How did Mauritania become an Islamic country
Mauritania is located in northwestern Africa. The presidential republic borders on the states of Algeria, Mali and Senegal as well as on the territory of the Western Sahara occupied by Morocco. In the country with 1.03 million km², almost three times the size of Germany, there are around 3.8 million inhabitants today; 80 percent of the population is concentrated in less than 1/5 of the country's area, mainly in southern Mauritania. The capital Nouakchott has around 950,000 inhabitants today.
The official language is Arabic in the Hassania dialect. Pulaar, Wolof and Soninke are also recognized national languages, and French is the language of education.
Almost 100 percent of the population are Sunni Muslims, there is also a tiny Christian minority.
With a population growth of 2.4 percent, around 40 percent of the population is now under 15 years of age. Life expectancy at birth is 63 years.
The country in the Sahel zone consists almost entirely of desert and steppe landscape and is ranked 156th out of 188 in the Human Development Index 2015 as one of the poorest developing countries worldwide .¹ In 2015, around 25 percent of the population lived below the poverty line and parts of it dependent on direct food aid.
The illiteracy rate is currently 68 percent for women and 48 percent for men. There is compulsory schooling for all 6 to 11 year olds, the school enrollment rate is over 90 percent according to official information. However, there is a high drop-out rate and the proportion of working children between the ages of 5 and 14 was 15 percent in 2015; in addition, child slavery is widespread.
Even after the repeated official abolition of serfdom, most recently in 2014 with the resolution of a strategy paper on the abolition of slavery, slavery and forced labor persist, especially in rural areas of Mauritania. Black African Haratins, who have to work free of charge as farm workers or domestic servants, are particularly affected. According to estimates, the number of these is half a million .²
¹ The United Nations HDI is an indicator that summarizes the average development of a country in three basic areas of human development. It takes into account per capita income, life expectancy and the level of education of the population.
² Human Development Report 2015 / Federal Statistical Office / Foreign Office / Amnesty International
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