Support to natural resource governance

Project description

Title: Support to natural resource governance in Mauritania
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Mauritania
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Development
Overall term: 2015 to 2019

Mauritania. A surface mine © GIZ


Mauritania is dependent on revenues from its extractive industries. The mining sector alone generates 29 per cent of all government revenue. The country exports copper and gold, but predominantly iron ore. In spite of its geological potential, the commodities sector is insufficiently diversified. This makes Mauritania more dependent on fluctuations in the global market price for mineral resources than almost any other country.

In recent years, Mauritania’s Government has agreed to make gradual reforms to mining, specifically to the legal frameworks and institutional competencies as well as to the cadastral system and the geological information system. However, the relevant governmental institutions still do not have a coherent strategy for coordinating the mining sector – one that would enable mining to evolve into an even stronger branch of industry able to create jobs and increase local added value. 


The basic requirements for establishing a sustainable and diversified extractive sector in Mauritania are established.

Mauritania. Gold panners try to find gold. © GIZ/Photo Projekt-Consult GmbH/Thomas Neu


The programme is being implemented jointly by GIZ and the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) in two interwoven components that complement one another. GIZ mainly advises Mauritania’s Ministry of Petroleum, Energy and Mines in the participatory development of a national mining strategy as well as a communications strategy. BGR is helping to generate more information on selected non-metallic resources.

GIZ supports the ministry through policy, process and technical advisory services and creates opportunities for civil society and the private sector to take part in the strategy development processes. It trains technical staff and managers at the Mining and Finance Ministries and also members of civil society organisations on strategic issues relevant to the extractive sector. Furthermore, it fosters the creation of networks and dialogue forums for stakeholders in partner institutions.

Examples of GIZ services include

  • Baseline analysis and assessment of the strategic situation in selected mining sub-sectors, for example small-scale artisanal gold mining (i.e. by hand), industrial quarries and institutional performance capacity
  • Design of individual stages involved in strategy process preparation, strategy formulation and strategy verification
  • Sensitising civil society to the strategy development process in the mining sector and encouraging people to develop an opinion on this issue.
  • Educational measures for technical staff and managers in the government and administration on technical and economic issues, sector policy standards and also on reform processes in the mining sectors of other African countries
  • Establishment and implementation of target group-specific communication measures
Mauritania. Pre-crushing of materials for artisanal gold mining. © GIZ/Photo Projekt-Consult GmbH/Thomas


At the Mining Ministry’s request, GIZ conducted a situation analysis of the small-scale gold mining sector in the Chami region. Now, for the first time, the authorities have solid and reliable data and information they can use to manage this sector. Thanks to the programme’s advisory services, a legal basis has been prepared in the form of ministerial ordinances.

The programme is carrying out awareness-raising measures in the national and local authorities and amongst civil society to sensitise stakeholders to this sector’s potentials and risks.

Other results:

  • Organisation and technical support of two study trips to Mali and Burkina Faso: The focus was on exchanging ideas on digital mining cadastre systems and lessons learned in artisanal gold mining
  • Formation of, and support for, a core group of civil society actors for the mining sector which serves as the contact point when mobilising civil society representatives as part of the strategic dialogue process with the government
  • A programme analysis of Mining Ministry communications resulted in measures being implemented to support the newly appointed cabinet advisor for communications
  • The programme analysed the significance of the African Union’s ‘Africa Mining Vision’ for Mauritania and advised the Mining Ministry on how this pan-African framework can be taken into account in Mauritania’s own strategy development process
  • Following an assessment of the industrial quarry sector, the regulatory gaps identified are now being closed as part of mining rights reforms

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