Due to meager educational infrastructure, only 40 percent of Mauritanian youth complete primary school and 60,000 students drop out of school each year. As Mauritania imports about 65 percent of its food, rising world food prices threaten economic and food security – particularly for the 42 percent of the population which lives below the poverty line. Furthermore, longstanding ethnic tensions and the presence of extremist groups pose ongoing security challenges, threatening the stability established since the 2009 democratic elections (following a 2008 military coup). The United Nations (UN) projects that around 50,000 Malian refugees will remain in Mauritania for the foreseeable future, putting a strain on existing national and international resources.
Last updated: February 26, 2015