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2 definitions found
 for Mauritania
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: a country in northwestern Africa with a provisional
           military government; achieved independence from France in
           1960; largely western Sahara Desert [syn: Mauritania,
           Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Mauritanie,

From CIA World Factbook 2002 :

     Introduction Mauritania
                              Background: Independent from France in 1960,
                                          Mauritania annexed the southern
                                          third of the former Spanish Sahara
                                          (now Western Sahara) in 1976, but
                                          relinquished it after three years of
                                          raids by the Polisario guerrilla
                                          front seeking independence for the
                                          territory. Opposition parties were
                                          legalized and a new constitution
                                          approved in 1991. Two multiparty
                                          presidential elections since then
                                          were widely seen as flawed, but
                                          October 2001 legislative and
                                          municipal elections were generally
                                          free and open. Mauritania remains,
                                          in reality, a one-party state. The
                                          country continues to experience
                                          ethnic tensions between its black
                                          minority population and the dominant
                                          Maur (Arab-Berber) populace.
     Geography Mauritania
                                Location: Northern Africa, bordering the North
                                          Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and
                                          Western Sahara
                  Geographic coordinates: 20 00 N, 12 00 W
                          Map references: Africa
                                    Area: total: 1,030,700 sq km
                                          land: 1,030,400 sq km
                                          water: 300 sq km
                      Area - comparative: slightly larger than three times the
                                          size of New Mexico
                         Land boundaries: total: 5,074 km
                                          border countries: Algeria 463 km,
                                          Mali 2,237 km, Senegal 813 km,
                                          Western Sahara 1,561 km
                               Coastline: 754 km
                         Maritime claims: contiguous zone: 24 NM
                                          territorial sea: 12 NM
                                          continental shelf: 200 NM or to the
                                          edge of the continental margin
                                          exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
                                 Climate: desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty
                                 Terrain: mostly barren, flat plains of the
                                          Sahara; some central hills
                      Elevation extremes: lowest point: Sebkha de Ndrhamcha -
                                          3 m
                                          highest point: Kediet Ijill 910 m
                       Natural resources: iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate,
                                          diamonds, gold, oil; fish
                                Land use: arable land: 0.48%
                                          permanent crops: 0.01%
                                          other: 99.51% (1998 est.)
                          Irrigated land: 490 sq km (1998 est.)
                         Natural hazards: hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco
                                          wind blows primarily in March and
                                          April; periodic droughts
            Environment - current issues: overgrazing, deforestation, and soil
                                          erosion aggravated by drought are
                                          contributing to desertification;
                                          very limited natural fresh water
                                          resources away from the Senegal
                                          which is the only perennial river
              Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
                              agreements: Change, Desertification, Endangered
                                          Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of
                                          the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone
                                          Layer Protection, Ship Pollution,
                                          signed, but not ratified: none of
                                          the selected agreements
                        Geography - note: most of the population concentrated
                                          in the cities of Nouakchott and
                                          Nouadhibou and along the Senegal
                                          River in the southern part of the
     People Mauritania
                              Population: 2,828,858 (July 2002 est.)
                           Age structure: 0-14 years: 46.1% (male 653,005;
                                          female 650,530)
                                          15-64 years: 51.7% (male 720,473;
                                          female 741,094)
                                          65 years and over: 2.2% (male
                                          26,251; female 37,505) (2002 est.)
                  Population growth rate: 2.92% (2002 est.)
                              Birth rate: 42.54 births/1,000 population (2002
                              Death rate: 13.34 deaths/1,000 population (2002
                      Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002
                               Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
                                          under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
                                          15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
                                          65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/
                                          total population: 0.98 male(s)/
                                          female (2002 est.)
                   Infant mortality rate: 75.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2002
                Life expectancy at birth: total population: 51.53 years
                                          female: 53.71 years (2002 est.)
                                          male: 49.42 years
                    Total fertility rate: 6.15 children born/woman (2002 est.)
        HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1.8% (2000 est.)
       HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 6,600 (1999 est.)
                       HIV/AIDS - deaths: 610 (1999 est.)
                             Nationality: noun: Mauritanian(s)
                                          adjective: Mauritanian
                           Ethnic groups: mixed Maur/black 40%, Maur 30%,
                                          black 30%
                               Religions: Muslim 100%
                               Languages: Hassaniya Arabic (official), Pulaar,
                                          Soninke, Wolof (official), French
                                Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read
                                          and write
                                          total population: 41.2%
                                          male: 51.5%
                                          female: 31.3% (2002 est.)
     Government Mauritania
                            Country name: conventional long form: Islamic
                                          Republic of Mauritania
                                          conventional short form: Mauritania
                                          local short form: Muritaniyah
                                          local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al
                                          Islamiyah al Muritaniyah
                         Government type: republic
                                 Capital: Nouakchott
                Administrative divisions: 12 regions (regions, singular -
                                          region) and 1 capital district*;
                                          Adrar, Assaba, Brakna, Dakhlet
                                          Nouadhibou, Gorgol, Guidimaka, Hodh
                                          Ech Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi,
                                          Inchiri, Nouakchott*, Tagant, Tiris
                                          Zemmour, Trarza
                            Independence: 28 November 1960 (from France)
                        National holiday: Independence Day, 28 November (1960)
                            Constitution: 12 July 1991
                            Legal system: a combination of Shari'a (Islamic
                                          law) and French civil law
                                Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
                        Executive branch: chief of state: President Maaouya
                                          Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA (since 12
                                          December 1984)
                                          head of government: Prime Minister
                                          Cheikh El Avia Ould Mohamed KHOUNA
                                          (since 17 November 1998)
                                          cabinet: Council of Ministers
                                          elections: president elected by
                                          popular vote for a six-year term;
                                          election last held 12 December 1997
                                          (next to be held NA December 2003);
                                          prime minister appointed by the
                                          election results: President Maaouya
                                          Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA reelected with
                                          90.9% of the vote
                      Legislative branch: bicameral legislature consists of
                                          the Senate or Majlis al-Shuyukh (56
                                          seats, a part of the seats up for
                                          election every two years; members
                                          elected by municipal leaders to
                                          serve six-year terms) and the
                                          National Assembly or Majlis al-
                                          Watani (81 seats; members elected by
                                          popular vote to serve five-year
                                          elections: Senate - last held 17
                                          April 1998 (next to be held NA April
                                          2002); National Assembly - last held
                                          19 and 26 October 2001 (next to be
                                          held NA 2006)
                                          election results: Senate - percent
                                          of vote by party - PRDS 98%, others
                                          2%; seats by party - PRDS 56;
                                          National Assembly - percent of vote
                                          by party - PRDS 79%, RDU 3.5%, UDP
                                          3.5%, AC 5%, RDF 4%, UFP 3.5%, FP
                                          1.5%; seats by party - PRDS 64, UDP
                                          3, RDU 3, AC 4, RDF 3, UFP 3,and FP
                         Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Court
                                          of Appeals; lower courts
           Political parties and leaders: Action for Change or AC [Messoud
                                          Ould BOULKHEIR]; Alliance for
                                          Justice and Democracy or AJD [Kebe
                                          ABDOULAYE]; Democratic and Social
                                          Republican Party or PRDS (ruling
                                          party) [President Maaouya Ould Sid
                                          Ahmed TAYA]; Mauritanian Party for
                                          Renewal and Concorde or PMRC [Molaye
                                          El Hassen Ould JIYID]; National
                                          Union for Democracy and Development
                                          or UNDD [Tidjane KOITA]; Party for
                                          Liberty, Equality and Justice or
                                          PLEJ [Daouda M'BAGNIGA]; Popular
                                          Front or FP [Ch'bih Ould CHEIKH
                                          MALAININE]; Popular Progress
                                          Alliance or APP [Mohamed El Hafed
                                          Ould ISMAEL]; Popular Social and
                                          Democratic Union or UPSD [Mohamed
                                          Mahmoud Ould MAH]; Progress Force
                                          Union or UFP [Mohamed Ould
                                          MAOULOUD]; Rally of Democratic
                                          Forces or RDF [Ahmed Ould DADDAH];
