Mauritania, officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is a country in north-west Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, by Senegal to the south-west, by Mali to the east and south-east, by Algeria to the north-east, and by the Morocco-controlled Western Sahara on the north-west. The country continues to experience ethnic tensions among its black population (Afro-Mauritanians) and white and black Moor (Arab-Berber) communities, and confronts a terrorism threat by al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).


Mauritania's economy is dominated by natural resources and agriculture. 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's extensive mineral resources include iron ore, gold, copper, gypsum, and phosphate rock and exploration is on-going for uranium, crude oil, and natural gas. Extractive commodities make up 75% of Mauritania's total exports. The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world, and fishing accounts for 20% of budget revenues, but over-exploitation by foreigners threatens this key source of revenue. Risks to Mauritania's economy include its recurring exposure to droughts, dependence on foreign aid and investment, and insecurity in neighbouring Mali, as well as significant shortages of infrastructure, institutional capacity, and human capital.

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