Mauritania and the African Continental Free Trade Area – challenges and opportunities
Mauritania is categorised as a lower-middle-income country, with a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita purchasing power parity (PPP) estimated at US$ 6 925 in 2022 by the IMF. In 2022, GDP growth reached 5.3% up from 2.4% in 2021, driven by the mining, agriculture, and fisheries sectors. The country’s economy heavily relies on extractive industries, making its GDP growth highly sensitive to global mineral commodity prices. The primary sector, which is heavily dependent on iron ore and fishery products, employs almost a third of the country’s workforce. The country also has large deposits of gold, copper, and oil-gas fields. The primary and secondary sectors represent 24% and 32% of the country’s GDP, respectively, while the tertiary sector represents about 44% of GDP, with the transport and telecommunications sub-sectors being the main contributors. The country has potential for tourism, but it has not attracted significant foreign investment due to a lack of infrastructure and regulatory frameworks.
This Trade Report focuses on Mauritania’s international trading relationships and more specifically, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which was ratified by Mauritania in February 2019. Mauritania’s trade, industrial, and investment policies are reviewed, including the various bilateral and plurilateral agreements that Mauritania is party to. The paper also looks at Mauritania’s trade performance, outlining its global trade and regional trade profiles. A value chain analysis is presented focusing on Mauritania’s participation in regional value chains emanating from potential opportunities arising from the full implementation of the AfCFTA. Issues that Mauritania needs to address to capitalise on the AfCFTA are highlighted.
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