Bilateral relations between Canada and Mauritania are limited but growing, particularly in areas related to trade and security. In addition to cooperation within La Francophonie, Canada has partnered with Mauritania on counter-terrorism and regional security efforts, and offers support for its security sector.
Since 2010, Canada has provided $40 million in support of counter-terrorism capacity-building initiatives in the Sahel region, of which Mauritania is a direct beneficiary. Canada co-chaired the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Sahel working group between 2011 and 2019, in which Mauritania was invited to participate in meetings and training workshops. Canada and Mauritania also cooperate, in the multilateral context, notably in NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue and La Francophonie.
Over the past two years, the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) has contributed $80,000 to improve women’s rights, with a focus on addressing early marriage, gender-based violence, female genital mutilation and improving access to education. In 2016, Mauritanian diaspora in Canada was estimated at about 1,000 people. In Mauritania, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada in Rabat, Morocco, and by an Honorary Consul in Nouakchott which provides assistance in consular affairs. Mauritania has Honorary Consuls based in Montreal and Edmonton.
Trade relations between Canada and Mauritania are dominated by a strong presence of Canadian companies in the mining sector. Trade in goods and equipment between Canada and Mauritania is modest. In 2018, our bilateral trade with Mauritania totaled $21.9 million, with Canadian exports valued at $21.6 million and imports at $300,000. Approximately 23 Canadian companies do business with Mauritania. Most of them are active in the mining sector, while a few companies operate in the education and training sector. Canada is the largest foreign investor in Mauritania, with mining assets estimated at $2.3 billion in 2018.
Canada is pleased to offer full scholarships to students from Mauritania to study in Canada, at various levels of study and open to all disciplines, starting in the 2020/2021 school year as part of the pilot Study in Canada Scholarships program.
During the 2012 crisis in the Sahel, Canada provided $65.4 million to the region through UN organizations such as the World Food Programme and UNICEF, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross and Canadian non-governmental organizations, to support food and nutrition assistance to people in need. Canada helped improve access to food and provided lifesaving nutritional support through a number of activities, including the distribution of emergency food rations, supporting community-based treatment of acute malnutrition, and improving access to safe water for men, women and children facing this very complex humanitarian situation.
Since 2017, Canada has provided over $5.5 million to the UN Refugee Agency, the World Food Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization and Action Against Hunger to ensure food security for the most vulnerable in, including women and girls living in the M’bera refugee camp located in the southeastern part of Mauritania.
Partnerships and organizations
To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Mauritania work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
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