- GDP (PPP):
- $26.9 billion
- 3.6% 5-year compound annual growth
- $6,341 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- Public Debt:
Mauritania’s economic freedom score is 55.3, making its economy the 117th freest in the 2023 Index. Its score is unchanged from last year. Mauritania is ranked 18th out of 47 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score is below the world average.
Serious institutional weaknesses continue to perpetuate a poor entrepreneurial environment and undercut prospects for long-term development. The protection of property rights is weak, and limited enforcement of the fragile rule of law remains subject to political influence. Financial-sector shallowness and burdensome barriers to trade continue to undermine overall economic efficiency.
Since independence from France in 1960, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania has been governed by dictators and authoritarian regimes typically ended by military coups. Mohamed Ghazouani’s victory in the June 2019 presidential elections has been described as the first peaceful transfer of power in Mauritania’s history and, because of Ghazouani’s military ties, as “just another coup.” Tensions run high among Arabic-speaking descendants of slaves, Arabic-speaking “White Moors,” and sub-Saharan ethnic groups. In 2020, a corruption scandal prompted a cabinet reshuffle. Terrorist groups are active in the mostly desert country. Extractive industries (oil and mines), fisheries, and agriculture dominate the economy.
Rule of Law
The overall rule of law is weak in Mauritania. The country’s property rights score is below the world average; its judicial effectiveness score is below the world average; and its government integrity score is below the world average.
The top individual and corporate tax rates are, respectively, 40 percent and 25 percent. The tax burden equals 14.0 percent of GDP. Three-year government spending and budget balance averages are, respectively, 18.3 percent and 2.7 percent of GDP. Public debt equals 51.7 percent of GDP.
The overall regulatory environment places significant burdens on potential entrepreneurs. Outmoded labor regulations hinder job creation, and the absence of a properly functioning labor market has led to chronically high unemployment. The most recent available inflation rate is 3.8 percent.
The trade-weighted average tariff rate is 9.0 percent. Nontariff barriers and other restrictions prevent entrepreneurs from participating in the global economy, and open-market policies to promote investment are not fully institutionalized. The financial sector, dominated by banking, lacks transparency and efficiency.