                                          Rally for Democracy and Unity or RDU
                                          [Ahmed Ould SIDI BABA]; Union for
                                          Democracy and Progress or UDP [Naha
                                          Mint MOUKNASS]
                                          note: the Action for Change party
                                          was banned in January 2002; parties
                                          legalized by constitution ratified
                                          12 July 1991, however, politics
                                          continue to be tribally based
            Political pressure groups and Arab nationalists; Ba'athists;
                                 leaders: General Confederation of Mauritanian
                                          Workers or CGTM [Abdallahi Ould
                                          MOHAMED, secretary general];
                                          Independent Confederation of
                                          Mauritanian Workers or CLTM [Samory
                                          Ould BEYE]; Islamists; Mauritanian
                                          Workers Union or UTM [Mohamed Ely
                                          Ould BRAHIM, secretary general]
               International organization ABEDA, ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL,
                           participation: AMF, AMU, CAEU, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77,
                                          IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB,
                                          IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending
                                          member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol,
                                          IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, UN,
                                          UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL,
                                          WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
     Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador
                                          Mohamedou Ould MICHEL
                                          chancery: 2129 Leroy Place NW,
                                          Washington, DC 20008
                                          FAX: [1] (202) 319-2623
                                          telephone: [1] (202) 232-5700
       Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador John W.
                                      US: LIMBERT
                                          embassy: Rue Abdallaye, Nouakchott
                                          mailing address: BP 222, Nouakchott
                                          telephone: [222] 525-2660, 525-2663
                                          FAX: [222] 525-1592
                        Flag description: green with a yellow five-pointed
                                          star above a yellow, horizontal
                                          crescent; the closed side of the
                                          crescent is down; the crescent,
                                          star, and color green are
                                          traditional symbols of Islam
     Economy Mauritania
                      Economy - overview: Half the population still depends on
                                          agriculture and livestock for a
                                          livelihood, even though most of the
                                          nomads and many subsistence farmers
                                          were forced into the cities by
                                          recurrent droughts in the 1970s and
                                          1980s. Mauritania has extensive
                                          deposits of iron ore, which account
                                          for half of total exports. The
                                          decline in world demand for this
                                          ore, however, has led to cutbacks in
                                          production. The nation's coastal
                                          waters are among the richest fishing
                                          areas in the world, but
                                          overexploitation by foreigners
                                          threatens this key source of
                                          revenue. The country's first
                                          deepwater port opened near
                                          Nouakchott in 1986. In the past,
                                          drought and economic mismanagement
                                          resulted in a buildup of foreign
                                          debt. In February, 2000, Mauritania
                                          qualified for debt relief under the
                                          Heavily Indebted Poor Countries
                                          (HIPC) initiative and in December
                                          2001 received strong support from
                                          donor and lending countries at a
                                          triennial Consultative Group review.
                                          Mauritania withdrew its membership
                                          in the Economic Community of West
                                          African States (ECOWAS) in 2000 and
                                          subsequently increased commercial
                                          ties with Arab Maghreb Union members
                                          Morocco and Tunisia, most notably in
                                          telecommunications. In 2001,
                                          exploratory oil wells in tracts 80
                                          km offshore indicated potential
                                          viable extraction at current world
                                          oil prices. However, the refinery in
                                          Nouadhibou historically has not
                                          exceeded 20% of its distillation
                                          capacity, and it handled no crude in
                                          the year 2000. A new Investment Code
                                          approved in December 2001 improved
                                          the opportunities for direct foreign
                                     GDP: purchasing power parity - $5 billion
                                          (2001 est.)
                  GDP - real growth rate: 4% (2001 est.)
                        GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,800
                                          (2001 est.)
             GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 25%
                                          industry: 29%
                                          services: 46% (2001 est.)
           Population below poverty line: 50% (2001 est.)
       Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 2.5%
                        percentage share: highest 10%: 30.2% (2000)
     Distribution of family income - Gini 37.3 (1995)
        Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.4% (2001 est.)
                             Labor force: 786,000 (2001)
             Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 50%, services 40%,
                                          industry 10% (2001 est.)
                       Unemployment rate: 21% (1999 est.)
                                  Budget: revenues: $421 million
                                          expenditures: $378 million,
                                          including capital expenditures of
                                          $154 million (2002 est.)
                              Industries: fish processing, mining of iron ore
                                          and gypsum
       Industrial production growth rate: 2% (2000 est.)
                Electricity - production: 154 million kWh (2000)
      Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 84.42%
                                          hydro: 15.58%
                                          other: 0% (2000)
                                          nuclear: 0%
               Electricity - consumption: 143.22 million kWh (2000)
                   Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
                   Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
                  Agriculture - products: dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn,
                                          dates; cattle, sheep
                                 Exports: $359 million (f.o.b., 2000)
                   Exports - commodities: iron ore, fish and fish products,
                      Exports - partners: France 18%, Japan 16%, Italy 13%,
                                          Spain 10% (2000)
                                 Imports: $335 million (f.o.b., 2000)
                   Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, petroleum
                                          products, capital goods, foodstuffs,
                                          consumer goods
                      Imports - partners: France 33%, US 10%, Spain 9%,
                                          Algeria 6%, Germany 6%, Benelux 5%
                         Debt - external: $1.6 billion (2000)
                Economic aid - recipient: $220 million (2000)
                                Currency: ouguiya (MRO)
                           Currency code: MRO
                          Exchange rates: ouguiyas per US dollar - 254.350
                                          (December 2001), 238.923 (2000),
                                          209.514 (1999), 188.476 (1998),
                                          151.853 (1997), 137.222 (1996)
                             Fiscal year: calendar year
     Communications Mauritania
          Telephones - main lines in use: 26,500 (2001)
            Telephones - mobile cellular: 35,000 (2001)
                        Telephone system: general assessment: limited system
                                          of cable and open-wire lines, minor
                                          microwave radio relay links, and
                                          radiotelephone communications
                                          stations (improvements being made)
                                          domestic: mostly cable and open-wire
                                          lines; a recently completed domestic
                                          satellite telecommunications system
                                          links Nouakchott with regional
                                          international: satellite earth
                                          stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic
                                          Ocean) and 2 Arabsat
                Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 14, shortwave 1 (2001)
                                  Radios: 410,000 (2001)
           Television broadcast stations: 1 (2002)
                             Televisions: 98,000 (2001)
                   Internet country code: .mr
       Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 5 (2001)
                          Internet users: 7,500 (2001)
     Transportation Mauritania
                                Railways: 704 km
                                          standard gauge: 704 km 1.435-m gauge
                                          note: owned and operated by
                                          government mining company (2001)
                                Highways: total: 7,720 km
                                          paved: 830 km
                                          unpaved: 6,890 km (2000)
                               Waterways: note: ferry traffic on the Senegal
                       Ports and harbors: Bogue, Kaedi, Nouadhibou,
                                          Nouakchott, Rosso
                         Merchant marine: none (2002 est.)
                                Airports: 26 (2001)
           Airports - with paved runways: total: 9
                                          2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
                                          1,524 to 2,437 m: 6 (2001)
         Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 17
                                          2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
                                          1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
                                          914 to 1,523 m: 7
                                          under 914 m: 3 (2001)
     Military Mauritania
                       Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, National
                                          Gendarmerie, National Guard,
                                          National Police, Presidential Guard
        Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 644,294 (2002 est.)
     Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 312,276 (2002 est.)
           Military expenditures - dollar $37.1 million (FY01)
       Military expenditures - percent of 3.7% (FY01)
     Transnational Issues Mauritania
                                                Disputes - international: none

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