Cooperation with Mauritania on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) began soon after the country became independent in 1960, with the setting up of the state printing press and the national development agency. In the following years, cooperation was extended to key sectors of Mauritania’s economy and society.
GIZ opened its office in the capital Nouakchott in 1991. Currently, 12 seconded and 46 national staff members work for GIZ in Mauritania. In addition, four integrated experts are deployed with partner institutions.
The catastrophic drought in the Sahel in the 1970s led to radical structural change in Mauritania. The population, 70 per cent of which was previously nomadic, has become largely settled, and today only seven per cent of Mauritanians are classed as nomadic. This has had a massive impact on life in both urban and rural areas. The Government’s poverty reduction strategy, which was updated in 2011, takes account of the challenges facing Mauritania:
- consolidating and further democratising society in line with the principles of good governance;
- strengthening economic growth and consolidating macroeconomic conditions;
- involving poor population groups in the growth and development process, especially in urban and rural development;
- promoting sustainable natural resource management and adaptation to climate change;
- safeguarding the public’s access to education and health care.
The Government elected after the 2008 coup and re-elected in 2014 brought new impetus to the democratisation and development of the country. Its efforts in this regard are supported by German international cooperation. German-Mauritanian cooperation, which is undertaken on behalf of the BMZ and receives financial contributions from the European Union, focuses on two priority areas:
Democracy, civil society and public administration
In Mauritania, GIZ supports the political reforms that are necessary to introduce and establish the principles of transparency and good governance, focusing particularly on public financial management, municipal capacity building, and development of the extractive industries. It also fosters dialogue on, and respect for, human rights.
Sustainable natural resource management and adaptation to climate change
Through the sustainable management of ecosystems and their natural resources, the Government of Mauritania aims to align its policies more closely to the needs of the largely poor population. GIZ supports the conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity and the decentralised sustainable management of farmland, forests and grazing areas. Adaptation to climate change is a further priority.
On behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office (AA), GIZ is assisting the Mauritanian Government with capacity building of the police.
GIZ’s work is closely coordinated with measures undertaken by KfW Entwicklungsbank and dovetails with programmes implemented by the European Union and its member states.