Until the export earning capacity of Mauritania improves, its economy will remain fragile. External deficit management dominates the public investment horizon. In 1999, Mauritania obtained financing from the IDA, AFESD and World Bank, for its economic and social development projects. The IDA funded a mining sector capacity building project, with $500,000 cofinancing from the government. The AFESD gave an $11.6 million loan to upgrade and develop small dams. The World Bank approved a $15 million load to support access to the country's mining sector.
In 2000, Mauritania was approved for $1.1 billion in debt service relief under the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. That year, the country withdrew its membership in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and increased commercial ties with Morocco and Tunisia (members of the Arab Maghreb Union), particularly in telecommunications. In July 2003, the IMF approved an $8.8 million three-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) Arrangement, to support the government's economic reform policies geared to reduce poverty. The IMF stressed the need for banking and exchange rate reform, and improved governance.