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Comoros (Africa)

Introduction ::Comoros


Comoros has endured more than 20 coups or attempted coups since gaining independence from France in 1975. In 1997, the islands of Anjouan and Moheli declared independence from Comoros. In 1999, military chief Col. AZALI seized power in a bloodless coup, and helped negotiate the 2000 Fomboni Accords power-sharing agreement in which the federal presidency rotates among the three islands, and each island maintains its own local government. AZALI won the 2002 presidential election, and each island in the archipelago elected its own president. AZALI stepped down in 2006 and President SAMBI was elected to office. In 2007, Mohamed BACAR effected Anjouan's de-facto secession from the Union, refusing to step down in favor of fresh Anjouanais elections when Comoros' other islands held legitimate elections in July. The African Union (AU) initially attempted to resolve the political crisis by applying sanctions and a naval blockade on Anjouan, but in March 2008, AU and Comoran soldiers seized the island. The move was generally welcomed by the island's inhabitants.

Geography ::Comoros

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Southern Africa, group of islands at the northern mouth of the
Mozambique Channel, about two-thirds of the way between northern
Madagascar and northern Mozambique

Geographic coordinates:
12 10 S, 44 15 E

Map references:



total: 2,235 sq km country comparison to the world: 179 land: 2,235 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly more than 12 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:

0 km


340 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical marine; rainy season (November to May)

Comores 2


volcanic islands, interiors vary from steep mountains to low hills

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

highest point: Karthala 2,360 m

Natural resources:

Land use:

arable land: 35.87%

permanent crops: 23.32%

other: 40.81% (2005)

Irrigated land:

Total renewable water resources:

1.2 cu km (2003)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 0.01 cu km/yr (48%/5%/47%)

per capita: 13 cu m/yr (1999)

Natural hazards:

cyclones possible during rainy season (December to April); volcanic activity on Grand Comore

volcanism: Karthala (elev. 2,361 m, 7,746 ft) on Grand Comore Island last erupted in 2007; a 2005 eruption forced thousands of people to be evacuated and produced a large ash cloud

Environment - current issues:

soil degradation and erosion results from crop cultivation on slopes without proper terracing; deforestation

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

important location at northern end of Mozambique Channel

People ::Comoros


773,407 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 160

Age structure:

0-14 years: 42.2% (male 159,282/female 158,073)

15-64 years: 54.8% (male 203,533/female 208,591)

65 years and over: 3.1% (male 10,474/female 12,485) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 18.9 years

male: 18.6 years

female: 19.2 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.731% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 22

Birth rate:

34.71 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 35

Death rate:

7.4 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 121

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population country comparison to the world: 76


urban population: 28% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 2.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 64.61 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 27 male: 72.41 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 56.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 63.83 years country comparison to the world: 172 male: 61.41 years

female: 66.32 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

4.78 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 31

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

less than 0.1% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 142

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

NA (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:


noun: Comoran(s)

adjective: Comoran

Ethnic groups:

Antalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava


Sunni Muslim 98%, Roman Catholic 2%


Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 56.5%

male: 63.6%

female: 49.3% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 11 years

male: 12 years

female: 10 years (2004)

Education expenditures:

7.6% of GDP (2008) country comparison to the world: 14

Government ::Comoros

Country name:

conventional long form: Union of the Comoros

conventional short form: Comoros

local long form: Udzima wa Komori (Comorian); Union des Comores (French); Jumhuriyat al Qamar al Muttahidah (Arabic)

local short form: Komori (Comorian); Comores (French); Juzur al Qamar (Arabic)

Government type:



name: Moroni

geographic coordinates: 11 42 S, 43 14 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

3 islands and 4 municipalities*; Grande Comore (N'gazidja), Anjouan (Ndzuwani), Domoni*, Fomboni*, Moheli (Mwali), Moroni*, Moutsamoudou*


6 July 1975 (from France)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 6 July (1975)


23 December 2001

Legal system:

French and Islamic law in a new consolidated code; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Ahmed Abdallah SAMBI (since 26 May 2006)

head of government: President Ahmed Abdallah SAMBI (since 26 May 2006)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: as defined by the 2001 constitution, the presidency rotates every four years among the elected presidents from the three main islands in the Union; election last held on 14 May 2006 (next to be held on 7 November 2010)

election results: Ahmed Abdallah SAMBI elected president; percent of vote - Ahmed Abdallah SAMBI 58.0%, Ibrahim HALIDI 28.3%, Mohamed DJAANFAMI 13.7%

