Mauritania is a multiethnic and multicultural country, where the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa meet. It is ranked among the least developed countries (LDCs) of the planet, and despite continued growth in recent years it faces many challenges. Mauritania's social and territorial cohesion is one of the main concerns of AFD.
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Students of the Arafatt high school, Nouakchott, Mauritania
Students of the Arafatt high school, Nouakchott, Mauritania

Furthering access to essential services

Mauritania access to fresh water

Furthering access to essential services

Mauritania is a desert country that lacks water. Only 21% of the population has access to drinking water, and only 14% of the rural population access to a proper sanitation network. Likewise, electricity remains a privilege for the majority of Mauritanians, with rate of coverage at less than 50% of its estimated 3.5 million inhabitants.

Since the early 1990s, AFD has been working to promote access to drinking water and sanitation through several projects cofinanced with the European Union. By 2019, these projects will supply sanitation access to 400,000 people and strengthen hygiene conditions for 550,000 people, representing 26% of the rural population.

Since 2010, AFD has also been supporting the restructuring of the energy sector, and especially the Société mauritanienne d'électricité (SOMELEC). In 2013, in partnership with the European Union, AFD financed the construction of a thermal/photovoltaic hybrid power plant in the Kiffa region, as well as a transmission and distribution network to supply nearby cities and villages in electricity. This pilot project is destined to be widely reproduced in the region. A second power plant of the same type is currently being constructed in Nema.

Supporting local and rural development

Mauritania Water conveyance Vaincre

Supporting local and rural development

Mauritania is characterized by uneven distribution of economic activities and populations. In places where people have recently become more sedentary, the multitude of small settlements far from one another makes coverage by basic social services costly and access to economic opportunities (products, markets and jobs) difficult. Balanced and sustainable territorial development is a major challenge for the country. Furthermore, serious food crises continue to affect the rural populations, forcing the country to import food.

Since 2006, AFD has been financing a program ("Valorisation des initiatives de croissance régionale équitable" - VAINCRE) to promote initiatives for equitable regional growth to help local economic development. Between 2006 and 2015, nearly 1,000 projects (in health care, education and water) were initiated by 73 beneficiary municipalities. A new phase will begin in early 2018.

In order to structurally reinforce the food security of rural populations, AFD is also providing guidance for projects to improve productivity in village irrigation projects (PIVs) along the Senegal River.

Promoting education and employment

Higher Institute for Electronic Engineering , Mauritania

Promoting education and employment

The education system in Mauritania suffers insufficies at all levels. This hinders access to jobs and has left more than half a million people, essentially youth, unemployed.

In 1999, the government set up an Arabic-French bilingual program to strengthen national unity. It offers all children equal chance for success in school, whatever their native language. The development plan for the education sector (PNDSE) has enabled all children access to primary school. Nonetheless, the teaching staff lacks the qualifications, especially in language ability, to ensure quality education.

AFD supports schools. Between 2012 and 2021, AFD will have committed 12.7 billion euros to improve the quality of teaching and bilingualism among teachers, and to support access to secondary school for girls.

To facilitate access to the job market, AFD has also decided to provide its support for vocational training. It is helping seven centers to purchase equipment, renovate their facilities and establish training programs where labor demand is strong (fishery and water-based trades). AFD is also a partner of the technical and vocational training center of the mining company Société nationale industrielle et minière (SNIM), the flagship of the Mauritanian economy. Two hundred youth are trained there each year in skills (mechanics, electricity, boilerworks) for which demand by mining companies is strong.

Spotlight on support to banks

Proparco, AFD's subsidiary dedicated to the private sector, is very active among Mauritanian banks. It holds 20% of shares in Attijari Bank and has granted a credit line of 2 million euros to Banque Populaire de Mauritanie. For its part, AFD grants portfolio guarantees (ARIZ) to the Mauritanian subsidiary of Société Générale and to Attijari Bank, and it supports easier access to finance by small enterprises thanks to support to the Mauritanian Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

Encouraging sustainable development

Mauritania Mines Project SNIME

Encouraging sustainable development

Mauritania is a country with contrasting natural resources. While made up of a huge desert space, most of its activity is concentrated on a narrow coastal band rich with unique biological wealth.

In partnership with the FFEM, AFD supports projects to protect the country's marine and coastal biodiversity.

In order to promote long-lasting and sustainable development, AFD is encouraging limitation of greenhouse gas emissions, all the while supporting the exploitation of the country's natural mining resources in partnership with SNIM.

Keeping alive women who give life

Health center Dar Naïm Post-childbirth consultation, Mauritania

Keeping alive women who give life

Mauritania has experienced a decrease in maternal mortality rate in recent years, but it still remains high, at around 500 per 100,000 births. There are many reasons for this, but the main two are the sparseness of the population spread over a very huge area and the low level of medical personnel.

Since 2008, AFD has been supporting the expansion of "Forfait Obstétrical," a voluntary insurance system that covers maternal health expenses in public healthcare centers. In 2012, AFD further strengthened its financial help, along with aid from the development agency of Monaco, in order to include the most disadvantaged women.

In nearly 10 years, AFD has committed more than 10 million euros in order to reduce the maternal mortality rate and strengthen the training of medical personnel.

Mauritania is a multiethnic country. At the crossroads between the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa, its population is characterized by great gaps in wealth and social status. Despite its rather low population growth, the country remains ranked among the least developed countries (LDCs) of the planet and must rebalance its development.

Because of lower market prices for the minerals Mauritania mines, the country must turn to a more sustainable and job-creating development model, and to better sharing of wealth.

Present in the country since 1978, AFD is an important partner both for local and national authorities and for private operators in the country.

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This map is for illustrative purposes only and does not engage the responsibility of the AFD Group
Funding type


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  • Climate
  • Employment and Shared Prosperity
  • Energy
  • Global Partnerships
  • Hunger and Food Security
  • Inequalities
  • Infrastructures
  • Poverty
  • Sustainable Cities

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  • Grant
  • Loan
  • Non Sovereign Concessional Loan
  • Sovereign Concessional Loan


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