Mauritania - Country Commercial Guide
Investment Climate Statement (ICS) 
Last published date:

The U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statements provide information on the business climates of more than 170 economies and are prepared by economic officers stationed in embassies and posts around the world.  They analyze a variety of economies that are or could be markets for U.S. businesses.

Topics include Openness to Investment, Legal and Regulatory systems, Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property Rights, Transparency, Performance Requirements, State-Owned Enterprises, Responsible Business Conduct, and Corruption.

These statements highlight persistent barriers to further U.S. investment.  Addressing these barriers would expand high-quality, private sector-led investment in infrastructure, further women’s economic empowerment, and facilitate a healthy business environment for the digital economy.

Executive Summary

Mauritania, primarily a desert nation with a mere 0.5% of its vast 1.03 million square kilometers identified as arable, is showing resilience in recovering from the COVID-19 economic downturn. Despite global challenges spurred by Russia’s war against Ukraine, the combination of significant international support and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania’s (GIRM) rapid economic recovery strategy has reset the economic trajectory.  Prime Minister Bilal, on January 27, conveyed optimism about Mauritania’s economic future, highlighting their resource deposits, including the significant Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) natural gas field. Mauritania’s 2023 budget, approved by its National Assembly on December 29, 2022, allocates about $3 billion, marking a 3.03% growth from its 2022 counterpart.  This budget embodies President Ghazouani’s campaign pledge, “Taahoudaty”, emphasizing equitable and comprehensive economic and social development.

Furthermore, the anticipated GTA gas production start, set for early 2024, establishes Mauritania as a significant global and African regional energy player.  This production, combined with its renewable energy potential, positions Mauritania for a green hydrogen-based energy transition.  Mauritania’s geographic advantage, situated near Europe, becomes even more pivotal, particularly given Europe’s intent to diversify its gas sources post the Russia-Ukraine conflict.  The Bir Allah offshore gas project, a collaboration with British Petroleum and Kosmos Energy, further amplifies this potential.

Historically, while U.S. investments in Mauritania centered on hydrocarbons and mining, emerging sectors, such as agriculture, offer novel opportunities, especially as Mauritania endeavors to achieve food self-sufficiency.  U.S. imports from Mauritania in 2022 stood at $6.1 million, majorly consisting of seafood and fertilizer components.  With the country’s main exports in 2021 being iron ore, minerals, and seafood, Mauritania’s 2022-2024 economic forecast seems promising, supported by private consumption and investment surges. The World Bank’s report from June 21, 2022, projects a robust 6.5% GDP growth in 2023-2024, driven by increased public investment and the forthcoming GTA gas production.

To access the ICS for Mauritania, visit the U.S. Department of State’s Investment Climate Statement website.