Population: 3,359,185 (July 2012 est.)
Mauritania’s population is composed of several ethnic groups: the Moors (White or Arab) or Beidane, the Haratins, who are black-skinned descendants of freed slaves still attached to their former masters’ culture; the Soninke; the Serer (generally farmers and stock-breeders) the Hal-pulaar or Fulas which includes settled farmers called Toucouleur and nomadic stock-breeders.
Languages are: Hassaniya, Pulaar, Soninke, Imraguen language, Wolof, Serer, and French (widely used in media and among educated classes, see African French). Modern Standard Arabic is also an official language.
Religion: Totally Islam. A small number of Christians meet but are liable for persecution. There have been some murders by Islamists.
Living conditions: Life expectancy at birth was 61.14 years (2011 estimate). Per capita expenditure on health was 43 US$ (PPP) in 2004. Infant mortality is 60.42 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 estimate).
The obesity rate among Mauritanian women is high, perhaps in part due to the local standards of beauty, in which obese women are considered beautiful while thin women are sometimes regarded as “sickly”.
On 18 January 2011, the Islamic leaders of Mauritania issued a fatwa, a religious opinion concerning Islamic law, outlawing female genital mutilation.
Slavery is still widely practiced although denied by authorities.
The country , which became independent from France in 1960 has suffered a series of military coups which have resulted in the flight of thousands of refugees and major human rights abuses. The Moorish population has persecuted the blacks and many have been killed or fled. There is a grass roots movement towards a multi cultural population but not much evidence of it in practice.
Government is military junta.
Information has been hard to find.
Entry for the gospel.
Workers willing to face persecution and possibly death.
Contacts for CPM.