Mauritania is a country of the Sahel (a belt across Africa between the arid Sahara to the north and the belt of humid savannas to the south). The largely-desert country, 90% of Mauritania's land is within the Saharan Desert, has a clear cultural contrast, with an Arab population in the north and black Africans in the south. Many of its people are nomads.
Nouakchott, Mauritania's capital city has a population of 786,000 and is situated on the Atlantic coast. The overall population is 3.5 million and although a former French colony, Arabic is the official language.
Mauritania has an abundance of natural resources including iron ore, gold, copper, gypsum, and phosphate rock. Exploration is ongoing for oil reserves and overall, extractive commodities make up 75% of Mauritania's total exports, with fishing making up another 20%. The nation's coastal waters are said to be among the richest fishing areas in the world.
In November 2014 Australia and Mauritania signed a bilateral MOU. Australia is accredited to Mauritania through our Embassy in Paris, Mauritania is changing its accreditation to Australia from Paris to Japan.
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