Despite progress toward stability, Mauritania remains at risk of social and political unrest.
Long neglected by outside powers, the Sahel region stands at the strategic nexus of a number of growing challenges facing the African continent, Europe, and the wider Middle East.
The fragile states of the Sahara and just below the desert pose significant challenges—not just for the United States and Europe, but also for the North African states themselves.
State complicity with organized crime is at the heart of instability in the Sahel and Sahara region, fomenting conflict and fueling the rise of al-Qaeda.
While much attention has been focused on the crisis provoked by the March 22 coup in Mali's capital, events in the northern part of the country may have greater regional implications.
Promoting good governance and reinforcing the state’s capacity is critical to improving economic conditions and building people’s trust in Mauritania’s national institutions.
Islamists in Mauritania, an important political force, are not currently a threat to the United States as the mainstream of the movement appears committed to democracy and unlikely to take power.
The EU, which has worked for decades on North Africa’s development, must step up its efforts to bolster the region’s private sector and dismantle its own agricultural protectionism.
The private sector has become the main driver of growth in the Middle East and North Africa, but more consistent and equitable regulations are needed to transform the region into a diversified, high-performance economy.
Most Mauritanian opposition leaders will boycott the June 6 presidential election, in which coup leader Muhammed Ould Abdel Aziz is ensured victory.