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Facts about Mauritania

Geographical

Location
Northwestern Africa

Area
Total: 1,030,700 sq km
Land: 1,030,400 sq km
Water: 300 sq km

Climate
Desert: Constantly hot, dry, dusty
Terrain: mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills

Major cities

Nouakchott (capital) 350,000 (1984 est.)
Nouadhibou (Port Etienne) 21,961
Kaédi 20,848 (1977 census)

Major airports

Major tourist attractions

People

Population: 2,912,584 (July 2003 est.)

Nationality
Noun: Mauritanian(s)
Adjective: Mauritanian

Ethnic groups
Mixed Maur/black 40%, Maur 30%, black 30%

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

Religions
Muslim 100%

Government

Type: republic
National holiday: Independence Day, 28 November (1960)
Independence: 28 November 1960 (from France)
Constitution: 12 July 1991
Legal system: a combination of Shari'a (Islamic law) and French civil law
Heads of government: chief of state: President Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA (since 12 December1984); head of government: Prime Minister Sghair Ould M'BARECK (since 6 July 2003)

Structure
Executive, legislative (bicameral legislature consists of the Senate or Majlis al-Shuyukh), judicial branches

International organization participation
ABEDA, ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, AMU, CAEU, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Joined United Nations
27 Oct. 1961

Economy

Currency
Ouguiya (MRO)

Labor force
Employment: 786,000 (2001)
Labor force by occupation: agriculture 50%, services 40%, industry 10% (2001 est.)
Major industries: fish processing, mining of iron ore and gypsum
Major agriculture products: dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn, dates; cattle, sheep

Exports
Total: $355 million f.o.b. (2002)
Exported commodities: iron ore, fish and fish products, gold
Export partners: Italy 14.3%, France 14%, Spain 11.7%, Germany 10.9%, Belgium 9.9%, Japan 7.1% (2002)

Imports
Total: $360 million f.o.b. (2000)
Imported commodities: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Import partners: France 18.5%, Belgium 7.8%, China 7%, Spain 5.9%, Germany 5.2% (2002)