Mauritania, officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is a country in Northwest Africa. It 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 capital and largest city is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast. Nouadhibou is the second most important city of the country and is located on the North, on the Cabo Blanco peninsula.
As of 2016, Mauritania had a population of approximately 4.3 million. It has a very high poverty rate since 46 per cent of its population live on less than 1€ a day. Mauritania suffers some human rights problems, including slavery, as at least 4 per cent of the population (155.600 people) are enslaved.
Mauritania’s life expectancy is 52.5 years for men and 49 years for women. The infant mortality rate is 97 per thousand live births (almost 30 higher than here). Meningitis, malaria, measles, leprosy and river blindness are endemic in rural areas. The number of health professionals has evolved over the years, but it has not increased in the same proportion as the population.
Foreign trade accounts for 70% of Mauritania’s GDP and is concentrated on two sectors: fishing and iron mines. It has to import 70% of its food and manufactured products which makes it highly dependent on fluctuations in world prices.
Mauritania designates itself as an Islamic Republic in its Constitution. One of the requirements to be accessible to citizenship of the country is to be Muslim. Therefore, it is understandable that Sunni Islam is the main religion of the country, to which 99,1% of its population belong.
The other religions are a minority and never exceed 1% of the population.
The culture is traditionally nomadic. All its social structure is tribal and their laws are based on this. Highly courteous and very social, although this did not prevent them in the past from being constantly at the edge of a war between tribes, over the use of wells and fertile lands. Currently, due to the improvement in the communications and means of transport, nomadism has decreased from 80% to 25% in 50 years.
A high percentage of the population, especially women, are illiterate.