Mauritania is a country in West Africa. It borders Algeria, Mali, Senegal and the Western Sahara. The country also has a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean in the west. The country is about three times the size of Germany, but has only as many inhabitants as the German state of Saxony.
Nouakchott is the capital and also the largest city in the country. About every fifth inhabitant of Mauritania lives there. Unlike in many other West African countries, the official language in Mauritania is Arabic.
A large part of Mauritania consists of desert. That is why comparatively few people live in Mauritania. Germany, for example, has 20 times as many inhabitants as Mauritania. At the same time, Mauritania is more than twice the size of Germany.
The most important natural resource is iron ore. There is also gold and oil, but little of it is extracted. Therefore, fishing and agriculture are important in Mauritania's economy.
Because of the dry climate, very little food can be grown in Mauritania. These are mainly millet, maize, rice and legumes like beans. However, the people cannot sell any of this, because they need it all for themselves. For the rest of the people, many foods are very expensive. There is also some livestock farming with camels, cattle, sheep and goats. Many people move with the animals as nomads from one area to another.
Mauritania is quite backward in many respects. There is hardly any internet access in this country and there are many people who cannot read or write. This is another reason why Mauritania is one of the poorest countries in the world.