Mauritania Border Map

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 Countryaah.com, 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.

Economy

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

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.