Mauritania. In September elections were held for
Parliament and the City Council. At the same time, the very
first elections were also held for 13 regional councils.
More parties than ever, about 100, took part in the
elections. The Union Union of the Republic (UPR) government
received a total of 89 of the 157 seats in Parliament and
thus its own majority. According to
Countryaah.com, the Opposition Alliance National
Democracy and Unity Forum (FNDU), which boycotted the 2013
election, received a total of 29 seats, 14 of which went to
the Islamist party Tewassoul. The regional and local
elections were also a great success for UPR, with a majority
in all regional councils and in about 75% of the
In October, Mohamed Salem Ould Béchir became new Prime
Minister. He succeeded Yahya Ould Hademine, who instead
became the advisor to President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. It
also became a new person at the post of defense minister in
the form of former army chief of staff Mohamed Ould
Ghazouani. Other ministers were allowed to remain.
At year-end, the currency was devalued so that 10 ouquiya
became 1 ouquiya. At the same time, a six-month-long process
of replacing the banknotes was initiated. Many Mauretanians
chose to buy US dollars and euros for their old banknotes.
At a meeting in Rwanda's capital Kigali in March, Mauritania
signed an agreement to lead the African Continental Free
Trade Area (AfCFTA). A total of 44 African countries signed
the agreement during the year.
In March, three people were sentenced to between 10 and
20 years in prison for slavery. The custom is deeply rooted
in society and tens of thousands of people are still
estimated to live as slaves. This is despite the fact that
slavery has been illegal since 1981 and that in recent years
the authorities have sharpened their stance on the issue.
Citing Mauritania's failure to do so in November, the United
States broke an agreement on favorable trade terms in
November. Mauritania reacted strongly and called the
decision a betrayal.
In August, the first border crossing between Mauritania
and Algeria was opened since the countries became
independent. The border crossing is located near the
Algerian city of Tindouf.