Yanga-Mbiwa has completed his much-anticipated move to Newcastle from Montpellier for an undisclosed fee.
Pardew said: "We needed to strengthen the team and bringing in Mapou will give the whole squad a boost.
"He is precisely the sort of player we've been looking to bring to the club.
"He is a good age for us but has plenty of experience at club and international level.
"Mapou is a talented footballer, good in the air and on the ground and has all the attributes to succeed as a quality defender in the Premier League.
"He's a good character too and that will be important for us over the next few months."