Article from ROAPE Volume 23 Number 68
Political Economy of Mauritania: An Introduction
The Review has not published anything of significance on Mauritania for nearly two decades - since Mahfoud Bennoune's analysis of ‘the political economy of Mauritania: imperialism and class struggle’ (1978). The Review is not alone in failing to provide readers with an analysis of the recent evolution of Mauritanian politics and its political economy. Despite Mauritania's membership of the Arab Maghreb Union (created in 1989), it is generally considered so marginal that it is rarely included in works on the Maghreb. In most studies and surveys of the Maghreb, from Samir Amin's classic study, The Maghreb in the Modern World (first published in English in 1970), through to more recent books, like Lawless && Findlay's North Africa: Contemporary Politics and Economic Development (1984), Mauritania fails to get even a mention. At least in Nevill Barbour's Survey of North West Africa (the Maghreb), originally published in 1959, with a second edition in 1962, and Wilfrid Knapp's third edition in 1977 (entitled North West Africa: a Political and Economic Survey), there is a brief - but all too brief section on Mauritania and the Sahara. Those wishing to know more about the broader context of Mauritanian political economy and politics should turn to studies of the long struggle in the Western Sahara, like Thompson and Adloff's The Western Saharan's: Background to Conflict (1980) and Hodges’ excellent Western Sahara: the Roots of a Desert War (1983). These volumes discuss Mauritania's political economy with regard to the war in the desert.