SPECIAL REPORT

Mauritania Rising

An in-depth look at Mauritania’s future as a producer and exporter of gas, petrol and hydrogen…

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Mauritania at a Glance

Located on the Atlantic coast of Africa, Mauritania forms a bridge between the North African Maghreb and the westernmost portion of sub-Saharan Africa. The Saharan Zone makes up the northern two-thirds of the country.

Mauritania’s population is about 4.8m (2021), and the density of four inhabitants per sq km makes it one of the least densely populated countries in the world. More than half of Mauritanians live in urban areas (56%).

The country’s mineral wealth includes large reserves of iron ore and copper, as well as gas reserves.

Prospects for Growth

Growth rebounded to 2.4% in 2021, fuelled by an increase in private consumption and investment, as well as improved performance of the services sector. Growth is projected to average 6.5% of GDP in 2023-24, sustained by the opening of new mines, the onset of gas production in 2024, and a scale-up of public investment.

Sound finances

The debt-to-GDP ratio fell from 82% of GDP in 2017 to 44.2% in 2021. Higher energy subsidies are expected to turn the fiscal balance into a deficit for the first time since 2018; this is expected to reach 3.8% of GDP, and debt to increase slightly.

Annual average inflation reached 3.6% in 2021 and is expected to rise to 8.9% in 2022, driven by higher food and energy prices. Average inflation is expected to gradually fall to 4.5% by 2024 as international commodity prices drop.

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