Mauritania, officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, a country in Northwest Africa. It is the eleventh largest sovereign state in Africa and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Western Sahara to the north and northwest, Algeria to the northeast, Mali to the east and southeast, and Senegal to the southwest. The country derives its name from the ancient Berber kingdom of Mauretania, which existed from the 3rd century BCE into the 7th century CE in the modern-day Morocco and West Algeria. Approximately 90% of Mauritania’s land is within the Sahara ; consequently, the population is concentrated in the south, where precipitation is slightly higher. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast, which is home to around one-third of the country’s 4.4 million people.
Despite being rich in natural resources, Mauritania has a low GDP. A majority of 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 almost 50% of total exports. Gold and copper mining companies are opening mines in the interior.
The country’s first deepwater port opened near Nouakchott in 1986. In recent years, drought and economic mismanagement have resulted in a buildup of foreign debt. In March 1999, the government signed an agreement with a joint World Bank-International Monetary Fund mission on a $54 million enhanced structural adjustment facility (ESAF). Privatization remains one of the key issues. Mauritania is unlikely to meet ESAF’s annual GDP growth objectives of 4–5%. Oil was discovered in Mauritania in 2001 in the offshore Chinguetti field. Although potentially significant for the Mauritanian economy, its overall influence is difficult to predict. Mauritania has been described as a « desperately poor desert nation, which straddles the Arab and African worlds and is Africa’s newest, if small-scale, oil producer. » There may be additional oil reserves inland in the Taoudeni basin, although the harsh environment will make extraction expensive.
United Arab Emirates government, via its pilot green city Masdar, installed new solar plants supply an additional 16.6 megawatts of electricity. The plants will power about 39,000 homes and save 27,850 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. Mauritania is ranked second in the index of geopolitical gains and losses after energy transition (GeGaLo Index), making it potentially one of the main winners in the global transition to renewable energy.
Local brands in Mauritania are very underdeveloped, this presents several commercial opportunities for international brands who would like to establish themselves and better understand the attitudes and habits of local consumers.
Since 2018, INNOVATE Research & Marketing supports brands in different sectors such as biscuits, milk, cheese, baby diapers, baby milk and others. As part of our coverage of Mauritanian market, we share our expertise with the interested audience in form of a Desk Research report allowing to discover and better understand this country in its economic, societal, political and media dimensions.
Download Mauritania Desk Research – click here.