Mauritania awarded major loan to diversify economy

The western Saharan state of Mauritania has been granted a development loan of $1.5bn by the Cairo-based African Export-Import Bank.

The sum, equivalent to more than 30% of the country’s GDP, will prime public-private partnerships for industrial parks, fishing ports, and energy and mining schemes, as well as boost liquidity in the banking system to provide capital for business loans.

At present, the country’s economy is tied to the value of primary commodities, most notably iron ore, and it has been a major beneficiary – and victim – of changes in demand driven by the economy of China, its major export destination.  

The government aims to diversify and develop secondary industries. One target for the new money is a processing plant for agricultural products.

The money was announced at a press conference in the capital of Nouakchott by Benedict Okay Oramah, the president of the bank.

Image: A date market in Tidjikja. One target of investment is agricultural processing (Megharebia/Creative Commons)

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