Economic Situation

Our latest estimates show GDP growth to contract to around -2.1%.

We note a slight improvement in this compared to the estimates of August 2020 (-3.2%) due mainly to an overestimation of the impact of the crisis on the exports of the mining and fishing industries and also of the first impacts the implementation of the Enlarged Priority Plan of the President of the Republic (ProPEP), the cost of which amounts to 24.1 billion MRU and represents around 8.5% of GDP over a period of 30 months. Broadly, the COVID 19 pandemic has negatively impacted economic activity at the planetary level both in terms of aggregate demand and supply. Mauritania like other countries has also been impacted by COVID 19 causing a contraction in economic activity that has impacted on all sectors.

Sectoral Analysis

At the level of the primary sector, growth was fixed at -5.4% due to the underperformance of the fishing sub-sector which experienced a decline in fishing effort which resulted in a drop in exports of around 39.4% leading to a drop in real growth of around -46.4%.

At the level of the tertiary sector which represents more than 42% of the global GDP, the preventive measures taken by the authorities to contain the pandemic (the closure of the borders; the partial containment; the limitation of interurban mobility; the closure of restaurants and markets) have contributed greatly to the sector's underperformance. Thus, the transport sector suffered a decrease of -3%, trade -9.1%, and “other services” composed of (Financial and insurance activities, Specialized, scientific and technical activities, office support, Health education and Others service activities and is the largest sub-sector (nearly 20% of GDP) in terms of weight) experienced a decline compared to 2019 to stand at 0.7%.

Despite this unfavourable situation, the secondary sector (-0.1%) seems to be more resistant thanks to the positive performance of the extractive sector, which was not affected by the containment measures and benefited from sustained external demand. The added value generated by SNIM (Société Nationale Industrielle et Minière) is expected to reach 2.5%. Globally, the growth of mining extraction would see an increase of 1% following the slight drop in gold and copper production linked to the preparation for the closure of the mine operated by MCM (Mauritanian Copper Mines). The manufacturing industry sub-sector representing nearly 10% of GDP has been the most affected by the crisis with a contraction of around 4%.

The growth of non-extractive sector will stand at -2.9% due mainly to the decline in the activity of the services sector mentioned above combined with the better performance of livestock sector. The latter is expected to grow by 3.1% thanks to high rainfall levels (making pastures abundant) and a systematic vaccination campaign.

In the construction industry, there is a resumption of the activity in the sub-sector driven by the continued construction of roads and public buildings (+ 5%). The integration of government contract staff into the civil service has kept the Public Administration sub-sector on a positive trajectory (2.5%).



Type of Economy Low-income economy, Least Developed Countries (LDC)
Inflation (yearly average) 3.9%
National Currency Mauritanian Ouguiya (MRU)
Labour Force 1.437 million 
Unemployment 15.2%
Exchange Rate on November 07, 2019 1 EUR = 40.75 MRU, 1 MRU = 0.025 EUR, 1 USD = 37.0 MRU, 1 MRU = 0.026 USD
Agricultural - products dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn; cattle, camel and sheep, fish
Industries fish processing, oil production, mining (iron ore, gold, copper)
note: gypsum deposits have never been exploited
Industrial production growth rate 0.7% (2017 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate 14% 2019
Business Hours
8h00 to 16h00 from Monday to Thursday. Banks and administrative offices are open from 8h00 to 13h00 Friday.


ICT and Internet Access

  • Internet access = Unrestricted
  • Broadband subscription = Less than 1 per 100 inhabitants
  • Access the internet in the country = Available in main towns
  • Internet tariffs = Around UM 200 (EUR 0.5) per hour
  • Facebook users = 770,000 people
  • YouTube users = 18% (2018)
  • Twitter users = 2%
  • Instagram users = 0.05%
Internet Penetration rate (2017)
Mobile penetration rate
Access to 3G coverage
Households having access to Internet
Households having access to a computer
Main Browsers used (Chrome)
Main Search Engines (Google)

Not well developed. Mainly used for consumer electronics purchase through and

Future plans
Countrywide high-speed networks by licensing LTE services, expanding satellite broadband coverage and rolling out fibre-to-the-home network in the capital and main cities are initiatives supported by both government and the private sector

Manufacturing Sector

The contribution of the manufacturing sector excluding the fish processing industry was about 4% of GDP in 2017.

Composition of the manufacturing sector:

  • Heavy industrial activity within the extractive industries (eg iron ore beneficiation);
  • A formal manufacturing sector of a few SMEs focused on the valorization of some local products and substitution for imports mainly food industries (manufacture of pasta and couscous, beverages, mineral water, dairy products);
  • The informal sector covering many activities especially craft.


The North-South road corridor along the Mauritanian coast is one of the only viable and active transport routes between North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

10300km of tarred roads (ow 2424 tarred, 872 improved earth and 7001 trails).

Rail transport is not very developed. The only railway (675 km long), managed by the SNIM (National Industrial and Mining Company), links Zouérate with the port of Nouadhibou and is mainly used for transporting iron ore from the mines in the northern region.

The port infrastructure consists primarily of the Autonomous Port of Nouakchott, called the Friendship Port (PAN-PA), under the supervision of the MET (Ministère de l’Equipement et des Transports), and the Autonomous Port of Nouadhibou, under the responsibility of the Nouadhibou free zone. They are both government-owned industrial and commercial establishments. The Nouadhibou Port is a free port and includes a mineral ore port and a petroleum terminal, as well as a fishing and commercial port

Mauritania has a new international airport (inaugurated in 2016) 25 km from the capital Nouakchott, with a capacity of two million passengers, far more than the 210,000 passengers transiting through the airport every year. The country has two other airports, as well as seven secondary airfields.


The Mauritanian Airports Company (SAM) is responsible for the installation, operation and maintenance of airport facilities under a concession (Nouakchott and Nouadhibou) or management contract.


The National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC), created in 2004, is the air transport sector's regulatory authority, under the supervision of the MET (Ministère de l’Equipement et des Transports). It implements government policy on civil aviation; it is also responsible for the promotion of civil aviation and draws up technical regulations in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.


Source: WTO, Trade Policy Review. Report by the Secretariat, Mauritania, WT / TPR/ S / 371 24 April 2018

Finance and Taxation

Tax rates
Resident companies
Corporation tax
Standard 25%
Rate for hydrocarbon activities 25%
Capital gains tax 25%
Dividends 10%
Resident individuals
Income tax 15% - 40%
Capital gains 25%
Dividends 10%
Interest 10%
Royalties 15%
Fees 10%
Non-resident individuals
Corporate tax 15%
Capital gains 10%
Interest charges 10%
Royalties 15%
Fees 10%

Intellectual Property

Mauritania is a part to the of the following organisations and conventions:

  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • The African Intellectual Property Organization (AIPO) (Bangui Act 1999).
  • The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property
  • The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
  • The Patent Cooperation Treaty
  • The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants ratified in 2004.

Mauritania ratified the new Act revising the Bangui Agreement in December 2015. The Technology and Industrial Property Service of the Ministry for industry is responsible for relations with WIPO and the AIPO. In Mauritania, industrial property rights are managed by the national service for liaison (SNL) between Mauritania and the AIPO, which receives applications for registration in Mauritania and passes them on to the AIPO. For authors 'rights, protection falls under the Department of Cultural Cooperation and Protection of Authors' Rights of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.