Mauritanian officials have criticised the Dakar Rally organisers' decision to cancel the event following safety fears.
France warned the Dakar organisers on Thursday against holding stages in Mauritania because it said "the terrorist risk" cannot be ruled out.
Three attackers, who authorities suspect were linked to Al Qaeda, gunned down four French tourists and injured a fifth as they enjoyed a Christmas Eve picnic by the roadside in the south of the country, near the border with Senegal.
Gunmen killed three soldiers three days later in the remote and sparsely populated north of the country, bordering Algeria and Morocco's breakaway territory of Western Sahara.
France's Sports Minister, Bernard Laporte, said the rally's cancellation would have "disastrous economic consequences" for the countries where the rally passed through but added that security issues would have to come first.
"After a point you can't just talk about economics and you have to talk first about security," he told reporters during a visit to Guadeloupe.
A spokesman for Mauritania's President, Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, said in a statement he regretted the decision and that "despite the isolated cases of killings, Mauritania remained a safe, welcoming, hospitable and open country."
Most African officials were also quick to criticize the decision, fearing the move will tarnish even more the image of the world's poorest continent and deprive it of much-needed foreign investment from the passage of hundreds of racing vehicles.
"The cancellation of the rally is not only a great loss for Senegal, but for all the countries crossed by the race," said Mamadou Dia, a spokesman for Senegal's Sports Ministry.
"There is an enormous loss of hundreds of millions of Francs CFA," said Moustapha Kane, permanent secretary of the hoteliers association of Senegal. "With regard to the promotion of the image of the destination, it is deplorable that the organising committee has taken this decision."
Organisers cancelled two stages in Mali last year after French security services said participants risked being kidnapped or ambushed by Algerian rebels.