oil wells in tracts 80 km offshore indicated potential viable extraction at current world oil prices. However, the refinery in Nouadhibou historically has not exceeded 20% of its distillation capacity, and it handled no crude in the year 2000. A new Investment Code approved in December 2001 improved the opportunities for direct foreign investment.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $5 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,800 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 25% industry: 29% services: 46% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line: 50% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3% highest 10%: 30% (2000) (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 37 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.4% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 786,000 (2001) (2001)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 50%, services 40%, industry 10% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate: 21% (1999 est.)
Budget: revenues: $421 million expenditures: $378 million, including capital expenditures of $154 million
Industries: fish processing, mining of iron ore and gypsum
Industrial production growth rate: 2% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production: 154 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 84% hydro: 16% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption: 143.22 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn, dates; cattle, sheep
Exports: $359 million f.o.b. (2000)
Exports - commodities: iron ore, fish and fish products, gold
Exports - partners: France 18%, Japan 16%, Italy 13%, Spain 10% (2000)
Imports: $335 million f.o.b. (2000)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partners: France 33%, US 10%, Spain 9%, Algeria 6%, Germany 6%, Benelux 5% (2000)
Debt - external: $1.6 billion (2000) (2000)
Economic aid - recipient: $220 million (2000) (2000)
Currency: ouguiya (MRO)
Currency code: MRO
Exchange rates: ouguiyas per US dollar - 254.350 (December 2001), 238.923 (2000), 209.514 (1999), 188.476 (1998), 151.853 (1997), 137.222 (1996)
Fiscal year: calendar year

NOTE: The economy information regarding Mauritania on this page is re-published from the 2002 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Mauritania Economy 2002 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Mauritania Economy 2002 should be addressed to the CIA.