The country bridging the Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the largest states on the African Continent. It consists mainly of deserts and is one of the poorest countries in the world. Mining, fishing and agriculture are the most important sectors in the economy, which requires diversification. Mauritania, independent of France since 1960, has been repeatedly interrupted in its development by several military coups in the past.
The contrast between urban and rural areas is huge. Many of its people are nomads, with an Arab-Berber population to the north and black Africans in the south. The country is characterised by rapid urbanisation of cities and predominantly difficult living conditions due to droughts in rural regions. A large part of the Mauritanian population, especially in rural areas, lives below the poverty line and earns its living largely through agriculture and increasingly in the informal sector. Unemployment, especially among young people, is also a serious problem in the cities.
Mauritania joined the programme in 2018. PSUP will provide technical support to the Ministry of Habitat, Urbanism and Territorial Management and chosen cities on the ongoing urban upgrading programmes especially in the informal settlements. Currently the country is implementing the National Integrated Program for Decentralization, Local Development and Employment, a flagship program of the Mauritanian Government, targeting the most disadvantaged municipalities across the country.