Mauritania is a country located in northwestern Africa, belonging to the Maghreb. A large portion of its territory is located in the Sahara desert. Mauritania borders with Senegal in the south, Mali in the south-east, Algeria and Western Sahara in the north and the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Formerly a French colony, it gained its Independence in 1960 and is currently a constitutional, semi-presidential republic. Its main economic focus is agriculture and the extraction of natural resources (mainly iron).