Nouakchott is the capital and largest city of Mauritania. It is one of the largest cities in the Sahara with 1.5 million residents. It is also one of the newest capital cities in Africa, being named the capital just prior to Mauritania’s independence from France in 1960.
The capital city has a deep-water port on the Atlantic, much of which has been developed in recent years by the Chinese. Nouakchott’s economy is based on the mining of gold, phosphate, and copper from the surrounding region along with factory-produced goods such as cement, rugs, embroidery, insecticides, and textiles.
Crime is rampant in Mauritania, and westerners who venture outside of the capital city are frequently kidnapped for ransom.
The challenges to the gospel in Nouakchott, and throughout Mauritania, are significant. 99.8% of the population identify as Sunni Muslim. Freedom of religion is prohibited, and followers of Islam who convert to Christianity are shunned by their families and communities.