Corruption diverts resources from the poor to the rich, leads to a culture of bribes, and distorts public expenditures, deterring foreign investors and hampering economic growth. But, in some ways, corruption is only a symptom.
Ba Papa Amadou has played a leading role in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Mauritania for over eight years.
According to a recent World Bank study, fisheries make up one quarter of Mauritania's natural wealth, but the waters off the country in north-western Africa are being overfished. Foreign operators pull out the lion's share of the catch - sometimes legally, sometimes not; suspicions of corruption abound.
About 10 to 20 percent of Mauritania's population lives in slavery. The government did abolish the practice 20 years ago, made it a criminal offense in 2007 subject to punishment, but it has failed to genuinely tackle the problem, and the practice continues.
I spoke with Amadou Sall, a lecturer of social anthropology at the University of Nouakchott and leading member of the Mauritanie Perspectives think tank, about politics, social change and the prospects for democracy in this rapidly changing West African nation.
Lawlessness at sea is a hot topic this summer, with the New York Times running an investigative series on the issue and the nascent Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) beginning to pick up steam. Two experts from Greenpeace connected the dots for me and explained why we should care.
I recently spoke with Ba Aliou Coulibaly to learn more about Mauritania's fishy politics, the links between national and international corruption, and transparency in the fisheries sector.
Arab media face major hardships with journalists on the receiving end of gross violations at the hands of authorities, armed groups, militias and others.
As Islamic fundamentalists encroach on the basic liberties of people in Africa and the Arab world, we hear about it, but it's hard to put it into context and understand the magnitude of the situation. Leave it to veteran, Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako to boil a complicated social phenomena down to a simple allegorical tale.
Sahwaris haven't had much to celebrate since 1976 when 80% of their country was gobbled up by Morocco after the former colonial power Spain was driven out following many decades of a war of independence waged by Sahwaris, traditional nomads.
The African Leaders Summit is an opportunity for African leaders and the U.S. to discuss these issues collectively and acknowledge and deepen U.S. engagement.
Although he was born free, Biram Dah Abeid and his family know well the pain of slavery. Dah Abeid and his family are from the West African country of Mauritania.
Those sad truths about slavery in Mauritania were floating out there on the Internet and in newspaper archives before Edythe McNamee and I set out to document the practice for a CNN Digital story that would win the Livingston Award.
It is one of the most stunning films in the Cannes Competition this year: Abderrahmane Sissako's Timbuktu, about individuals in Mali trying to maintain dignity and freedom despite the oppressive rules of the Jihadists invading their country.
If this terrible scourge is finally to be eradicated, much remains to be done to promote the work of anti-slavery activists and protect and support survivors.
Saudi Arabia's declared intention to pivot away from the U.S. in foreign policy implies a shift toward Beijing, which predates both the Obama presidency and the Arab Awakening.