Country Profile

Country Profile - Mauritania

Country Profile of Mauritania

Independent from France in 1960, Mauritania annexed the southern third of the former Spanish Sahara (now Western Sahara) in 1976, but relinquished it after three years of raids by the Polisario guerrilla front seeking independence for the territory. Opposition parties were legalized and a new constitution approved in 1991. Two multiparty presidential elections since then were widely seen as flawed, but October 2001 legislative and municipal elections were generally free and open. Mauritania remains, in reality, a one-party state. The country continues to experience ethnic tensions between its black minority population and the dominant Maur (Arab-Berber) populace.


Location:Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara

Capital:  Nouakchott

Head of State: chief of state: President Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ (since 5 August 2009); note - AZIZ, who deposed democratically elected President Sidi Ould Cheikh ABDELLAHI in a coup and installed himself as President of the High State Council on 6 August 2008, retired from the military and stepped down from the presidency in April 2009 to run for president; he was elected president in an election held on 18 July 2009
head of government: Prime Minister Moulaye Ould Mohamed LAGHDAF ( since August 2008 )

Independence:  28 November 1960 (from France)

Population : 3.437.610 ( Million ) ( July 2013 est )

Population growth rate : 2.29% ( 2013 est )

Ethnic groups: mixed Maur/black 40%, Maur 30%, black 30%

Languages: Hassaniya Arabic (official), Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof (official), French

Religion: Muslim

Currency: Ouguiya

 

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