On 24 November 2005, some 2,000 people fled their homes hoping to escape the latest eruption of the Karthala Volcano. The volcano covered nearby villages in ash and locals had little means of protecting their lungs beyond covering their faces with scarves. 

Karthala is one of two volcanoes that make up Grande Comore (or N'gazidja) Island in the Comoros archipelago. These islands lie in the Indian Ocean, between Africa and Madagascar. In this image of 25 November 2005, Grande Comore appears only in outline as material from the eruption completely obscures the satellite's view of the land surface. The volcanic ash ranges in color from tan to beige; it has spread out around the volcano in all directions, but moves primarily eastward.

With an altitude of 2,361 m (7,746 ft), Karthala is a shield volcano, with smooth slopes built from hardened lava. Comprising the southern portion of Grande Comore Island, Karthala is a regular troublemaker in its neighborhood. The volcano has erupted about 20 times in the last century. Photo courtesy of NASA.
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The archipelago of the Comoros in the Indian Ocean, composed of the islands of Anjouan, Mayotte, Moheli, and Grande Comore, declared independence from France on 6 July 1975. Residents of Mayotte, however, voted to remain in France, and the French Government now has classified it as a department of France. Since independence, Comoros has endured political instability through realized and attempted coups. In 1997, the islands of Anjouan and Moheli declared independence from Comoros. In 1999, military chief Col. AZALI Assoumani seized power of the entire government in a bloodless coup; he initiated the 2000 Fomboni Accords, a 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 as president of the Union of the Comoros from Grande Comore Island, which held the first four-year term. AZALI stepped down in 2006 and President Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed SAMBI was elected as president from Anjouan. In 2007, Mohamed BACAR effected Anjouan's de-facto secession from the Union of the 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 2009, the Comorian population approved a constitutional referendum extending the term of the president from four years to five years. In May 2011, Ikililou DHOININE won the presidency in peaceful elections widely deemed to be free and fair. In closely contested elections in 2016, former President AZALI Assoumani won a second term, when the rotating presidency returned to Grande Comore. A referendum held in July 2018 - boycotted by the opposition parties - overwhelmingly approved a new constitution removing presidential term limits and the requirement for the presidency to rotate between the three main islands. In August 2018, President AZALI formed a new government and subsequently ran and was elected president in March 2019.

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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


total: 2,235 sq km

land: 2,235 sq km

water: 0 sq km

country comparison to the world: 179

Area - comparative

slightly more than 12 times the size of Washington, DC

Area comparison map
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 0 km


340 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical marine; rainy season (November to May)


volcanic islands, interiors vary from steep mountains to low hills


highest point: Karthala 2,360 m

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

Land use

agricultural land: 84.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 46.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 29.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 8.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 1.4% (2018 est.)

other: 14.2% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

1.3 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

the capital city of Maroni, located on the western side of the island of Grande Comore, is the country's largest city; however, of the three islands that comprise Comoros, it is Anjouan that is the most densely populated as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

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

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

Geography - note

important location at northern end of Mozambique Channel; the only Arab League country that lies entirely in the Southern Hemisphere

People and Society


noun: Comoran(s)

adjective: Comoran

Ethnic groups

Antalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava


Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (official; similar to Swahili) (Comorian)


Sunni Muslim 98%, other (including Shia Muslim, Roman Catholic, Jehovah's Witness, Protestant) 2%

note: Sunni Islam is the state religion

Demographic profile

Comoros’ population is a melange of Arabs, Persians, Indonesians, Africans, and Indians, and the much smaller number of Europeans that settled on the islands between the 8th and 19th centuries, when they served as a regional trade hub. The Arab and Persian influence is most evident in the islands’ overwhelmingly Muslim majority – about 98% of Comorans are Sunni Muslims. The country is densely populated, averaging nearly 350 people per square mile, although this varies widely among the islands, with Anjouan being the most densely populated.

Given the large share of land dedicated to agriculture and Comoros’ growing population, habitable land is becoming increasingly crowded. The combination of increasing population pressure on limited land and resources, widespread poverty, and poor job prospects motivates thousands of Comorans each year to attempt to illegally migrate using small fishing boats to the neighboring island of Mayotte, which is a French territory. The majority of legal Comoran migration to France came after Comoros’ independence from France in 1975, with the flow peaking in the mid-1980s.

At least 150,000 to 200,000 people of Comoran citizenship or descent live abroad, mainly in France, where they have gone seeking a better quality of life, job opportunities, higher education (Comoros has no universities), advanced health care, and to finance elaborate traditional wedding ceremonies (aada). Remittances from the diaspora are an economic mainstay, in 2013 representing approximately 25% of Comoros’ GDP and significantly more than the value of its exports of goods and services (only 15% of GDP). Grand Comore, Comoros’ most populous island, is both the primary source of emigrants and the main recipient of remittances. Most remittances are spent on private consumption, but this often goes toward luxury goods and the aada and does not contribute to economic development or poverty reduction. Although the majority of the diaspora is now French-born with more distant ties to Comoros, it is unclear whether they will sustain the current level of remittances.

