Imports$2.854 billion (2011 est.)
Exports$2.799 billion (2011 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)7.5% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate30% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$2,200 (2011 est.)
National product real growth rate5% (2010 est.)
Internet users75,000 (2009)
Telephones - mobile cellular2.745 million (2009)
Population growth rate2.323% (2012 est.)
Population3,359,185 (July 2012 est.)
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.
Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA seized power in a coup in 1984 and ruled Mauritania with a heavy hand for more than two decades.
A series of presidential elections that he held were widely seen as flawed....
Half the population still depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though many of the nomads and 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 nearly 40% of total exports.
The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world but overexploitation by foreigners threatens this key source of revenue....