Country code: MR
Population (HDR 2014): 4,068 millions
Area: 323 km2
Human Development Index – HDI (2014): 0,56
Ranking HDI (2014): 156
Democratic Growth (2010 – 2015): 2,4%
Literacy rate – 15 years-old and older (HDR 2014): 47%
Gross Domestic Product per inhabitant (in US$): 1275
Gross Domestic Product in US$ (million): 5.442 milliars
Percentage of the population using the Internet: 15,2
Urban population: 59.9%
Life expectancy at birth (men and women): 61,4
Summary about UNDP:

Mauritania has long been one of the least developed countries, where the poverty rate remains high and geographical and social inequalities persist. More recently, according to the criteria of the World Bank, it is considered a lower middle-income country. Democratic institutions are still weak and the environment is extremely vulnerable to climate hazards. UNDP's presence and interventions in the areas of poverty reduction, governance and sustainable development respond to clearly identified needs. UNDP is recognized as a long-standing partner, present in the country, responsive and capable. Through its mandate, it has access to political decision-makers and thus has an advocacy power appreciated by the partners. However, over the period 2009-2015, the problem of lack of political ownership of UNDP projects and their scaling up has often arisen. Several strategies are still awaiting political validation (national strategies for gender mainstreaming, microfinance, micro and small enterprise support, national strategy for social cohesion.) The adopted policy documents are not always followed by However, the political will to lift the country out of poverty is clearly expressed and, after the Strategic Framework for Poverty Reduction, CSLP 2001 - 2015, is translated into the Strategy for Accelerated Growth and Prosperity Shared, SCAPP 2016 - 2030, which is the national strategy for the implementation of Agenda 2030.

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Summary Country Office:

The formulation of the country program document 2012-2016 follows a presidential election in 2009 and the resumption of cooperation between Mauritania and its partners from 2010 onwards, Plan of Action 2011-2015 of the PRSP-III. This CPD is therefore in the perspective of a gradual return to normal and constitutional order. In the paper, UNDP's work on poverty and food insecurity (focus 1) focuses on priorities inherited from previous cycles: formulation of strategies and policies for inclusive growth and improvement Local and community capacities for employment and income generation through the preservation and sustainable economic valuation of natural resources and adaptation to climate change. The national food security strategy is the subject of strong references in this CPD, in particular with regard to access to productive capital and the implementation of a rights-based framework for land tenure.

 Moreover, the reinforcement of social cohesion is a new concern which is in addition to the old priorities. The new program proposed to focus on interventions that had a direct impact on the living conditions of the most vulnerable populations:

  •  To strengthen the efficient consideration of the capacity-building dimension of the Government and civil society, especially for the steering of development at the decentralized level; 
  • To integrate the possibility of sustained support for national execution;
  •  And to strengthen institutional support for the fight against corruption.

During the 2012-2016 CPD, UNDP efforts have focused on creating an enabling environment for development through consolidation of democratic governance and support for national development policies and strategies, Four regions targeted by UNDP human development planning interventions (Assaba, Brakna, Gorgol and Guidimaka). As regards downstream activities, during this cycle, emphasis was placed on pilot actions to create self-employment, protection and enhancement of natural resources, gender equality, Use of renewable energies in rural areas, integration of ex-refugees returning from Senegal, strengthening participation and local governance, and finally response to crises (drought and influx of Malian refugees in Hodh ElChargui en 2012). These interventions are closely linked to three of the UNDAF's four pillars:

  1. the fight against poverty and food insecurity;
  2.  Improving environmental governance and the rational use of natural resources; 
  3. And improving economic, democratic, territorial and local governance.

With regard to gender mainstreaming, the CPD 2012-2016 provides that UNDP interventions will focus on local development programs that have a cross-cutting impact on gender equality and the formulation of strategies and policies for the creation Employed or self-employed, especially for young people and women. The paper also notes that UNDP will accompany the implementation of the gender institutionalization strategy and the gender approach in the terminology of one of the outcomes.

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Evolution of the national context:

The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is situated in the North-West of Africa, bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Senegal to the south, Mali to the South and East, Algeria to the Northeast and Western Sahara to the northwest. This geographical position makes Mauritania a link between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, Mauritania is a breeding ground of civilizations, with a population consisting of Moors, Pulaar, Soninke and Wolof. Its territory is vast, desert and relatively sparsely populated.

