Mauritania Map


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.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH opened its office in the capital Nouakchott in 1991. Currently, 15 seconded and around 50 national staff work for GIZ in Mauritania. In addition, four integrated experts and two development workers assigned by GIZ 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 some seven per cent of Mauritanians are nomads. This has had a massive impact on life in both urban and rural areas.

The current Government, which came to power in democratic elections after the 2008 coup and was re-elected in 2014, has brought new impetus to the democratisation and development of the country. The top priority for the years ahead is to reduce poverty. Mauritania is also aiming to secure strong, sustainable and socially equitable growth, accompanied by investment in initial and ongoing training and improved provision of basic services by the state. Good governance is a further goal.

German-Mauritanian cooperation, which is undertaken on behalf of BMZ and receives financial contributions from the European Union, focuses on two priority areas:

  1. Democracy, civil society and public administration
  2. Environmental policy and the protection and sustainable management of natural resources

GIZ is supporting political reform processes in Mauritania. The goal is to introduce and establish the principles of transparency and good governance, focusing particularly on public financial management, municipal capacity building, and the extraction of mineral and fossil resources. It also fosters dialogue on, and respect for, human rights. On behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office, GIZ is assisting the Mauritanian Government with building the capacity of the police and expanding cooperation with Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger on police work.

Through the sustainable management of ecosystems and their natural resources, the Mauritanian Government aims to align its policies more closely with the needs of the largely poor population. Areas supported by GIZ include 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. The main beneficiaries of these activities are farmers and fishing households.

As part of BMZ’s special initiative to foster stabilisation and development in the Middle East and North Africa, GIZ is also promoting employment in rural areas. This includes providing young people with initial and further training to assist them in finding jobs in rural environments. Another project is working to increase productivity in artisanal fisheries.

GIZ’s work in Mauritania is closely coordinated with projects undertaken by KfW Development Bank and dovetails with programmes implemented by the European Union and its member states.