Africa :: Comoros

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 of the entire government 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 local government. AZALI won the 2002 federal presidential election, and each island in the archipelago elected its 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 of Comoros, refusing to step down 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 to Anjouan, but in March 2008 the AU and Comoran soldiers seized the island. The island's inhabitants generally welcomed the move. In May 2011, Ikililou DHOININE won the presidency in peaceful elections widely deemed to be free and fair.

Geography ::Comoros

People and Society ::Comoros

Government ::Comoros

    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)
    name: Moroni
    geographic coordinates: 11 42 S, 43 14 E
    time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    3 islands and 4 municipalities*; Anjouan (Ndzuwani), Domoni*, Fomboni*, Grande Comore (N'gazidja), Moheli (Mwali), Moroni*, Moutsamoudou*
    6 July 1975 (from France)
    Independence Day, 6 July (1975)
    23 December 2001
    mixed legal system of Islamic religious law, the French civil code of 1975, and customary law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Ikililou DHOININE (since 26 May 2011)
    head of government: President Ikililou DHOININE (since 26 May 2011)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    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 7 November and 26 December 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
    election results: Ikililou DHOININE elected president; percent of vote - Ikililou DHOININE 61.1%, Mohamed Said FAZUL 32.7%, Abdou DJABIR 6.2%
    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
    highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of 7 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 8 members)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges selected - 2 by the president of the Union, 2 by the Assembly of the Union, and 1 each by the 3 island councils; judges appointed for life; Constitutional Court members appointed - 1 by the president, 1 each by the 3 vice presidents, 1 by the Assembly, and 1 each by the island executives; all members serve 6-year renewable terms
    subordinate courts: Court of Appeals (in Moroni); Tribunal de premiere; island village (community) courts; religious courts
    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 AFFRAITANE]
    other: environmentalists
    chief of mission: Ambassador Roubani KAAMBI; note - also serves as Permanent Representative to the UN
    chancery: Mission to the US, 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 418, New York, NY 10017
    telephone: [1] (212) 750-1637
    FAX: [1] (212) 750-1657
    the US does not have an embassy in Comoros; the ambassador to Madagascar is accredited to Comoros
    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, Ndzuwani, and Mahore (Mayotte - territorial collectivity of France, but claimed by Comoros)
    note: the crescent, stars, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam
    four stars and crescent
    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

    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, which averaged only about 1% in 2006-09 but more than 2% per year in 2010-12. 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. 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.
    $887.4 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 207
    $866 million (2011 est.)
    $847.5 million (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $600 million (2012 est.)
    2.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    2.2% (2011 est.)
    2.1% (2010 est.)
    $1,300 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    $1,300 (2011 est.)
    $1,300 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    household consumption: 96%
    government consumption: 17%
    investment in fixed capital: 18.7%
    investment in inventories: 6.6%
    exports of goods and services: 15.3%
    imports of goods and services: -53.7%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 50%
    industry: 10%
    services: 40% (2011 est.)
    vanilla, cloves, ylang-ylang (perfume essence), copra, coconuts, bananas, cassava (manioc)
    fishing, tourism, perfume distillation
    268,500 (2007 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    agriculture: 80%
    industry and services: 20% (1996 est.)
    20% (1996 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    60% (2002 est.)
    lowest 10%: 0.9%
    highest 10%: 55.2% (2004)
    revenues: $166.4 million
    expenditures: $157.7 million (2012 est.)
    27.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    1.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    calendar year
    6% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    6.8% (2011 est.)
    1.93% (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    2.21% (31 December 2009 est.)
    10.5% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    7.29% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $151.6 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    $128.4 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $212.1 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    $198.2 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $140.5 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    $120.6 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    -$67 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    -$60.4 million (2011 est.)
    $19.6 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 205
    $25.2 million (2011 est.)
    vanilla, ylang-ylang (perfume essence), cloves, copra
    Netherlands 58.8%, Singapore 10.6%, Turkey 9.3%, France 5.6%, India 5% (2012)
    $208 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 206
    $206.6 million (2011 est.)
    rice and other foodstuffs, consumer goods, petroleum products, cement, transport equipment
    Pakistan 16.9%, France 13.9%, UAE 11%, India 8.3%, China 6.5%, Kenya 5.8%, Singapore 5.1% (2012)
    $136.1 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    $277.9 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    Comoran francs (KMF) per US dollar -
    382.9 (2012 est.)
    353.9 (2011 est.)
    371.46 (2010 est.)

Energy ::Comoros

Communications ::Comoros

    23,600 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    216,400 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    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 30 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 269; landing point for the EASSy fiber-optic submarine cable system connecting East Africa with Europe and North America; HF radiotelephone communications to Madagascar and Reunion (2010)
    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)
    14 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 225
    24,300 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 187

Transportation ::Comoros

    4 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    total: 4
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2013)
    total: 880 km
    country comparison to the world: 186
    paved: 673 km
    unpaved: 207 km (2002)
    total: 149
    country comparison to the world: 39
    by type: bulk carrier 16, cargo 83, carrier 5, chemical tanker 5, container 2, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 17, refrigerated cargo 10, roll on/roll off 8
    foreign-owned: 73 (Bangladesh 1, Bulgaria 4, China 1, Cyprus 2, Greece 4, Kenya 2, Kuwait 1, Latvia 2, Lebanon 2, Lithuania 1, Nigeria 1, Norway 1, Pakistan 5, Russia 12, Syria 5, Turkey 8, UAE 8, UK 1, Ukraine 10, US 2) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Moroni, Mutsamudu

Military ::Comoros

Transnational Issues ::Comoros

    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 were called in to assist the Comoros military recapture Anjouan Island from rebels who seized it in 2001
    current situation: Comoros is a source country for children subjected to forced labor and reportedly sex trafficking; Comoran children are forced to labor within the country in domestic service, roadside and street vending, baking, agriculture, and sometimes criminal activities; some Comoran students at Koranic schools are exploited for forced agricultural or domestic labor, sometimes being subjected to physical and sexual abuse; Comoros may be particularly vulnerable to transnational trafficking because of inadequate border controls, government corruption, and the presence of criminal networks
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Comoros does not comply fully with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; although the government provided some funding to UNICEF-supported, NGO-run centers, victim protection provisions remained very modest; the government relies on donor funding and international organization partners for the majority of its anti-trafficking efforts; a new law was passed prohibiting child trafficking and the penal code was revised to include prohibitions against and penalties for human trafficking, but these modifications await parliamentary adoption (2013)