Mauritania's Macroeconomic Statistics

In Mauritania, there is rapidly growing investment in the oil sector, but almost half of the country's population lives at or below the poverty line. Mauritania's wealth belongs mostly to a very narrow tribal base and a small group of politicians. Before the country's oil reserves were discovered, Mauritania's export business mainly relied on fishing and the mining of iron ore. Today, the people practice subsistence farming, as large-scale agriculture is limited, and manufacturing comprises less than ten percent of Mauritania's GDP.

Compared to the rest of the region, Mauritania was late in using its oil reserves; production from the Chinguetti field started in the beginning of 2006 and exports started the following month. At first, it was predicted that there were reserves of 120 million barrels per day, and production was pegged at 75,000 per day, but actual numbers are much lower.

There is not much macroeconomic data available for Mauritania; recent governments have committed to the provision of more current economic data at the urging of the IMF, but there is little new information forthcoming. Up until the most recent coup, the IMF had provided support under the PGRF (Poverty Reduction and Growth Facilities).

In the decade spanning 1990-1999, the average real growth per year of the GDP was 2.6%, but it was almost six percent per year in 2003-2008. Growth was reduced to 1.5% last year, amid lesser demand for minerals and production problems at the nation's oil refineries. The economy has recovered somewhat this year, but worldwide GDP growth will likely be scant.

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