Mauritania Overview

GENERAL

Official name of the state

Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

Capital

Nouakchott.

Geography

As a country located in Africa according to itypeauto, Mauritania borders with Algeria, Mali, Western Sahara (Democratic Arab Republic of Sahara) and Senegal. To the west is the Atlantic Ocean. The state consists mainly of the desert plains of the Sahara with sand dunes and in places rocky plateaus with deep gorges and lonely peaks. The 500 m high Adrar Plateau lies in the middle of the country, the Tagant Plateau in the south rises to 600 m. There are several cities, small villages and oases in this region. The north bank of the Senegal River, the southern border of the country, is the only region in the country that is covered with vegetation all year round – the fauna is also diverse here.

Government

Presidential republic since 1960. The 1991 constitution is based on Islamic law (Sharia). Constitutional reform in June 2006. Bicameral parliament: National Assembly with 81, Senate with 56 members. Colonel Maaouiya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya (head of state since 1984) was overthrown in a coup in August 2005. Since then, the country has been under military government. Independent since 1960 (former French colony).

Head of state

Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, since July 2009.

Head of government

Prime Minister Yahya Ould Hademine, since August 2014.

Electricity

127/220 V, 50 Hz. Round two-pole plugs.

Time zone

Greenwich Mean Time: CET -1

Mauritania Overview

LANGUAGE

Overview

The official languages are Arabic and Wolof; French is the language of business and education. The Mauritanians of Arab or Berber descent speak the Arab Hassaniya dialect. In addition, other languages, including Solinke and Pulaar.

DUTY-FREE SHOPPING

Overview

The following articles can be imported into Mauritania duty-free (people over 18 years):
200 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 500 g tobacco;
2 l wine and 0.5 l alcohol over 22% (only foreigners; must be declared);
50 g perfume and 250 ml eau de cologne.
1 camera and 1 cine camera and 1 radio set;
1 projector (tourists only).

Prohibited imports

Drugs.

ECONOMY

Business etiquette

Good knowledge of French is necessary.

Business hours:
Sat-Wed 8 am-3pm; Thu 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Economy

Austrian-Arab Chamber of Commerce
Lobkowitzplatz 1, A-1015 Vienna
Tel: (01) 513 39 65.
Internet: www.aacc.at

Chambre de Commerce, d’Agriculture, d’Elevage, d’Industrie et des Mines de Mauritanie
BP 215, MR-Nouakchott
Tel: 25 22 14/15.

Business contacts

Austrian-Arab Chamber of Commerce
Lobkowitzplatz 1, A-1015 Vienna
Tel: (01) 513 39 65.
Internet: www.aacc.at

Chambre de Commerce, d’Agriculture, d’Elevage, d’Industrie et des Mines de Mauritanie
BP 215, MR-Nouakchott
Tel: 25 22 14/15.

COMMUNICATION

Phone

Remote dial service in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou. No area codes. All international calls are made through the international operator.

Cellphone

GSM 900. Reception / transmission range only in larger cities. Network operators are Mauritel (Internet: www.mauritel.mr or www.mauritelmobiles.mr) and Mattel. Mainly pre-paid cards are offered, which can be purchased from small dealers and shops everywhere.

Internet

Main provider: Mauritel (Internet: www.mauritel.mr). There is an internet café in Nouakchott.

Post Office

International postal service in major cities only. Airmail shipments to Europe take up to two weeks on the move.

Radio

Since the use of shortwave frequencies changes several times over the course of a year, it is advisable to contact Deutsche Welle customer service directly (Tel: (+49) (0228) 429 32 08. Internet: www.dw-world.de) to request.

SHOP

Overview

Handcrafted goods such as dyed leather pillows, engraved silver items, carpets and wood carvings are available in the open markets. A good selection of silver jewelry, sabers, wooden and silver boxes, carpets and ornate nomad tents can be purchased at the Craft Center in Nouakchott. The Tagant region is known for Neolithic arrowheads, awls and pottery, and in Boutilimit, in the south of the country, there is an Institute of High Islamic Studies (Marabout Center), which makes carpets from goat and camel hair. Shop opening times: Sa-Thu 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

CULINARY

ACCOMMODATION

Hotels

There are not many hotels on offer and you should book in advance. The few hotels in Nouakchott are very comfortable (air conditioning), but quite expensive. Invoices usually include service charges and taxes. Further information from the Ministère du Commerce, de l’Artisanat et du Tourisme (see addresses).

CULTURE

Religion

Islam is the state religion (99.6% Malakite Sunnis); Christian minorities.

Social rules of conduct

The country has been influenced by Islam since the 7th century, and visitors should respect religious laws and customs. Women should dress cautiously. Almost all of the inhabitants of Mauritania are descended from nomadic tribes. Class and tribal rivalries are not uncommon. Tip: 12-15% is common.

CLIMATE

Best travel time

Dry and hot, hardly any rain. There is a rainy season in the south of the country (July – October). The temperatures on the coast are tempered by sea breezes; This does not apply to the area around Nouakchott, where it is very hot and the rainy season begins about a month later. In the desert, March and April are cool and windy.

COUNTRY DATA

Area code +222 Area (sq km) 1030 700 Population 3596 702 Population density (per sq km) 3 Population in 2015 Member of the EU No main emergency number 117