Legislative branch:

unicameral Assembly of the Union (33 seats; 15 deputies are selected by the individual islands' local assemblies and 18 by universal suffrage to serve for five years);

elections: last held on 6 and 20 December 2009 (next to be held in 2014)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - pro-union coalition 19, autonomous coalition 4, independents 1; note - 9 additional seats are filled by deputies from local island assemblies

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court or Cour Supremes (two members appointed by the president, two members elected by the Federal Assembly, one elected by the Council of each island, and others are former presidents of the republic)

Political parties and leaders:

Camp of the Autonomous Islands or CdIA (a coalition of parties
organized by the islands' presidents in opposition to the Union
President); Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros or CRC [AZALI
Assowmani]; Front National pour la Justice or FNJ [Ahmed RACHID]
(Islamic party in opposition); Mouvement pour la Democratie et le
Progress or MDP-NGDC [Abbas DJOUSSOUF]; Parti Comorien pour la
Democratie et le Progress or PCDP [Ali MROUDJAE]; Rassemblement
National pour le Development or RND [Omar TAMOU, Abdoulhamid

Political pressure groups and leaders:

other: environmentalists

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Representative to the UN and Ambassador to the US Mohamed TOIHIRI

chancery: Mission to the US, 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 418, New York, NY 10017

telephone: [1] (212) 750-1637

Diplomatic representation from the US:

the US does not have an embassy in Comoros; the ambassador to Madagascar is accredited to Comoros

Flag description:

four equal horizontal bands of yellow (top), white, red, and blue, with a green isosceles triangle based on the hoist; centered within the triangle is a white crescent with the convex side facing the hoist and four white, five-pointed stars placed vertically in a line between the points of the crescent; the horizontal bands and the four stars represent the four main islands of the archipelago - Mwali, N'gazidja, Nzwani, and Mahore (Mayotte - territorial collectivity of France, but claimed by Comoros)

note: the crescent, stars, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam

National anthem:

name: "Udzima wa ya Masiwa" (The Union of the Great Islands)

lyrics/music: Said Hachim SIDI ABDEREMANE/Said Hachim SIDI ABDEREMANE and Kamildine ABDALLAH

note: adopted 1978

Economy ::Comoros

Economy - overview:

One of the world's poorest countries, Comoros is made up of three islands that have inadequate transportation links, a young and rapidly increasing population, and few natural resources. The low educational level of the labor force contributes to a subsistence level of economic activity, high unemployment, and a heavy dependence on foreign grants and technical assistance. Agriculture, including fishing, hunting, and forestry, contributes 40% to GDP, employs 80% of the labor force, and provides most of the exports. Export income is heavily reliant on the three main crops of vanilla, cloves, and ylang-ylang and Comoros' export earnings are easily disrupted by disasters such as fires. The country is not self-sufficient in food production; rice, the main staple, accounts for the bulk of imports. The government - which is hampered by internal political disputes - lacks a comprehensive strategy to attract foreign investment and is struggling to upgrade education and technical training, privatize commercial and industrial enterprises, improve health services, diversify exports, promote tourism, and reduce the high population growth rate. Political problems have inhibited growth, which has averaged only about 1% in 2006-09. Remittances from 150,000 Comorans abroad help supplement GDP. In September 2009 the IMF approved Comoros for a three-year $21 million loan. The IMF gave generally positive reports of the country's program performance as of October 2010. The African Development Bank approved a $34.6 million debt-relief package loan for Comoros in September 2010, and Comoros will attempt to qualifry for debt relief in 2012 under the IMF and World Bank's Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$789.4 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 207 $776.2 million (2009 est.)

$762.5 million (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$557 million (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

1.7% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 159 1.8% (2009 est.)

1% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$1,000 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 216 $1,000 (2009 est.)

$1,000 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 40%

industry: 4%

services: 56% (2001 est.)

Labor force:

268,500 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 165

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 80%

industry and services: 20% (1996 est.)

