Rabat - The Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Morocco’s southern neighbor, is undergoing drastic changes. With a population of 3.89 million and a GDP of only 4.158 billion USD (as of 2013), it is not surprising that this nation is often overlooked. Mauritania leads the world in only one category: slavery. Yet this infamous statistic is a burden they have now set aside. While this country’s progress seems archaic by modern standards, it is nonetheless making strides towards modernity.

Christopher Thomas is an undergraduate junior at Emory University majoring in International Studies and minoring in Arabic.