In 1998, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania was a large country located in the Maghreb region of Africa. It had a population of around 2.5 million people, with the majority being Muslims. The economy was largely based on agriculture and fishing, with some mining and oil production also contributing significantly. The government was an authoritarian regime with strong emphasis on Sharia law and civil rights were limited. In terms of infrastructure, Mauritania had good access to roads and electricity as well as telecommunications networks. Health care was fairly good in most parts of the country, though access to basic medical services was still limited in some rural areas. Education levels were quite low compared to other countries in the region due to limited resources available for educational opportunities for many Mauritanians. Despite its limitations, Mauritania had several natural resources that could be tapped into for economic development including abundant reserves of iron ore and other minerals along its extensive coastline and forests for timber production. Additionally, its unique biodiversity made it a hotspot for conservation efforts in the late 1990s. All in all, Mauritania’s potential for growth and development were evident despite its many challenges in 1998. See dentistrymyth for Mauritania in the year of 2015.
Mauritania. According to Countryaah, the capital of Mauritania is Nouakchott. Two French TV channels broadcast in mid-January a program claiming that slavery exists in Mauritania. Shortly thereafter, three of the country’s leading human rights activists were arrested. They were sentenced in February to 13 months in prison for being active in prohibited organizations and for spreading false accusations. However, they were pardoned the following month, which was partly seen as a benevolent gesture to US President Bill Clinton during his African trip. President Maaounya Ould Sidi Ahmed Taya, during a visit to France in March, rejected all information about the occurrence of slavery in Mauritania.
In mid-April, the ruling Party Republican Democratique et Social (PRDS) consolidated its position in the Senate, as the party won 17 of the 18 seats that were at stake. Most of the opposition parties boycotted the election.
A military transport plane crashed in May just a minute after taking off from Néma airport, killing 36 people. On board were among others. three officers and a military alliance that would follow the president to the eastern part of the country.
In October, 60 Islamic leaders were detained and accused of “creating a climate of fear”. The government subsequently ordered the “fundamentalist” activists to cease their political activities.
In January 1995, thousands of protesters ravaged Nouakchott, burned cars and looted businesses. This occurred in the wake of significant price increases for the basic consumer goods triggered by the introduction of VAT. In June, Mauritanian lenders agreed to renegotiate the country’s debt, and it was partially abandoned.
In January 1996, President Taya appointed Afia Ould Mohamed Khouna as Prime Minister. Most of the opposition boycotted the April election, with a new Senate elected. The PRSD government party therefore got most of the seats in the Senate, and in the October elections it captured 71 of the 79 seats of the National Assembly.
- Abbreviationfinder: What does MRT stand for in geography? Here, this 3 letter acronym refers to the country of Mauritania.
In June, the country signed an agreement with the EU that gave it access to fixed credits over a five-year period against the Union being granted fishing rights in Mauritania. International organizations assessed that the country was improving its macroeconomic situation. Yet macroeconomic indicators still rank it among the world’s poorest.
In the December 1997 elections, President Taya was re-elected with about 90% of the vote, and subsequently appointed Mohamed Lemine Ould Guig as Prime Minister.
In April 1998, human rights organizations demanded the end of slavery in Mauritania. Three members of humanitarian organizations had been sentenced to prison sentences after condemning the use of slavery in the country.
In October, Taya asked Prime Minister Guig to resign. He had become extremely unpopular in the population. Instead, sheikh Mohamed Khouna was appointed and this one formed a new government.
The Paris Club decided to reduce Mauritania’s foreign debt by DKK 620m. dollars. Officials from the International Financial Institution explained that the reduction was due to Mauritania’s efforts to reform its economy. The government announced the privatization of electricity supply and water services. Information Minister Rachid Ould Salah stated that the government was seeking a majority shareholder for the energy supply, while it would retain the majority in the water system. On the recommendation of the World Bank, the country continued to privatize the telecommunications sector.
The parliamentary and local elections in 2001 continued to give a majority to the ruling party, but the opposition strengthened its representation in the municipalities and rose in parliament from 1 to 10 seats. Even though a multi-party system already existed in the 1990s, the electoral system did not foresee the participation of minorities. The new proportional electoral system ensured a more equitable distribution of seats in parliament. The World Bank provided a loan of DKK 119 million. US $ to improve living conditions in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou in particular. In 2002, the government dissolved the Action for Change party. The party defending the descendants of the slaves and of Mauritanian blacks was accused of threatening national unity and inciting intolerance.