Created ex nihilo prior to independence (1958), Nouakchott is both a city of uncontrolled urban growth (especially given the combined influence of the end of nomadic life and the great draughts) and the seat of all trappings of power, designed to symbolise the State, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Presently, Nouakchoot is primarily a city that must resolve two major problems, notably with the help of the urban development program of the World Bank: environmental risk and tenure. This is also within a context that has witnessed the arrival of petroleum in the capital city and a change in political regimes due to recent democratic elections.