Mauritania gained independence in 1960, like most African countries. The country entered very quickly afterwards into a single party regime. From 1978 onwards, a long period of political instability characterized several coups-d'état, more or less successful. A democratic process began in 1992 in the wake of a general movement in Africa, but the openness was timid, the former single party emerging victorious elections held the same year. In 2005, an inclusive national dialogue was held, which led to truly democratic elections in 2007. A year and a half after the election of a first civilian president, a coup was brought to an end. The ensuing political crisis has led to discussions aimed at bringing about a return to constitutional order while bringing improvements to the institutional framework. This was the object of the Dakar agreements, which put an end to the political impasse. In July 2009 a new presidential election was held and 2010 was marked by the resumption of cooperation between Mauritania and its partners following the return to constitutional order. Recently, Mauritania enjoyed political stability and the presidential elections of June 2014 were generally calm.

Mauritania has inherited the French administrative tradition, whose main characteristics in the early 1960s are a great centralization of structures and decisions, the preponderant role of the State in the management of the affairs of the city, particularly in the economic field and the Primacy of the law as an instrument for the normalization of social relations. Over the last fifty years, the country has gradually developed a substantial base of legal, institutional and administrative instruments.

As for the administration, a number of documents have drawn up an inventory of the Mauritanian administration before the period 2009. These are the governance profile of Mauritania carried out by the African Development Bank (2004), the report of the Committee Interdepartmental Conference on Governance (2005), a study entitled "State of governance in West Africa: Mauritania" carried out by CODESRIA and OSIWA (2011) and review of the implementation of the PRSP (2006) -2010). These documents show an administration with an organizational, legal and institutional framework that has modernized some of these key functions, particularly those related to the management of public finances and the management of state personnel, at least at the level of Nouakchott, where a large number of civil servants are centralized. However, they report a very poor performance in the provision of public services and in the steering of public policies. In general, all actors agree that weak administrative capacities are a handicap for the country's recovery despite a substantial increase in resources over the last ten years.

The country has embarked on the process of decentralization since 1986 with the establishment of municipalities, first at the level of the regional capitals, then at the departmental headquarters (in 1987) and finally at the level Of the rural communes (in 1988). The country now has 218 municipalities. The regional (15 regions or wilaya) and department (55 departments or moughataa) are insured by the decentralized services of the different sectors around the governor or Wali (in the region) and the prefect or Hakim (at the department level). However, decentralization has had very little effect on people's lives due to the very limited capacity of the communes and the limited resources available to them.

Most regions are still very under-administered. Indeed, just as municipalities struggle to enter their role due to lack of resources, the deconcentrated technical services of the State are deprived in terms of skilled human resources, financial resources and delegation of power. The extent of the territory and the adversity of the environment add to the weakness of state services within the country to constitute an additional factor for the vulnerability of the poorest populations in rural areas, Access to social services (education, health, and more generally to development projects and programs).

As for the economic situation in Mauritania, Mauritania's gross national income per capita is estimated at US $ 1,060 in 2013, which places Mauritania in the category of lower middle-income countries. Over the past fifteen years, growth has evolved in saw-toothed form as shown in Figure 1.

Mauritania possesses considerable natural resources: iron ore, gold and copper ore, a little oil, and a coast of the most fishy in the world. The most recent economic accounts (2013) show a preponderance of mining, fishmonger and petroleum activities. The share of mining activities increased from 12.2% in 2006 to 25.2% in 2013.

The pace of poverty reduction has accelerated over the past six years. Estimated to be 42% in 2008, the incidence of income poverty, according to data from the Permanent Household Living Conditions Survey (HELS) 2014, has fallen considerably since then, with an average annual decline of 1.8 % At the national level during the period 2008-2014 (2.5% in rural areas versus 0.7% in urban areas). However, it is possible to question this apparently spectacular success, given that the average official growth rate (insufficiently inclusive) during the same period was of the order of 5%, that the unemployment rate And demographic growth remains strong. The latter is about 2.8% between the 1988 and 2014 General Population and Housing Censuses (RGPH). Encouragingly, these figures obscure significant spatial disparities (49% Live below the poverty line in Tagant and Guidimakha compared to 14% in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou) and socio-demographic (59.6% among farmers and 41.8% among farmers). The disparities would probably be greater if more disaggregated data (communes, villages or marginalized social groups) were available.