Age structure

0-14 years: 36.68% (male 154,853/female 155,602)

15-24 years: 20.75% (male 85,208/female 90,422)

25-54 years: 33.99% (male 136,484/female 151,178)

55-64 years: 4.49% (male 17,237/female 20,781)

65 years and over: 4.08% (male 15,437/female 19,079) (2020 est.)

2022 population pyramid
2022 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 74.1

youth dependency ratio: 66.6

elderly dependency ratio: 7.5

potential support ratio: 13.3 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 20.9 years

male: 20.2 years

female: 21.5 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 188

Birth rate

22.52 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 55

Death rate

6.55 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 135

Net migration rate

-2.25 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 172

Population distribution

the capital city of Maroni, located on the western side of the island of Grande Comore, is the country's largest city; however, of the three islands that comprise Comoros, it is Anjouan that is the most densely populated as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 30.1% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.97% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

62,000 MORONI (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.95 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.91 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.85 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female

total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

23 years (2012 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

273 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 40

Infant mortality rate

total: 57.1 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 67.17 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 46.73 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 67.2 years

male: 64.93 years

female: 69.54 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 192

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97.4% of population

rural: 88.5% of population

total: 91% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.6% of population

rural: 11.5% of population

total: 8.9% of population (2017 est.)

Current health expenditure

5.2% of GDP (2019)

Physicians density

0.26 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 62.4% of population

rural: 43.6% of population

total: 49% of population

unimproved: urban: 37.6% of population

rural: 56.4% of population

total: 51% of population (2017 est.)

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 0.18 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.04 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.07 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.07 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 173

Tobacco use

total: 20.3% (2020 est.)

male: 29.5% (2020 est.)

female: 11.1% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 83


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 58.8%

male: 64.6%

female: 53% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 11 years (2014)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 19.5%

male: 20%

female: 18.8% (2014)


Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil degradation and erosion results from forest loss and from crop cultivation on slopes without proper terracing; marine biodiversity affected as soil erosion leads to the silting of coral reefs

Environment - international agreements

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

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 18.6 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.2 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.19 megatons (2020 est.)


tropical marine; rainy season (November to May)

Land use

agricultural land: 84.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 46.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 29.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 8.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 1.4% (2018 est.)

other: 14.2% (2018 est.)


urban population: 30.1% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.97% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 79

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 91,013 tons (2015 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 4.8 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 500,000 cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 4.7 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

1.2 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Union of the Comoros

conventional short form: Comoros

local long form: Udzima wa Komori (Comorian)/Union des Comores (French)/Al Ittihad al Qumuri (Arabic)

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

former: Comorian State, Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros

etymology: name derives from the Arabic designation "Juzur al Qamar" meaning "Islands of the Moon"

Government type

federal presidential republic


name: Moroni

geographic coordinates: 11 42 S, 43 14 E

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

etymology: Moroni derives from "mroni," which means "at the river" in Shingazidja, the Comorian language spoken on Grande Comore (N'gazidja)

Administrative divisions

3 islands; Anjouan (Ndzuwani), Grande Comore (N'gazidja), Moheli (Mwali)


6 July 1975 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 6 July (1975)


history: previous 1996, 2001; newest adopted 30 July 2018

amendments: proposed by the president of the union or supported by at least one third of the Assembly of the Union membership; adoption requires approval by at least three-quarters majority of the total Assembly membership or approval in a referendum

note: a referendum held on 30 July 2018 - boycotted by the opposition - overwhelmingly approved a new constitution that allows for 2 consecutive 5-year presidential terms and revises the rotating presidency within the islands

Legal system

mixed legal system of Islamic religious law, the French civil code of 1975, and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Comoros

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President AZALI Assoumani (since 26 May 2016); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President AZALI Assoumani (since 26 May 2016)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote in 2 rounds for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 24 March 2019 (next to be held in 2024)

election results: 2019: AZALI Assoumani (CRC) elected president in first round - AZALI Assoumani (CRC) 60.8%, Ahamada MAHAMOUDOU (PJ) 14.6%, Mouigni Baraka Said SOILIHI (Independent) 5.6%, other 19%

