mauritaniaMauritania is located in the Saharan region of West Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean on the west. More than 90 percent of the country’s land surface is desert or semi-desert. Mauritania is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Its population is about 3.8 million, and the name of the capital is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast. The country faced serious droughts and the risk of mass starvation during the 1970s and 1980s. Poverty is widespread. The country is administratively divided into 12 regions (wilaya), which are further sub-divided into 44 departments (moughataa).


  • Authored by M. Kalim Qamar (September 2013)
  • Edited by Burton E. Swanson