Region: Southern Africa

Capital: Moroni

Population: 766,865 (July 2014 CIA est.)

Surface area: 2,235 sq km

Currency: Comoran franc (KMF)

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

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 50% 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. Remittances from 200,000 Comorans abroad help supplement GDP. In December 2012, IMF and the World Bank’s International Development Association supported $176 million in debt relief for Comoros, resulting in a 59% reduction of its future external debt service over a period of 40 years. (CIA, 2014)

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

Remittances inflows: US $12 million (2006)

Human Development Index 2013 ranking: 169 out of 186 countries (UNDP 2013)

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners:
Net ODA US $68,670,000 (OECD 2012) Major development partners include France, IDA, and the European Community.

Total External DebtUS $142.9million (31 December 2012 CIA est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth: 63.48 years (CIA)

Environmental Indicators:
Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 11.7
Forested Area (percentage of land area): 1.6
CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita): 0.2
(UNDP 2013)

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

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
World Development Indicators. World Bank
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Human Development Report 2013.United Nations Development Programme.

Updated January 2015