Mauritania - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities
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Some of the best market opportunities for investors are in the energy (oil & gas exploration and production, hydrocarbon refinery and storage, renewable energy production, and power generation and transmission), fisheries, agriculture, and tourism sectors.  Mining, primarily of iron ore operated by the state-owned company “Societe Nationale des Industries Minieres” (SNIM), is one of the largest industries in Mauritania, followed by gold production operated by Canadian multinational company Kinross Gold Corporation for over 10 years.  The production of iron ore makes up 46 percent of total exports.  Other minerals currently being mined in Mauritania include copper and a limited variety of rare earth minerals.  

As BP and Kosmos Energy work towards initial production of the GTA natural gas field in early 2024, hydrocarbons are poised to replace iron ore as the primary driver of the Mauritanian economy.  Various supermajor oil and gas companies continue to explore offshore, and 22 blocks remain available to lease.  There are also opportunities to develop fields where oil has already been discovered and to provide supplies and logistical support to companies working in the sector.   Green hydrogen is also an emerging market opportunity in Mauritania, given the availability of about 700,000 square kilometers in the country for the installation of solar panels and/or wind turbines for power generation, according to the Ministry of Petroleum, Mines, and Energy (MPME).   

Mauritania’s agribusiness sector, particularly along the Senegal River, is also ripe for foreign investment.  Nearly fifty percent of Mauritania’s population earns a living from agriculture and livestock, and most of the work is done by hand.  Mauritania’s domestic production in 2021 was only able to meet about one-third of the national food needs, so the country remains heavily reliant on agricultural imports and the market is sensitive to shifting global commodity prices.  On average, the country imports nearly 600,000 tons of cereals yearly, in addition to what it receives in food aid.  As part of an ambitious effort to meet the challenge of food self-sufficiency, the government aims to increase its investment in agriculture.  The Government of Islamic Republic of Mauritania (GIRM) plans to create a wholesale market for fruits and vegetables in the capital city of Nouakchott, increase access to electricity in rural areas, and support agricultural mechanization in the Senegal River Valley to help clear potentially arable land.  The Ministry of Agriculture seeks to aggressively engage in outreach campaigns urging farmers in the southern area to cultivate more land to grow more food and reduce the country’s dependence on imports. 

To facilitate its ambitious plans for the energy, fishing, and agribusiness sectors, Mauritania has renewed its focus on developing infrastructure – particularly road construction and telecommunications.  Ongoing construction projects include:  a 38-kilometer road connecting Nouakchott with the new N’Diago port in the south, a 112-kilometer Aleg-Boutilimit road, and a 42-kilometer Nouakchott-Boutilimit Road.  The newly completed 4,000-kilometer fiber optic line that runs through the major cities in the country will also improve internet connectivity and is another GIRM initiative to create a more conducive business environment.  

As international companies continue to arrive, more opportunities are being created in the service sectors, particularly in hospitality, which is underdeveloped in Mauritania. 
The GIRM has recently increased efforts to create a conducive investment climate for new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country.  The GIRM -established APIM in 2021, which is a public administrative establishment responsible for investment promotion that sits under the Ministry of Economy but has some autonomy in scope and function.  APIM is a one-stop shop for investors: from registering a company, which now takes one to two days, to completing all the administrative formalities, and understanding the taxation regimes and local business conditions, the goal is for the foreign investor to be taken care of by APIM from start to finish.