United Arab Emirates gives Mauritania $2B for development

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates pledged Sunday to give $2 billion in aid to the Western African country of Mauritania, amid a visit to the Arabian Peninsula nation by Mauritania's president.

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani visited the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi and met with its powerful crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The state-run WAM news agency announced the pledge, describing it as including funding for “investment and development projects, as well as a soft loan.”

Mauritania, a moderate Islamic republic, has suffered five coups since independence from France in 1960. It has been led by military rulers for much of that time.

Ghazouani took the oath of office in August after winning a presidential election last year. That marked the West African nation’s first peaceful transfer of power.

The UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms also including Dubai, has sought to expand its influence across Africa in recent years.