Improving economic management is expected to gradually bring about positive developments in the economy, the infrastructure, and in the alleviation of poverty. The ruling PRDS party will likely win the October 2001 parliamentary elections and real GDP is expected to grow in 2001 at an annual rate of 6 percent. Mauritania's economic ties will be further redirected from West Africa to the Union of the Arab Maghreb (Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia). Economic policies oriented toward liberalization and additional bank reforms are expected to improve the investment climate. The success of the telecom privatization is expected to attract new private funds and new businesses. Good relations with the IMF and the World Bank will continue to bring in international funds for poverty reduction and development projects and strengthen the economy.
Prospects for increased mining output capacity, along with an increase in iron ore prices and the development of new mineral resources, may bring steady growth in mineral exports. The health of the fisheries industry depends to a large extent on market conditions in East Asia, particularly Japan, and may suffer from economic recession in that country. Domestic food production may benefit from occasional good seasons of rains but is still in jeopardy due to active desertification processes and will require extensive international aid. Environmental degradation, poor water supply and health services, unemployment, and a lack of basic education will continue to pose the most serious problems to the government in the foreseeable future.