1 030 700 km2






The country is divided into two main climatic zones: the Sahara and the Sahel; each of them having a coastal element and a mainland element.  The coastline in each climate area is characterized by relatively high humidity, and small daily and annual variations in temperature, while the mainland area shows much greater variations in temperatures, both daily and annual, and an extreme dryness in the atmosphere, particularly in the Saharan region, which experiences a very low annual rainfall with high evaporation. About two-thirds of the country has a Saharan climate. Daytime temperatures exceed 38º C in most areas for over 6 months of the year, however the nights are cool. Southern Mauritania has a Sahelian climate with one rainy season from July to October. Annual rainfall averages 660mm.

Natural Resources:

The economic potential of Mauritania relies mainly on the mining sector, fishing, raising of livestock, and to a lesser degree, crop agriculture. Agriculture contributes 12% of GDP through products as livestock, traditional fisheries, millet, maize, wheat, dates, and rice. Industry contribution stands at 49% of GDP while Service sector 39% of GDP.


Agriculture is a traditional activity in Mauritania. Agriculture is much localized in the eastern and south-eastern parts of the country, and along the Senegal River. The traditional crops in Mauritania are sorghum, millet, maize, wheat, barley, and “niebe” (beans) and their related wild species. These species may be grown in association with varieties of gourds. Given the role played by the date palm (phoenix dactilifera) in the agricultural system as well as in local traditions, fruit growing is also among the traditional agricultural practices in Mauritania.

Climate Vulnerabilities:

The most obvious effects of climate change on the land ecosystem in Mauritania are desertification and its consequences. The disappearance of the vegetation gives rise to the movement of the sand and to badlands. Livestock farming in Mauritania has been extremely vulnerable to the effects of drought. With regard to marine and coastal ecosystems, the adverse effects of climate change can be observed through the rising of the sea level and of the temperatures, the increased frequency of major storms and the consequences they generate. The rise in sea level brings with it increased flooding in the rainy season, coastal erosion, the infiltration of sea water in the water-tables, the disappearance of low-lying wet lands and all the related biodiversity, major effects on the human habitat and on all the coastal socio-economic infrastructures.



Badlands: a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. It can resemble malpaísa terrain of volcanic rock. Canyons, ravines, gullies, hoodoos and other such geological forms are common in badlands. They are often difficult to navigate by foot. Badlands often have a spectacular colour display that alternates from dark black/blue coal to bright clays to red scoria.

Desertification: the process of fertile land transforming into desert typically as a result of deforestation, drought or improper/inappropriate agriculture

Gourds: is a plant of the family Cucurbitaceae. Gourd is occasionally used to describe crops like cucumbers, squash, luffas, and melons. The term gourd, however, can more specifically refer to the plants of the two Cucurbitaceae genera Lagenaria and Cucurbita, or also to their hollow, dried-out shell. They are used for ornamentation or for making musical instruments and utensils. Normally they are inedible due to a lack of flesh and at times bad taste, although some varieties such as the snake gourd can be eaten in addition to utilitarian purposes.

Niebe: is a bean medium shaped kidney. It has a slightly sweet flavour. It is a cowpea subspecies plant common in Africa. In English it is called “black-eyed pea”, the name taken by the famous group of American Hip-Hop Black Eyed Peas.