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Sub-Saharan Africa


Mauritania ranks 151 out of 162 countries in the Gender Inequality Index, where a high rank equals high equality. Women should always be considered as a particularly vulnerable group though.


Mauritania has a Workplace Index score of 5.1, a Marketplace Index score of 5.2 and a Community and Environment Index score of 5.7 in the Children’s Rights and Business Atlas, where countries receive scores between 0 and 10. A score closer to 0 reflects a need for basic children’s rights due diligence, while a higher score reflects a need for enhanced or heightened due diligence. Children should always be considered as a particularly vulnerable group though. 

Persons with Disabilities

Due to differences in data collection and definitions it is difficult to compare countries on disability prevalence rates. Persons with disabilities should always be considered as a particularly vulnerable group though.

Minorities and Indigenous Peoples

According to the World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples, minority groups in Mauritania include sub-Saharan ethnic groups (Peulh and Toucouleur, Soninké, Wolof, 25 %) and Haratine (45 %). It is difficult to provide transparent data on the ethnic composition of the population since the Mauritanian government systematically refuses to disaggregate the data in terms of ethnicity. In addition, the government considers that Haratines are part of the wider Moorish society and therefore form part of the majority (Haratines and Beydans share the same language and cultural practices, although it is the result of decades of enslavement and assimilation). Four-fifths of Mauritania’s small population live in the Sahel and the fertile lands along the Senegal River in the south-west called Chemama. The Arab Berbers or Maures (Moors) of the population are divided into a dominant group, Beydan (Bithan) or White Maure, and their former slaves, Haratine, who are black but of the same Arab-Berber culture as their former masters. Both speak the Hassaniyya dialect of Arabic. The Beydan control the instruments of state and foreign trade: despite amounting to around 30 % of the population, they occupy about 80 % of the country’s top leadership positions. Although slavery was abolished in 1981 and criminalized in 2007 (replaced by a stronger anti-slavery legislation in 2015), these have never been enforced and measures to provide for the ex-slaves’ economic integration have never been enacted. Beydan and Haratine still retain a form of master-slave relationship in rural areas. Many of Mauritania’s approximately 3 million citizens are traditionally nomadic, but have been migrating into towns as drought and desertification destroy their traditional livelihoods.

Migrant Workers​

According to the ILO Global Estimates on International Migrant Workers, migrant workers as a proportion of all workers is 3 % in the subregion Sub-Saharan Africa.

Persons in Armed Conflict

Mauritania ranks 33 out of 179 countries in the Fragile States Index, where a high rank equals high fragility. For monthly crisis updates, check out CrisisWatch

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