Status: Republic

1,030,700 sq km

3,3 millions (est. 2011).

Resident population:
95.2%; nomadic population: 4.8%.

Growth rate:

2.5 inh. / Km ².

Life expectancy:
54.8 years (women), 53.8 years (men).

Infant mortality rate:

Official Language:
Arabic and French

Languages ​​spoken:
Hassaniaa (Arabic dialect), French, Wolof, Peul, Soninke

Official Religion:



Major cities:
Nouakchott, Nouadhibou, Kaédi Zouerate, Rosso, Atar, Kiffa Sélibaby, Nema, R'Kiz

Bordering countries:
Algeria, Mali, Morocco, Senegal

Highest point:
915 m Kediet Ijill

Mauritania is a link between Arabic Maghreb to the north and black Africa to the south. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (W), Western Sahara (N), Algeria (NE), Mali (E and SE), and Senegal (SW . At 397,929 square miles (1,030,631 km2), Mauritania is the world's 29th-largest country (after Bolivia). It is comparable in size to Egypt. It lies mostly between latitudes 14° and 26°N, and longitudes 5° and 17°W (small areas are east of 5° and west of 17°).


Mauritania is generally flat, with vast arid plains broken by occasional ridges and cliff-like outcroppings. A series of scarps face south-west, longitudinally bisecting these plains in the center of the country. The scarps also separate a series of sandstone plateaus, the highest of which is the Adrar Plateau, reaching an elevation of 500 meters (1,640 ft). Spring-fed oases lie at the foot of some of the scarps. Isolated peaks, often rich in minerals, rise above the plateaus; the smaller peaks are called guelbs and the larger ones kedias. The concentric Guelb er Richat (also known as the Richat Structure) is a prominent feature of the north-central region. Kediet ej Jill, near the city of Zouîrât, has an elevation of 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) and is the highest peak.

Approximately three quarters of Mauritania is desert or semidesert. As a result of extended, severe drought, the desert has been expanding since the mid-1960s. To the west, between the ocean and the plateaus, are alternating areas of clayey plains (regs) and sand dunes (ergs), some of which shift from place to place, gradually moved by high winds. The dunes generally increase in size and mobility toward the north.

Two-thirds of Mauritania is desert, the only fertile land where various crops are grown are the oasis and floodplains of the Senegal River.

It should be noted that since February 24, 2006 Mauritania became an oil exporter with its production of offshore Chinguetti wells (75,000 barrels / day in early production).