Nov 21, 2006

Elections in Mauritania

One more African country is taking slow steps towards peace and conflict resolution. Mauritania's parliamentary election have ended and the preliminary results have been just released, the opposition is leading.

Unlike the recent DR Congo presidential election, the process was free of violence. The ruling party, who came to power by a bloodless cue didn't take part in the election, as promised. The election was transparent, well organised, and supervised by hundreds of election monitors from EU, Arab League and AU. The turn out was estimated at 70%-80%.

Though Mauritania had recently joined the growing number of, mostly, underdeveloped, African nations with oil and gas wealth (alongside Sudan, Zambia, Angola ... etc) , it remains one of the poorest countries in Africa. There are major social problems as well, not long ago the Mauritania was one of the rare country that had "active" slavery, in fact, some say it still exists despite anti-slavery legislation . According to CIA Factbook " mixed Maur/black 40%, Moor 30%, black 30%".

This is great for Mauritania and Africa. Mauritania has a better chance - by having a democratically elected government - to lift itself out of poverty and wisely utilise its oil wealth.

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Black River Eagle said...

This is a country with exceptional potential for development and I am not talking about unexplored oil and gas deposits. I watched a documentary several months ago on German TV about the migratory bird sanctuaries along Mauritania's beautiful and rugged Atlantic coastline. It was simply breathtaking and this area offers some of the best birdwatching and eco-tourism opportunities in the world.

Despite the country's long history with slavery of black Africans and a series of coups and military dictatorships Mauritania may offer some outstanding opportunities for foreign business investors and international visitors (tourism), helping to generate much-needed income for its people. The country needs to promote itself more now to place Mauritania into the international spotlight.

What is also interesting is that these democratic elections were not Headline News in the international press and media. I guess there was not enough blood and guts and threats of violence to draw the attention of the MSM news jackals.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted 2 say that you have avery interesting blog and its aobut time we see African brothas w/a conscience!

Abdurahman Warsame said...

black river eagle,

You're absoletly right, the country has a lot of potential for business - actually I thought of doing something there few years ago (that was after I heard they signed a $40 billion oil deal ;)

But I didn't know about the eco-tourism, that's even better prospect I would say as it creates more jobs. Mauritania is also an Arab country (and Arabic speaking) and that should be a bonus too (especially if trading with Dubai). But the country really needs political stability to archieve to get out of poverty.

The MSM of course give little attention, though it was an important example of military men handing over power (gradually) to civilian admin without bloodshed. Compare it with DR Congo election which was about two men and strictly regional voting, and armed men ready to fight. That doesn't bring stability. And how about Iraq? The elections only divided the country into strictly Shia, Sunna and Kurd.

Abdurahman Warsame said...


Thank you so much for your kind words. I like your blog, nice photos.

Black River Eagle said...

Re your statement:
"Mauritania is also an Arab country (and Arabic speaking) and that should be a bonus too..."

I believe a more accurate description would be to say that Mauritania is an African country settled by Arab conquerers and nomadic tribes centuries ago. To strictly refer to the country as "Arab" would give the false impression that the indigenous Africans have no say or no rights in this vast country. Hopefully the future leadership and citizens of Mauritania will welcome and serve all if its citizens, irregardless of ethnic background, religion, or the color of their skin.

$14 billion contract for oil??? What oil? Mauritania has oil and gas deposits??? Where?

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