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Mauritania: Economy#

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 nomads and subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s and 1980s. Recently, GDP growth has been driven by foreign investment in the mining and oil sectors.

Mauritania's extensive mineral resources include iron ore, gold, copper, gypsum, and phosphate rock, and exploration is ongoing for uranium, crude oil, and natural gas. Extractive commodities make up about three-quarters of Mauritania's total exports, subjecting the economy to price swings in world commodity markets. Mining is also a growing source of government revenue, rising from 13% to 29% of total revenue between 2006 and 2013. The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world, and fishing accounts for about 25% of budget revenues, but overexploitation by foreigners threatens this key source of revenue.

Risks to Mauritania's economy include its recurring droughts, dependence on foreign aid and investment, and insecurity in neighboring Mali, as well as significant shortages of infrastructure, institutional capacity, and human capital. Mauritania has sought additional IMF support by focusing efforts on poverty reduction. Investment in agriculture and infrastructure are the largest components of the country’s public expenditures.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$16.71 billion (2016 est.)
$16.19 billion (2015 est.)
$15.99 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$4.718 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate3.2% (2016 est.)
1.2% (2015 est.)
5.4% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$4,400 (2016 est.)
$4,400 (2015 est.)
$4,400 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving22.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
18.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
25.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 72.5%
government consumption: 23.8%
investment in fixed capital: 47%
investment in inventories: -7.2%
exports of goods and services: 25.7%
imports of goods and services: -61.8% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 24.1%
industry: 34.8%
services: 41.1% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productsdates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn; cattle, sheep
Industriesfish processing, oil production, mining (iron ore, gold, copper)
note: gypsum deposits have never been exploited
Industrial production growth rate-1.2% (2016 est.)
Labor force1.356 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 50%
industry: 2%
services: 48% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate31% (2013 est.)
Population below poverty line40% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 29.5% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index39 (2000)
37.3 (1995)
Budgetrevenues: $1.143 billion
expenditures: $1.43 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues24.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-6.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices)3.5% (2016 est.)
0.5% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate9% (31 December 2009)
12% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate17% (31 December 2016 est.)
17% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$1.753 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Current account balance-$1.033 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.313 billion (2015 est.)
Exports$1.212 billion (2016 est.)
$1.385 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesiron ore, fish and fish products, gold, copper, petroleum
Exports - partnersChina 32.7%, Switzerland 11.1%, Spain 8.6%, Italy 6.7%, Cote dIvoire 6.6%, Japan 5.7% (2015)
Imports$1.643 billion (2016 est.)
$1.93 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partnersChina 25.5%, Algeria 8.4%, France 6.3%, Morocco 5.1%, Spain 4.8%, Brazil 4.5%, US 4% (2015)
Debt - external$3.585 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.415 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesouguiyas (MRO) per US dollar -
341.6 (2016 est.)
319.7 (2015 est.)
319.7 (2014 est.)
299.5 (2013 est.)
296.6 (2012 est.)