Food Assistance Fact Sheet - Mauritania

Map of Mauritania
Map of Mauritania

April 10, 2018


  • Mauritania, a predominately desert nation of 4 million people, faces chronic poverty and hunger. The World Bank reports that nearly a third of Mauritanians live under the national poverty line. In addition, a mid-2017 national nutrition survey found that acute malnutrition affected approximately 11 percent of children younger than 5 years of age, representing a serious situation, according to UN World Health Organization guidelines.
  • Many Mauritanians depend on subsistence agriculture and pastoralism as their primary livelihoods. However, these activities are vulnerable to environmental shocks. Insufficient and irregular rainfall in 2017 has significantly disrupted crop and livestock production in southern Mauritania, limiting vulnerable households' access to food and income. Prices of cereals and imported foods are also increasing, further undermining food security. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) projects that parts of southwestern Mauritania will face Crisis (IPC 3) levels of acute food insecurity through September, while other southern areas will experience Stressed (IPC 2) levels of food insecurity.* Furthermore, some impoverished households may already face Emergency (IPC 4) levels of acute food insecurity, according to FEWS NET.
  • Thousands of people fled to Mauritania after the 2012 coup and civil unrest in Mali, and persistent conflict in Mali continues to drive new population movements into Mauritania. As of March, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that Mauritania hosted an estimated 55,300 Malian refugees, who largely rely on food assistance to meet their basic needs.

* The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a standardized tool that aims to classify the severity and magnitude of food insecurity. The IPC scale, which is comparable across countries, ranges from Minimal—IPC 1—to Famine—IPC 5.


  • USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) works with implementing partners to assist vulnerable, food-insecure Mauritanians and Malian refugees through both in-kind and market-based emergency food assistance. With this flexible approach, FFP is able to use the most efficient, appropriate tools to maximize program impact and reduce costs.
  • In collaboration with the UN World Food Program (WFP), FFP provides household food rations to Malians living in Mbera refugee camp in southeast Mauritania. FFP also supports WFP to distribute specialized nutrition assistance to prevent and treat acute malnutrition among refugee children and pregnant and lactating women. In addition, FFP enables the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to distribute ready-to-use therapeutic food to children younger than 5 years of age suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Food for Peace Contributions

Total Contributions:

  U.S. Dollars Metric Tons
Fiscal Year 2018 $3.0 million 2,350 MT
Fiscal Year 2017 $6.4 million 2,090 MT
Fiscal Year 2016 $5.8 million 2,220 MT

* Metric tonnage does not reflect funding for vouchers or cash transfers.

Food Security Situation information is provided by WFP, UNHCR, FEWS NET, and UNDP.

FY 2018 contribution based on funds obligated to date.

Last updated: April 10, 2018

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