Mauritania, a large country located on the coast of West Africa, is a conflicted country with a history of violence. While rich in natural resources, its economy struggles to stabilize after a military coup as recent as 2008. The country is now ruled by an elected president, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
Mauritania is located in the Maghreb in West Africa. With an area that covers 397,929 square miles, it is the 29th largest country in the world. Its capital, Nouakchott, is also their largest city, located on the Atlantic coast. Mauritania has the Western Sahara bordering it to the north. Even though Mauritania is rich in natural resources, their GDP rate is one of the lowest in all of Africa, at $2,121 per capita. Now that metal prices are rising, mines for copper and gold are opening up, offering new economic opportunities.
Mauritania had its government overthrown in August of 2008. After a military coup, General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz resigned from military duty and ran for President. He won that election, and has been President ever since. Mauritanians speak the official language of Arabic, although French is also spoken in some regions. The main religion of the area is Islam. With 3,359,185 people calling it home, it is the 221st least densely populated country in the world, with 3.2 people per square kilometer.