Mauritania, Niger and Mali together make up the Sahel region, a semi-desert strip of land in the southern Sahara. Due to its geographic location, the country's population of three million inhabitants is divided between Arab Berbers in the north and Black Africans in the south. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, yet paradoxically since 2006 it is also an oil-exporting country. With vast tracts of desert, only 0.5% of Mauritanian soil can be used for agriculture, and water sources are extremely scarce: 47% of the population has no access to drinking water.
With a vast desert area, only 0.5% of Mauritanian territory is actually agriculturally feasible. Furthermore, inhabited principally by a nomad population, only 40% of its people reside in urban areas. This makes for difficult access to basic necessities such as drinkable water or satisfactory sanitary conditions, even registering one of the worst rates in the world. The string of consecutive poor harvests together with a certain inflation of food products has had nefarious consequences on the population spending power.