Nouakchott Fisherman's Beach, Mauritania. Credit: Migueltxo Molina/Oxfam Intermón

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Even though it has a population of only 3 million and despite having important natural resources (oil, iron ore, fish) at its disposal, Mauritania is still one of the poorest countries in the world on the Human Development Index, according to the United Nations classification system. Around 42% of the population lives on the brink of poverty.

The lack of commitment from the State, the worsening of conditions and factors of production, recurring climate impacts, inconsistent policies and bad governance are some of the factors which are retarding development and thereby contributing to an increase in poverty.

This contradiction between the significant availability of natural resources and the persistence of high levels of poverty, especially in rural areas (where 50% of the population lives), is why civil society in Mauritania is pushing for political, economic and social reforms, in order to reinforce democracy and good governance, assist in the fight against poverty and promote solidarity among its citizens.

Oxfam in Mauritania

Oxfam has been working with civil society in Mauritania since 1983 on the following programmes:

Good Economic Governance: we are supporting the structural development and training of civil society organisations so that they can act as real agents of change in the areas of politics, practice, ideas and beliefs. We are contributing to the definition of an economic model based on a sustainable and fair management of national resources and which generates added value in both rural production methods and the extractive industries.

Good Political Governance: We are working with civil society organisations to reduce inequality and to promote the rights of vulnerable groups.

Livelihood: we are working with poor and vulnerable groups, contributing to the development of farming, animal husbandry and fishing to increase their potential, reinforce economic alternatives and reduce poverty.

Humanitarian Action: we are working to reduce the vulnerability of groups affected by climate impact. Given the chronic and recurrent character of these crises, our emergency responses include long-term development projects and build prevention capacity and resilience within the most vulnerable groups.

We are working in the following areas: Wilaya du Gorgol, Brakna, Trarza, Inchiri, Tiris Zemmour, Nouadhubou y Nouakchott.