Translation and Localization for Africa: Mauritania

November 20, 2016 Vimal Panicker

Mauritania is located in the Maghreb region of Africa, it has borders with the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Morocco and the remnants of Western Sahara in the north, Algeria in the northeast, Mali in the east and southeast, and Senegal in the southwest.

In this blog, I will cover some brief facts about Mauritania for anyone traveling or doing business there.

Mauritanian Demographics

gpi-mauritania map-home

  • Mauritania is officially called the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
  • Nouakchott is the capital and largest city in Mauritania.
  • The current population is just over four million.
  • The official religion is Islam.
  • The median age is 19.3 years old.

Mauritanian Languages

  • Modern Standard Arabic is the official language
  • Hassaniyya is the local and spoken form of Arabic used by the majority of the Mauritanian people.
  • French is widely spoken among the media.
  • Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof, Serer are also spoken.

Mauritanian Culture

  • Food in Mauritania is a very important part of social functions. People eat in groups, sharing a large bowl of calabash, using their right hand.
  • Eating with your left hand is forbidden. Also its not acceptable to eat in the presence of one's in-laws.
  • Mauritanian brides wear black gowns on their wedding day.
  • Slaughtering an animal is customary for many different occasions, such as name-giving, initiation, marriage and funeral ceremonies.

Mauritanian Consumers

gpi-mauritania flag-home

  • The currency is the MRO (Mauritanian Ouguiya). One USD is approximately 355.535 MRO.
  • The GDP value of Mauritania represents 0.01 percent of the world economy.
  • Internet penetration is only 19%.
  • Mobile-cellular network coverage extends mainly to urban areas.
  • WooCommerce is the top ecommerce platform in Mauritania.

Mauritania's Future

  • Mauritania is an agricultural country. It has significant iron ore deposits, which are the backbone of the export economy.
  • Main exports are iron ore, fish and gold.
  • Main trade partners are China, France, Japan, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Mauritania is facing multiple development challenges, such as the efficient use of revenue derived from natural resources, diversification, competitiveness and poor governance.
  • The extractive industries are creating very few jobs. The agriculture and fisheries sectors employ most of the labor force, but productivity levels are low.


Mauritania is a challenging country, with specific culture and traditions. Sharia is the main law there, so laws and regulations are similar with most of the Islamic countries. Modern Standard Arabic is official language, so Arabic speakers will be very comfortable doing business with and in Mauritania, as they will not have any language barrier. Certainly, visiting Mauritania is a very different and unique experience.


Further Resources on Arabic Culture, Language and Translation

Globalization Partners International (GPI) has extensive experience localizing marketing materials, technical documents, and large, scalable websites into the Arabic language. We have previously posted a number of useful guides for best practices in this area. Feel free to review our blogs that are particularly relevant:

Please feel free to contact GPI at with any questions about our language and technology services. Also let us know if you have any interesting blog topics you would like us to cover in our future blogs.  You may request a complimentary Translation Quote for your projects.



About the Author

Vimal Panicker

Vimal Panicker is from Mumbai, India, and currently lives in Dubai. He has 5 years of experience in project management, working in the translation and localization business and has managed projects for a diverse portfolio of companies in the IT, life sciences and legal industry. Vimal holds a Bachelors Degree in Commerce from Mumbai University and has a great passion for developing and maintaining client relationships. He started off his career in the localization industry and is well-informed with the tools, processes and practices. He loves working with a culturally-diverse team and believes in exceeding client expectations. For him, translation is not only a great medium to work with people from diverse cultures but also a great platform to connect with organizations from varied sectors and understand their business functions. Outside work, he loves to watch and play football and has a great interest in fitness activities.

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