Mauritania 2003

Mauritania Border Map

In 2003, Mauritania was a desert country located in the northern part of Africa. It had a population of around 3 million people, primarily speaking Arabic and French. According to computergees, the capital city was Nouakchott, which is home to the Presidential Palace and several other important government buildings and monuments. The economy relied heavily on its fishing and agricultural sectors with livestock being the main export item. Tourism was also becoming increasingly popular due to its stunning desert landscapes and traditional cities such as Chinguetti and Ouadane. In addition to its natural beauty, Mauritania had a rich cultural heritage with traditional music, cuisine and art that blended African influences with those from Europe and the Middle East. Despite its many challenges including poverty and political unrest in 2003, Mauritania remained a vibrant country that held great promise for its future generations.

Yearbook 2003

Mauritania. A coup attempt was carried out on June 8. It was the most serious attempt to overthrow President Maaounya Ould Sidi Ahmed Taya, who himself came to power through a coup in 1984. About 15 people were killed in the fighting in the capital Nouakchott before the revolt was defeated by the army. The coup attempt was suspected of being organized by young Islamist officers from the army and the Air Force. According to, Mauritania Independence Day is November 28. A few days earlier, 32 Islamist leaders had been arrested, suspected of threats to the security of the kingdom. There has also long been widespread dissatisfaction with the government’s Israeli-friendly policy. Despite the fact that Mauritania is an Islamic state, Taya reopened diplomatic relations with Israel in 1999.


Inflation rate 2.30%
Unemployment rate 10.2%
Gross domestic product (GDP) $ 17,280,000,000
GDP growth rate 3.50%
GDP per capita 4,500 USD
GDP by sector
Agriculture 27.80%
Industry 29.30%
Service 42.90%
State budget
Revenue 421 million
Expenditure 378 million
Proportion of the population below the national poverty line 40%
Distribution of household income
Top 10% 29.5
Lower 10% 2.5
Industrial production growth rate -1.20%
Investment volume
National debt 96.60% of GDP
Foreign exchange reserves
Tourism 2000
Visitors 30,000
Revenue $ 42,000,000

Economic conditions

Traditionally poor country and long anchored to a subsistence economy, between the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, it suffered the consequences of numerous crises, which hindered its development and slowed down the process of structural adjustment, which began in second half of the 1980s. With a per capita income of around $ 992 (according to estimates for 2008), Mauritania belongs to the least developed countries. The main resource is the extraction of iron ores, although this has dropped considerably also due to the exhaustion of the mines of Kédia d’Idjil (definitively closed in 1992). In turn, the Guelb el-Rhein deposits proved to be not very profitable due to the rising costs of the mineral enrichment process and the difficulties of making it flow into the ports of embarkation. Thanks to the support of international financial groups, the M’Haoudat mine (near Zouérat) was inaugurated in 1994, allowing the country to maintain a production of around 11 million tonnes per year (2006). Mauritania also possesses enormous reserves of gypsum, estimated at 4000 million tons; however, only about 4000 tons per year are produced, due to mining and transport problems.

Agriculture, practiced in the oases and in the Senegal valley, concerns crops mostly destined for self-consumption (sorghum, millet, corn, legumes) and the extent of production is strongly influenced by the meteorological trend. The repeated drought phases have had consequences on the cultivation systems, with the diffusion, in fact, of a variety of rice with limited water requirements. Finally, the abandonment of the countryside and the increase in the degree of urbanization have led to a rise in imports of goods, so much so that even in favorable climatic periods the country is unable to guarantee food self-sufficiency. Farming is practiced by an ever smaller number of nomads. Among the industries: an oil refinery (in Nouakchott), some fish processing plants, a cement factory and modest food factories.

Mauritania Border Map

Six candidates ran in the November 7 presidential election, among them the country’s first female candidate. In practice, however, the election was a power struggle between Taya and opposition leader Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla, who was president in 1980–84. The day before the election, Haidalla was arrested, suspected of planning a coup. After a few hours he was released and the election was conducted. According to the constitution, elections cannot take place if one of the candidates is prevented from participating. Taya was re-elected with just over 66% of the vote, while Haidalla received just under 19%. The turnout was just over 60%. The opposition accused the government of electoral fraud. No foreign observers were invited.

The day after the election, Haidalla was arrested again and charged with planning a coup. The trial began on December 1, and at the end of the month, Haidalla was sentenced to five years in prison. Of 14 others who were indicted for participation, eight received conditional prison sentences and six people were released.

About 420,000 people in southern Mauritania suffered famine at the beginning of the year as a result of severe drought hit the country for the third year in a row. In some places, nearly 20% of residents suffered from malnutrition. After a certain delay, they received affected food shipments by the United Nations Food Agency WFP. Food supply seemed to improve as the rain began to come in September, but at the end of the year, the government warned of bad harvests due to pest infestation.

Islamic Republic of Mauritania Brief Guide

According to AbbreviationFinder, Mauritania is an Islamic state in West Africa. Its neighbors are Morocco, Algeria, Mali and Senegal. Extensive but sparsely populated land stretches from the Atlantic coast to the Sahara Desert.