The president of the region of Nouakchott (Mauritania), Ms. Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malik, is one of the key players in the African municipal movement of the last decade.
Elected regional president in September 2018, Madame Fatimetou Abdel Malick built her success thanks to her record of 17 years as mayor of the municipality of Tevragh Zeïna, from 2001 to 2018. With a population of 1.1 million inhabitants, the Regional Council of Nouakchott is the first region of Mauritania and represents one third of the total population of the country. Madame Fatimetou Abdel Malick is notably the first woman president of a regional council in Mauritania. Already in 2001, she was the first woman to be elected head of a city council in the country.
As a pioneer, she has consistently led the way for other women to follow suit in running for decision-making positions, which led in 2015 to the election of five other women as mayors. Fatimetou MINT ABDEL MALIK had notably traveled the country by caravan to support women running for mayor. For Fatimetou , the local level is the priority sphere that women should embrace. “It is always difficult for a woman to be mayor or to hold any position at the level of decision-making bodies, given the mechanisms that exist and which are not necessarily egalitarian. But I am one of those who consider that the local level should be occupied by women, given the elasticity they have in their relations with their fellow citizens and their ability to listen to people’s concerns”, she confided in an interview in the margins of the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
At the continental level, Ms. Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malik actively participated in 2011 in Tangiers (Morocco), in the creation of the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA), which is the Standing Committee for Gender Equality of UCLG Africa. Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malik was the president of the network from 2012 to 2015. Her term in office was marked by the (re) presentation of REFELA on the continental and international scene. From 2015 to 2019, she was Vice-President of REFELA for the North Africa region and also worked to stabilize the REFELA Mauritania created in 2012 before handing over the leadership. The president of the Nouakchott region is a member of the Executive Committee of UCLG Africa and of the Board of the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF). In 2013, she was named Champion of the “Making Cities Resilient” campaign by the United Nations.
Actions on the ground
Faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, the president of the Nouakchott region has remained close to the populations and initiated training activities as well as the distribution of masks and hygiene and disinfection products. During her time at the head of the commune of Tevragh Zeina, Mrs. Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malik together with the municipal team set up an app to improve the tax base. The app tripled the municipality’s revenue and led to the reduction of some inequalities, especially in terms of education and social services. “Citizens weren’t paying in function of the size of their business. Through this app, we were able to restore order and justice”, says Fatimetou Abdel Malick. To reduce fraud, the taxpayer’s files are codified. “Some people used to exchange the taxation files, but now with the introduction of the bar code we have solved this problem. There was also a reuse of the stamps: the codification of the stamps also solved this dual use problem. As a result, we saw an efficiency of 72.5% in terms of census and collection ”, explained the president of the regional council of Nouakchott.
Mrs. Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malick was born on September 28, 1958 and is the mother of three children. She was elected Mayor of Tevragh-Zeina in 2001, and was re-elected in 2006, 2011 and elected president of the Nouakchott region in 2018. Following her studies in computer science in Belgium and upon her return to Nouakchott, she established an IT service company called MINFE. She then became a network administrator for the Banque de l’Habitat (“Housing Bank”) before starting her political career. Her first mission took place at the Ministry of Town Planning and Housing. Thereafter, she secured the position of Secretary General, and then the position of chargé de mission” at the Prime Minister’s office..