Mauritania's Main Business Sectors

While the market in Mauritania is limited compared to some other countries, there are opportunities for foreign investment in the gas, oil, mineral, fishery and infrastructure sectors. In this guide, you will learn some basic information about the main business sectors in Mauritania.

As of 2006, the oil sector was Mauritania's largest single revenue source. Oil revenue accounted for slightly over half of all exports from Mauritania, and drilling has uncovered oil deposits on and off the country's shores. Areas in the Taoudeni Basin have yet to be explored, but are thought to contain equally rich deposits. In the oil sector, there are also chances to develop locations where there is known to be oil, providing logistical support and supplies to companies working on location.

The mining of iron ore is one of the biggest sectors in Mauritanian business. According to research, the country has over a billion tons of minerals beneath its soil. Nationally-owned mining company SNIM mines almost all iron ore in Mauritania, and it signed two contracts in 2007 to sell iron ore to two companies from China. The country is actively seeking foreign investors, to bring the capital necessary to expand production capacity.

The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Mauritania has some of the best fishing grounds in the entire world, with an estimated annual catch of over 450,000 tons. Almost the entire catch is sold to either Europe or Japan, without ever reaching Mauritanian soil. As many fisheries are remodeling or replacing their old fleets, the fishery sector offers a wide variety of investment opportunities for US boat and fishing equipment suppliers.

Agriculture and animal husbandry continue to play a large role in Mauritanian business, despite a history of drought. However, the country is still in a food shortage, receiving about 300,000 tons of grain in addition to food aid in 2007. To change the situation, the Mauritanian government is encouraging foreign investment in the agricultural sector.

The telecommunications, infrastructure and building sectors are rapildly growing. As of 2007, various developers had promised over $2 billion to fund expansion through the end of this year. Much of this money will be used on projects such as a Senegal River bridge, a railway line, and a water distribution plant in Nouakchott.

The investment code of Mauritania is designed to attract investors and joint ventures. The Mauritanian government has been anxious to find US companies willing to invest in gas, oil and mineral mining, as well as to participate in privatization initiatives.

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