House entrance in the oasis town of Oualata, Mauritania

Mauritania A link between North and sub-Saharan Africa

Compared with other countries in the Sahel region, Mauritania is considered to be relatively stable politically. The country therefore plays an important role for the stability of the entire region. Mauritania serves as a political and cultural link between the Arab Maghreb countries and the countries south of the Sahara.

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Workers at a fish factory in the port of Nouadhibou, Mauritania

Mauritania is one of the least developed countries in the world. Eighty per cent of the country is desert; agricultural production is only possible in the South, in the valley of the Senegal River.

A considerable proportion of the population lives in poverty. The education and the health system and public administration are in need of fundamental reform. On the current United Nations Human Development Index (HDI), Mauritania is ranked 158th out of 191 countries.


German development cooperation with Mauritania

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Local government employees in Ouad Naga, Mauritania

Mauritania is one of the partner countries with which Germany has a programme of close cooperation based on intergovernmental agreements, jointly pursuing shared long-term development goals. Germany's interventions are geared, in particular, towards creating economic, political and social opportunities for young people, women and disadvantaged ethnic communities. An overarching goal is to prevent terrorist activities by groups from the neighbouring countries of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad from spilling over into Mauritania.

Mauritania’s economic and social development is heavily dependent on contributions from the international donor community. At the German-Mauritanian government negotiations in December 2018, 24.5 million euros was committed for 2018 and 2019 of which 12 million euros was earmarked for Financial Cooperation and 12.5 million euros for Technical Cooperation. In addition, the partner country is benefitting from funding under the BMZ special initiative for stabilising the MENA region, the special initiative “Tackling the root causes of displacement – reintegrating refugees” and the special initiative “ONE WORLD – No Hunger”.

Alignment with new BMZ strategy

Government negotiations between Germany and Mauritania were held in summer 2020. It was agreed then that – in line with the BMZ 2030 reform process – cooperation would in future focus on three core areas:

  • Peaceful and inclusive societies,
  • Conserving nature and natural resources, protecting life on Earth,
  • Sustainable economic development, training and employment.

Regional cooperation

As part of its regional development cooperation Germany is supporting, in particular, projects of the World Food Programme and the children's organisation UNICEF. Support is also being provided for a World Bank programme that assists poor and particularly vulnerable households in the Sahel region in becoming more resilient against the effects of climate change (Sahel Adaptive Social Protection Program).

Regional alliance G5 and the Sahel Alliance

In 2014, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad formed the regional G5 Sahel alliance. The alliance has both a military and a development-related component. Germany is supporting the G5 in terms of both security and development policy. The BMZ’s engagement in the Sahel is solely in the field of development cooperation.

With a view to better coordinating the international commitment in the region and making it more effective, the Sahel Alliance was created in 2017. Its work is focused mainly on the core areas of education and youth employment, rural development and food security, climate and energy, good governance, basic services and decentralisation.

COVID-19 pandemic Support for health facilities

The COVID-19 pandemic presents some massive health-related and socio-economic challenges for Mauritania. Germany is supporting its partner country in overcoming this crisis. Almost 100 hospitals and municipal health centres have been supplied with protective equipment, for instance. In addition, awareness-raising campaigns have been promoted with the purpose of countering the spread of the virus and an increase in domestic violence. And a study has been financed to assess the impact of the crisis on food security in the country. Funding has also been provided for hygiene measures with a view to maintaining fishing operations.

Local government employees in Ouad Naga, Mauritania

Core area “Peaceful and inclusive societies” Increasing transparency, strengthening human rights Internal link

In order to increase political stability in Mauritania, Germany is supporting the democratisation process in its partner country and helping to improve governance.

An officer of the Mauritanian coast guard monitoring fisheries using radar

Core area “Conserving nature and natural resources, protecting life on Earth” Achieving food security, protecting soils and fish stocks Internal link

Germany is helping Mauritania with protecting its very species-rich fishing grounds, sustainably managing the farming, grazing and forest lands in the south of the country and adapting to climate change.

Worker repairing locomotives of an iron ore company in Nouadhibou, Mauritania

Core area “Sustainable economic development, training and employment” Improving job opportunities through vocational education Internal link

Germany is supporting Mauritania’s government in its efforts to further expand the vocational training offers across the country and thus improve the employment and income opportunities of young people.

Current situation

Political situation
Boat builder in R'Gueiba, Banc d'Arguin National Park, Mauritania
Governance and human rights
Social situation
Workers at a fish factory in the port of Nouadhibou, Mauritania
Economic situation
Loading centre of an iron ore company in Nouadhibou, Mauritania

As at: 31/03/2021