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Mauritania’s economic performance in 2013 has been positive with the GDP growth rate for 2013 estimated to be over 6%. The economy continues to be dual structured with an import oriented resource sector comprising 75% of GDP revenues but providing only 3% of the overall employment. There is also a large informal sector combined sustained by remittances and private and public aid. Positive growth and strong macroeconomic performance has been associated with the formal resources sector and has been driven in 2013 particularly by the mining and agricultural sectors and the fiscal and external buffers placed by the IMF. Unfortunately this growth and macroeconomic stability has not been translated to positive impacts on employment, social protection and development. The growth forecast for 2014 remains the same as 2013 with real GDP expected to grow at around 6.4%.

Mauritania’s sectors are relatively undeveloped and undiversified. Mining is the largest export sector. Mauritania shipped more than 13 million tons of iron ore in 2013 valued at $1.4 billion, making it the second largest iron ore exporter in Africa. Mauritania will ship out an estimated 18 million tons of iron ore by 2015 and also exports copper and gold, though it slowed gold mining due to falling world prices. Mauritania has modest off-shore oil and gas reserves with production supported by the World Bank gas-to-power project expected to begin in 2015. Agriculture and construction are the main drivers of the economy and grew in volume by 39.6% and 23.3% respectively in 2012. Mauritania has some of the world’s most abundant fish stocks and the fishing sector grew in 2012 at a rate of 14.8%.

Mauritania’s overall doing business ranking (173 out of 189 economies) fell two ranks. The reasons Mauritania’s lower ranking was an increase in the difficulty of obtaining construction permits (123), electricity (124) and credit (170). Mauritania’s worst performing indicator was the ease of starting a business (173) having fallen 10 ranks since 2013. Mauritania’s best performing indicator was the registration of property (67).

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