More information about Mauritania is available on the Mauritania Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
The United States was the first country to recognize Mauritania’s independence from France in 1960. Since the late 1960s, U.S. cooperation with Mauritania has varied in response to political conditions. The United States engages with Mauritania on a wide array of issues, including counterterrorism, food security, trade promotion, and efforts to strengthen human rights and the rule of law. The Departments of State, Defense, and USAID are represented at the U.S. Embassy in Nouakchott.
U.S. Assistance to Mauritania
The U.S. assists Mauritania with partnerships aimed at improving public health, preventing and combating violent extremism and providing food security and humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations, including Malian refugees. Another key mission in Mauritania is to advocate for a democratic and peaceful transfer of power in 2019 from one elected president to another for the first time in Mauritania’s history. The U.S. suspended nonhumanitarian and nontrade-related foreign assistance to the Mauritanian government in 2018 due to Mauritania’s status as a Tier 3 country on the Trafficking in Persons Report. Mauritania is a member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) and receives security assistance to support its counterterrorism efforts.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States has limited, but growing trade and investment relations with Mauritania. Mauritania is a rising player on the world natural gas stage, and the Embassy works closely with the government to ensure that U.S. companies are able to compete for projects related to the development of this resource. Mauritania lost eligibility for trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act in 2018 due to a lack of progress combatting the lingering effects of hereditary slavery.
Mauritania’s Membership in International Organizations
Mauritania became a member of the United Nations in 1961. Mauritania and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the UN, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.
The U.S. Ambassador to Mauritania is Michael J. Dodman; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
Mauritania maintains an embassy in the United States at 2129 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-232-5700, fax 202-232-5701).
More information about Mauritania is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook Mauritania Page
USAID Mauritania Page
History of U.S. Bilateral Relations
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Country Page
Library of Congress Country Studies