MAURITANIA: Hope in the Desert

A volley from the muskets of blue-turbaned Moorish guards rattled in the desert air as the Air France DC-4 taxied to a halt. Smiling, the youthful figure, natty in a grey suit, stepped out to greet the waiting throng. White-bearded Moorish tribesmen in flowing robes pumped his hand, and wives of local French officials crowded round. Mauritania's Premier Moktar Quid Daddah, 35, was just back from Paris and Washington with a $66 million World Bank loan. With the money, Moktar Quid Daddah hopes to build himself a country.

He had not much to start with....

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