Comoros

Region: Southern Africa

Capital: Moroni

Population: 753,900 (UNDP 2011)

Surface area: 2,170 sq km

Currency: Comoran franc (KMF)

GDP per Capita: Purchasing power parity US $1,200 (2011, CIA est.)

Background:
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 took office. Since 2006, Anjouan’s President Mohamed Bacar has refused to work effectively with the Union presidency. In 2007, 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.

Economic 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 averaged only about 1% in 2006-09 but more than 2% per year in 2010-11. Remittances from 150,000 Comorans abroad help supplement GDP. In September 2009 the IMF approved Comoros for a three-year $21 million loan, but the government has struggled to meet program targets, such as restricting spending on wages, strengthening domestic revenue collection, and moving forward on structural reforms. (CIA, 2012)

Major Export Commodities: vanilla, ylang-ylang (perfume essence), cloves, copra

Remittances: US $12 million (2006)

Human Development Index 2011 ranking: 162 out of 187 countries

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Net ODA US $68 million (OECD 2010). Major development partners include France, IDA, and the European Community.

Total External Debt: US$ 232 million (2000, CIA est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth: 61.1 years (UNDP 2011)

Environmental Indicators:

                                        Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 13

                                           Forested Area (percentage of land area): 2.0

                                              CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita): 0.2

                                                        (Data Source: UNDP 2011)


United Nations Membership Date: 12 November 1975

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros to the United Nations
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 418
New York, N.Y. 10017 USA
Telephone: 212-750-1637
Fax: 212-750-1657, 715-0699

Email: comoros@un.int.  Website: www.un.int/wcm/content/site/comoros

Sources:

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov

World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org

Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org

Human Development Report 2011.United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org

Updated July 2012