MAURITANIA

RISK RATING
Elevated
Default High Risk Score 5.20
Normal Average 4.10
Weighted Average 3.64
RISK RATING HISTORY
RISK RATING SCALE

Risk Rating Scale

Severe: 8.0 to 10
High: 6.0 to 7.9
Elevated: 4.0 to 5.9
Moderate: 2.0 to 3.9
Low: 0.0 to 1.9
EXCHANGE RATE
Country Outlook

A political dispute between Mauritania’s current and former presidents will raise the risk of political instability in the country, although this trend is unlikely to impact investments. A greater concern is lower demand for exports from the mining and gas sectors. The political, military, and business elite is composed of Ould Bisba tribal leaders and their backers from the Smasside tribe. This set of influence-makers are the main beneficiaries of state revenue from the mining sector. Ahead of last year’s election, considerable mining and hydrocarbon revenues were deployed to fund state patronage and placatory spending to sway the country’s electorate and push up the ruling party voting base. This increase in spending may have some longer-term implications although Mauritania’s economic outlook looks set to recover quickly in 2021

  • Mohamed Ould Cheikh el Ghazouani succeeded Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz as president in 2019, marking the first democratic transition of power in Mauritania since the country‚Äôs independence from France in 1960. The political transition had the backing of the all-powerful military. However, Ghazouani has since rejected Aziz‚Äôs leadership of the UPR and the parliamentary party has since confirmed its support for the current president. Since coming to power, President Ghazouani has launched a political reform programme that is aimed at appeasing the country‚Äôs opposition. The outreach to the opposition and increased spending on the long-time side-lined Harratin population has caused some resentment within the UPR and the military as such measures are perceived to threaten the Ould Bisba tribal elite‚Äôs dominance over politics and business.
  • A heightened terrorism threat is due to Mauritania‚Äôs proximity to terrorism-embattled states. Its recent foreign policy standing could also render it susceptible to punitive attacks by Islamist extremists. The primary threat to Mauritania currently stems from al-Qaeda-aligned militant factions (locally known as katibas) which have coalesced to form the Jama‚Äôat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM). Although its primary operational presence is in northern Mali, JNIM ‚Äď and by extension its constituents ‚Äď have expanded their operational footprint both within and outside of Malian borders. Although al-Qaeda and its regional affiliates have not executed any recent attacks in Mauritania, they have previous targeted the country. A second terrorist threat in Mauritania stems from Islamic State-aligned cells which may have established a presence in Mauritania.
  • An economic recovery is likely in 2021 on the back of mining and gas revenues. According to the IMF, growth prospects are promising, supported by higher metals prices, FDI in the extractive sector, and growth-enhancing public investment. The fiscal balance has improved over the past few years and debt service ability has been markedly enhanced by spending control and increased tax collections, yet there remains risk of debt distress. Initial concerns over foreign exchange speculation and inflation have mostly subsided. Over the past few years, depressed global prices for iron ore had eroded state revenue flows, yet a recovery in prices has again boosted the government‚Äôs spending and patronage capacity.
CUMULATIVE AND DAILY COVID-19 INFECTIONS AND DEATH RATE
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND | DATAMAPPER
Risk Perils
Political Instability
2.8
Expropriation, Nationalisation, Confiscation & Deprivation
3.5
Contract Frustration & Breach
4.5
Taxation
4.0
Bribery & Corruption
4.5
Regulatory Burden
4.5
Strikes, Riots & Civil Commotion
3.0
Security
4.0
Sovereign Default
5.0
Economic Volatiliy
5.2

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