Mauritania flag Mauritania: Economic outline

Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Mauritania's GDP growth is considerably exposed to fluctuations in global mineral commodity prices given the large share of extractive industries in the country's economy. After contracting by 1.8% in 2020 following the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the economy rebounded by an estimated 2.7% in 2021, underpinned by the resumption of public and private investment and structural reforms. The IMF expects growth to reach 5% this year and to accelerate to 8.6% in 2023, as exports and domestic demand continue to gradually improve. However, the slowdown in Chinese demand will probably hamper iron ore exports, as prices are expected to moderate.

The performance of the economy will depend on the continuation of current reforms in the sectors of agriculture, port infrastructure, business climate and on increased production in the extractive sector following the expansion of the country’s gold mines. The Covid-19 outbreak prompted large financing needs and the country received larger loans from the IMF than initially envisaged. IMF loans were complemented by international donor financing, which overall contained the budget deficit to 1.7% of GDP in 2021 despite the pandemic. As revenues from mining and fiscal receipts will continue to benefit from the economic recovery, the deficit is expected to narrow to 0.6% of GDP in 2022 (Coface). The debt-to-GDP ratio decreased to 55.4% in 2021 (from 59.2% one year earlier), and is forecast to increase slightly to 57.6%  this year and the next (IMF), as the end of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) will translate into higher debt servicing costs. Nevertheless, in 2021 Mauritania found an agreement with Saudi Arabia for the suspension of USD 8.2 million of debt payments, and Kuwait (restructuring of USD 82.7 million). Inflation accelerated by 0.4%in 2021, reaching 2.7%, and is expected to spike to 3.8% in 2022 and 4% the following year, as per the IMF forecasts.

Overall, the government will need to modernise the country and to support education and industrial diversification to limit its dependence on raw material prices fluctuations (iron, copper, gold, quartz, cattle, and fish). To this extent, authorities have elaborated an inclusive growth strategy for the period 2017-30, planning structural reforms and significant investment in infrastructure. The three pillars of this investment strategy are inclusive economic growth, human capital development and governance improvement. The country's unemployment rate was estimated at 11.3% in 2020 (World Bank, latest data available), with more than 16.6% of the population living below the extreme poverty line according to Oxfam.

Main Indicators 201920202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 7.89e8.11e9.169.349.80
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 5.8e-1.8e2.75.08.6
GDP per Capita (USD) 1,944e1,956e2,1612,1542,212
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 56.859.2e55.457.657.6
Inflation Rate (%) 2.32.3e2.73.84.0
Current Account (billions USD) -0.83e-0.61e-0.65-0.83-0.49
Current Account (in % of GDP) -10.5e-7.6e-7.1-8.9-5.0

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20152017201820192020
Mauritanian Ouguiya (MRO) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GHS 87.518.237.787.066.74

Source: World Bank, 2015


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Latest Update: June 2022