Mauritania Mauritania

Statistical Snapshot



Mauritania is the fifth-largest country in the Arab region, with an estimated population of 4.5 million in 2019. Its growing at an annual rate of 2.7 percent, and life expectancy at birth averages 64.7 years.[1] With regard to urbanization, 53.7 percent of Mauritania’s population reside in urban areas, slightly below the world average of 55.3 percent.[2] As a result  of the drought  of 2017, Mauritania experienced high levels of food insecurity, with more than 306,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2019.[3] Regional conflict drove refugee flows into Mauritania which hosted 58,990 registered refugees from Mali by March 2020.[4]


Mauritania is a lower middle-income country in North-western Africa, with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of $4,160.[5] Prudent fiscal policy and international prices of minerals have helped Mauritanian economy to attain gradual growth rates.  Real GDP has been witnessing an upward trend, registering a growth of 5.8 percent in 2019, and is projected to increase to an average of 6.2 percent during the 2019-2021 period, up from a low of 1.2 percent in 2016. Growth was spurred by advancements and robust activity in the transport, electricity, telecommunications and primary sectors.[6] At the fiscal level, and after falling into a deficit for five consecutive years, efforts to achieve rebalancing transformed the fiscal deficit of 0.3 percent of GDP in 2017 into a surplus of 1.5 percent in 2018. However, Mauritania’s risk of debt distress remains high at 97.5 percent in 2018. Reaching 2.3 percent in 2019, inflation has been steadily increasing, up from 0.5 percent in 2015.[7] Moreover, Mauritania continues to face several development challenges and considerable risks, given the inefficient use of revenues derived from natural resources, limited  diversification, and poor infrastructure.[6]


Water and food insecurity are among the main challenges hindering the country’s growth. Periods of drought since 2017, coupled with an increase in food and livestock prices, have left more than 123,000 children, including 31,000 lactating and pregnant women as well as 27,000 children with acute malnutrition, in need of treatment in 2020.[8] As of late 2019, over 224,000 of those under the age of 18 were in need of food assistance,[3] and 19.6 percent of children between 6-59 months suffered chronic malnutrition.[8] Poverty remains widespread in Mauritania, with 50.6 percent of the Mauritanian population live in multidimensional poverty according to the 2019 Human Development Report, as well as 31 percent of the population living below the income poverty line of PPP $ 1.90 a day.[9]


Labor force participation in Mauritania has been dropping over the past two decades, reaching 46 percent in 2019, down from 50.1 percent in 2000. Along the same lines, youth unemployment was high at 15 percent in 2019, particularly for women at 17 percent. At the sectoral level, 55 percent of the workforce works in agriculture, compared to only 11.1 percent in industry.[10]


Mauritania has lagged in education, where the gross tertiary enrolment rate was 5 percent, compared to a regional average of 32.2 percent in 2018. Nevertheless, the gross primary enrolment rate increased from 83 percent in 2000 to 99.9 percent in 2018, with a Gender Parity Index (GPI) of 1.1, compared to 0.5 at the tertiary level.[11]


This overview was last updated in May 2020. Priority is given to the latest available official data published by national statistical offices and/or public institutions.

[1] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2019. World Population Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].
[2] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2018. World Urbanization Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 13 February 2019].
[3] United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). 2020. Humanitarian action for children: Mauritania. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].
[4] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 2020. Operational portal refugee situations. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].
[5] The World Bank. 2020. World Development Indicators. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].
[6] The World Bank. 2019. The World Bank in Mauritania, Overview. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].
[7] International Monetary Fund. April 2020. World Economic Outlook. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].
[8] World Food Programme. December 2019. WFP Mauritania country brief. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].
[9] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2019. Human Development Report 2019. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2020].
[10] ILOSTAT. 2020. International Labour Organization. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].
[11] United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 2020. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].

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Data Highlights

  • The inflation rate remained relatively low at 3.5% in 2014 but declined to 0.5 in 2015 and the cash deficit shrunk from MRO minus 53.8 billion in 2013 to MRO minus 24.74 billion in 2014.

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  • No Publication has been found related to this Country .