Unemployment rate:

20% (1996 est.) country comparison to the world: 164

Population below poverty line:

60% (2002 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 0.9%

highest 10%: 55.2% (2004)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

3% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 90

Central bank discount rate:

2.21% (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 81 5.36% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

10.5% (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 85 10.5% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$104.7 million (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 179 $98.36 million (31 December 2008)

Stock of broad money:

$168.6 million (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 182 $143.7 million (31 December 2008)

Stock of domestic credit:

$79.75 million (31 December 2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 179 $60.57 million (31 December 2007 est.)

Agriculture - products:

vanilla, cloves, ylang-ylang, perfume essences, copra, coconuts, bananas, cassava (tapioca)


fishing, tourism, perfume distillation

Industrial production growth rate:

Electricity - production:

22 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 204

Electricity - consumption:

20.46 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 204

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 195

Oil - consumption:

1,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 202

Oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 203

Oil - imports:

766 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 190

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 191

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 184

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 196

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 187

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 189

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 191

Current account balance:

$8 million (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 60


$32 million (2006) country comparison to the world: 202

Exports - commodities:

vanilla, ylang-ylang (perfume essence), cloves, copra

Exports - partners:

Turkey 25.2%, France 20.44%, Singapore 17.44%, Algeria 8.02%, Italy 6.09%, Saudi Arabia 5% (2009)


$143 million (2006) country comparison to the world: 205

Imports - commodities:

rice and other foodstuffs, consumer goods, petroleum products, cement, transport equipment

Imports - partners:

France 15.5%, China 14.66%, India 10.55%, UAE 7.88%, Pakistan 5.69%,
Kenya 4.51% (2009)

Debt - external:

$232 million (2000 est.) country comparison to the world: 173

Exchange rates:

Comoran francs (KMF) per US dollar - 361.4 (2007), 391.8 (2006), 395.6 (2005), 396.21 (2004), 435.9 (2003)

note: the Comoran franc is pegged to the euro at a rate of 491.9677 Comoran francs per euro

Communications ::Comoros

Telephones - main lines in use:

25,400 (2009) country comparison to the world: 183

Telephones - mobile cellular:

100,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 185

Telephone system:

general assessment: sparse system of microwave radio relay and HF radiotelephone communication stations

domestic: fixed-line connections only about 3 per 100 persons; mobile cellular usage about 15 per 100 persons

international: country code - 269; HF radiotelephone communications to Madagascar and Reunion

Broadcast media:

national state-owned TV station and a TV station run by Anjouan regional government; national state-owned radio; regional governments on the islands of Grande Comore and Anjouan each operate a radio station; a few independent and small community radio stations operate on the islands of Grande Comore and Moheli, and these two islands have access to Mayotte Radio and French TV (2007)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

14 (2010) country comparison to the world: 219

Internet users:

24,300 (2009) country comparison to the world: 186

Transportation ::Comoros


4 (2010) country comparison to the world: 189

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2010)


total: 880 km country comparison to the world: 184 paved: 673 km

unpaved: 207 km (2002)

Merchant marine:

total: 177 country comparison to the world: 37 by type: bulk carrier 19, cargo 102, carrier 5, chemical tanker 6, container 2, passenger 3, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 15, refrigerated cargo 12, roll on/roll off 12

foreign-owned: 98 (Bangladesh 1, Bulgaria 8, China 1, Cyprus 2,
Greece 3, Kenya 1, Kuwait 1, Latvia 1, Lebanon 3, Lithuania 3,
Monaco 1, Nigeria 1, Norway 2, Pakistan 3, Russia 21, Syria 6,
Turkey 16, UAE 11, UK 1, Ukraine 10, US 2) (2010)

Ports and terminals:

Mayotte, Mutsamudu

Military ::Comoros

Military branches:

Army of National Development (AND): Comoran Security Force, Comoran
Coast Guard, Comoran Federal Police (2010)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for 2-year voluntary military service; no conscription; women first inducted into the Army in 2004 (2010)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 178,670

females age 16-49: 177,811 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 130,064

females age 16-49: 140,600 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 8,519

female: 8,498 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

2.8% of GDP (2006) country comparison to the world: 50

Transnational Issues ::Comoros

Disputes - international:

claims French-administered Mayotte and challenges France's and Madagascar's claims to Banc du Geyser, a drying reef in the Mozambique Channel; in May 2008, African Union forces are called in to assist the Comoros military recapture Anjouan Island from rebels who seized it in 2001


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