Mauritania has a human development index (HDI) of 0.506 in 2015 - which places the country in the category of low human development and places it in 156thposition out of 188 countries and territories. Between 1985 and 2014, the value of the HDI in Mauritania increased from 0.362 to 0.506, an increase of 39.7% or an average annual increase of 1.16%.

With regard to achieving the MDGs, according to the Government's 2010 Report on Progress Towards Achieving the MDGs with the support of UN agencies, significant progress has been achieved through the implementation of several policies And sectoral programs, particularly in the areas of education, infrastructure and sanitation. However, judging by the results of the EPCV 2014, it would appear that the country is not on track to reach all targets set by the end of 2015. Notably MDGs 4 and 5 are out of reach and Essential components of MDGs 2, 3 and 7 are also being met (eg, secondary schooling and sanitation). A final report, under development, will be used to establish the final results.

As for gender, there are significant inequalities between men and women, especially in rural areas. Mauritania has made progress on women's access to political life: the 2006 Constitution guarantees the participation of women in political life and the enactment of a law establishing a quota of 20% of women on all lists Was consolidated following the elections of 2006-07, which enabled women to obtain 22% of the seats in the National Assembly (compared with 18% in 2006), 17.8% in the Senate (Compared with 16% in 2006) and more than 35% of the seats of municipal councils (compared with 30% in 2006). There is also a set of national policies and strategies, such as the National Strategy for the Advancement of Women (SNPF), which was drafted in 1994 and revised in 2008, with the aim of defining a coherent national approach to women's advancement, And to set development partners on national priorities in this area). There is also the National Strategy for the Institutionalization of Gender, adopted in March 2015. Mauritania is also committed through international conventions, treaties and platforms such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Ratified in 1999. The country is also committed to promoting women's rights and combating all forms of violence and discrimination against women through regional conventions and treaties. However, the level of harmonization of national legislation with international conventions remains low and the situation remains very worrying about the participation of women in economic life, as well as violence against women and their fundamental rights.

It should also be noted that the high dependence of populations on climatic hazards makes any reduction in poverty reversible. Mauritania, very arid, is the Sahelian country most affected by the advance of the desert. The successive droughts of the 1970s, which have dealt a severe blow to the vegetation cover, have disrupted the way land is occupied. Thus, the rise of the desert, combined with the problem of natural resource management, has confronted Mauritania with the problems of mastering spatial planning, the fragility of its ecosystem and the degradation of wood resources, the regeneration of which Is unable to cover national wood consumption for energy. Indeed, desertification leads to the loss of arable land, a decline in the area of ​​pastures and forests, and water resources, seriously affecting agricultural productivity. This has led, among other things, to food insecurity and the massive movement towards the cities of rural populations.Although mostly located in arid zone, Mauritania also has coastal ecosystems with valuable resources for its development. However, these ecosystems are threatened by fisheries and oil exploitation. In Nouakchott, the urbanization of peripheral areas has been rapidly made, including in flood zones, which now contributes to the seasonal flooding in the capital.

In 2011, like most countries in the Sahelian region, Mauritania had one of the largest rainfall deficits of the decade. Compared to normal between 1971 and 2000, 60% of the stations were highly deficient. This deficit resulted, among other things, in a worrying pastoral situation and a sharp reduction in agricultural production, aggravating the food crisis. The other consequence of this rainfall deficit was a lack of clean water for several tens of thousands of rural people with public health implications.

On the security front, since the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) joined the Al Qaeda movement in 2007 with the creation of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the Islamist terrorist threat is felt in the country, as well In the Sahelo-Saharan region than in the capital. Between December 2007 and February 2011, Mauritania was targeted by terrorist groups that carried out attacks against the armed forces, kidnappings and killings of Western nationals, and even attempted suicide bombings.

The crisis in northern Mali has engendered an influx of Tuareg fighters and civilian populations who have sought refuge in Mauritania. A refugee camp is thus established in Mbera, about 50 kilometers from the Malian border in the Hodh ElChargui region. In February 2017, the Malian refugee population of the camp is estimated at 47,600 people.

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