The Islamic Republic of Mauritania came into existence on 18 November 1960.1 Since independence, Mauritania has experienced the general developmental constraints associated with most Third, and especially Fourth, World states. Three of these developmental constraints feature more prominently than others in the political economy of Mauritania. First, because of its location in the Sahel region, it has, like other ECOWAS states such as Mali and Niger, endured harsh ecological conditions whose severity have remained unrelieved by the paucity of both strategic minerals and quality person power. Second, the heritage of involuntary dependence on the vagaries of the international commodity market has produced a debt burden clearly beyond the capacity of the country to solve in the foreseeable future. Finally, an unstable domestic socio-political base has virtually condemned Mauritania’s governments to incessant manipulation, first, by the immediate neighbours and, second, by other external ethnic and religious organisations.


Saudi Arabia Foreign Policy Debt Burden Arab State Arab League 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gilbert K. Bluwey

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