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Mauritania Economy 2004

Economy - overview: Half the population still depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though many of the nomads and 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 nearly 40% 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. In 2001, exploratory oil wells in tracts 80 km offshore indicated potential extraction at current world oil prices. A new investment code approved in December 2001 improved the opportunities for direct foreign investment. Ongoing negotiations with the IMF involve problems of economic reforms and fiscal discipline. Substantial oil production and exports probably will not begin until 2005. Meantime the government emphasizes reduction of poverty, improvement of health and education, and promoting privatization of the economy.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $5.195 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.5% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,800 (2003 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%: 2.5% highest 10%: 30.2% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 37.3 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7% (2003 est.)
Labor force: 786,000 (2001)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 50%, industry 10%, services 40% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate: 21% (1999 est.)
Budget: revenues: $421 million expenditures: $378 million, including capital expenditures of $154 million (2002 est.)
Agriculture - products: dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn, dates; cattle, sheep
Industries: fish processing, mining of iron ore and gypsum
Industrial production growth rate: 2% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production: 157.4 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 146.3 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption: 24,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports: NA (2001)
Oil - imports: NA (2001)
Exports: $541 million f.o.b. (2002)
Exports - commodities: iron ore, fish and fish products, gold
Exports - partners: Japan 12.5%, France 12.1%, Spain 11.4%, Italy 10.4%, Belgium 7.8%, Germany 7.4%, Russia 5%, Cote d'Ivoire 4.2%, Netherlands 4% (2003)
Imports: $860 million f.o.b. (2002)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partners: France 16.8%, Spain 7.7%, China 6.3%, Belgium 5.1%, Germany 4.9%, Japan 4.3%, UK 4.1%, US 4% (2003)
Debt - external: $2.5 billion (2000)
Economic aid - recipient: $220 million (2000)
Currency: ouguiya (MRO)
Currency code: MRO
Exchange rates: ouguiyas per US dollar - NA (2003), 271.739 (2002), 255.629 (2001)
Fiscal year: calendar year

NOTE: The economy information regarding Mauritania on this page is re-published from the 2004 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Mauritania Economy 2004 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Mauritania Economy 2004 should be addressed to the CIA.