Since President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz came to power in 2009, a number of members of his Oulad Bou Sbaa tribe have obtained key posts in the Mauritanian administration. Ahmed Salem Ould Tekrour, formerly of Société Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures (SMH) and former technical adviser for the promotion and development of the Ministry of Petroleum, Energy and Mining (MPEM), has been promoted head of hydrocarbons at the ministry. There was a similar promotion in 2010 in the private sector for Melainine Ould Towmy, an Oulad Bou Sbaa who became head of external relations at Kinross, operator of the giant Tasiast gold mine, near the southern border of Western Sahara. Finally, Kemal Ould Mouhamedou, a cousin of President Abdel, has become the representative of the State at Tullow Oil, the company developing the Banda gas field.
At the same time, numerous sub-contracts have been switched from companies like MAOA
, which are owned by members of the Smassides tribe of former president, Maaouiya Ould Taya
, to Oulad Bou Sbaa entrepreneurs like the Azizi
family. As a result, business men deprived of mining service contracts denounce the apparently unstoppable rise to prominence of figures close to the president.
Against this background, the Ministry of Petroleum, Energy and Mining headed by Taleb Ould Abdi Vall
, a member of the influential Idawali tribe and apolitical, gives the impression of being a haven of neutrality. Ould Abdivall is professional and has built up his own network of advisers, who are often graduates, like him of the University of Nancy in France.