2016: AZALI Assoumani (CRC) elected president in the second round; percent of vote in first round - Mohamed Ali SOILIHI (UPDC) 17.6%, Mouigni BARAKA (RDC) 15.1%, AZALI Assoumani (CRC) 15%, Fahmi Said IBRAHIM (PEC) 14.5%, other 37.8%; percent of vote in second round - AZALI Assoumani (CRC) 41.4%, Mohamed Ali SOILIHI (UPDC) 39.7%; Mouigni BARAKA (RDC) 19%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Assembly of the Union (33 seats; 24 members directly elected by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed and 9 members indirectly elected by the 3 island assemblies; members serve 5-year terms) (2017)

elections: last held on 19 January 2020 with a runoff on 23 February 2020 (next to be held in 2025) (2020)

election results: percent of vote by party - 1st round - CRC 60.9%, Orange Party 4.3%, Independents 30.8%, other 4%; 2nd round - CRC 54.1%, Orange Party 18.9%, Independents 26.1%, other 1%; seats by party - 1st round -  CRC 16, Orange Party 1, Independents 2; 2nd round - CRC 4, Orange Party 1; note - 9 additional seats filled by the 3 island assemblies; composition for elected members as of 2022 - men 20, women 4, percent of women 16.7%



Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of 7 judges)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges - selection and term of office NA

subordinate courts: Court of Appeals (in Moroni); Tribunal de premiere instance; island village (community) courts; religious courts



Political parties and leaders

Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros or CRC [AZALI Assoumani]
Orange Party [Mohamed DAOUDOU]

Note: only parties with seats in the Assembly of the Union included (2020)

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Issimail CHANFI (since 23 December 2020)

chancery: Mission to the UN, 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 495, New York, NY 10017

telephone: [1] (212) 750-1637

FAX: [1] (212) 750-1657

email address and website:


Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: the US does not have an embassy in Comoros; the US 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 vertical white crescent moon 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 - department of France, but claimed by Comoros)

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

National symbol(s)

four five-pointed stars and crescent moon; national colors: green, white

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


Economic overview

One of the world's poorest and smallest economies, the Comoros is made up of three islands that are hampered by 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 and a heavy dependence on foreign grants and technical assistance. Agriculture, including fishing, hunting, and forestry, accounts for about 50% of GDP, employs a majority 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 (perfume essence); and the Comoros' export earnings are easily disrupted by disasters such as fires and extreme weather. Despite agriculture’s importance to the economy, the country imports roughly 70% of its food; rice, the main staple, and other dried vegetables account for more than 25% of imports. Remittances from about 300,000 Comorans contribute about 25% of the country’s GDP. France, Comoros’s colonial power, remains a key trading partner and bilateral donor.


Comoros faces an education system in need of upgrades, limited opportunities for private commercial and industrial enterprises, poor health services, limited exports, and a high population growth rate. Recurring political instability, sometimes initiated from outside the country, and an ongoing electricity crisis have inhibited growth. The government, elected in mid-2016, has moved to improve revenue mobilization, reduce expenditures, and improve electricity access, although the public sector wage bill remains one of the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. In mid-2017, Comoros joined the Southern African Development Community with 15 other regional member states.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2.73 billion (2020 est.)

$2.6 billion (2019 est.)

$2.55 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 189

Real GDP growth rate

2.7% (2017 est.)

2.2% (2016 est.)

1% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 106

Real GDP per capita

$3,100 (2020 est.)

$3,100 (2019 est.)

$3,100 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 196

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.186 billion (2019 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 47.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 11.8% (2017 est.)

services: 40.5% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 92.6% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 20.4% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 20% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -3.1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 17.2% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -47.1% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

coconuts, cassava, rice, bananas, pulses nes, milk, taro, sweet potatoes, maize, cloves


fishing, tourism, perfume distillation

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 80%

industry: 20% (1996 est.)

industry and services: 20% (1996 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 0.9%

highest 10%: 55.2% (2004)


revenues: 165.2 million (2017 est.)

expenditures: 207.3 million (2017 est.)

Public debt

32.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

27.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 160

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$27 million (2017 est.)

-$45 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 74


$140 million (2019 est.)

$150 million (2018 est.)

note: Data are in current year dollars and do not include illicit exports or re-exports.

country comparison to the world: 206

Exports - partners

France 32%, India 23%, Germany 10%, Turkey 9%, Madagascar 7% (2019)

Exports - commodities

cloves, essential oils, vacuum flask, vanilla, scrap vessels (2019)


$350 million (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$360 million (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 207

Imports - partners

China 22%, United Arab Emirates 16%, France 11%, Pakistan 9%, India 6% (2019)

Imports - commodities

rice, chicken products, refined petroleum, cement, cars (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$208 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$159.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 173

Debt - external

$199.8 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$132 million (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 189

Exchange rates

Comoran francs (KMF) per US dollar -

458.2 (2017 est.)

444.76 (2016 est.)

444.76 (2015 est.)

443.6 (2014 est.)

370.81 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 70% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 89% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 62% (2019)


installed generating capacity: 35,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 96.248 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 6.048 million kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 2,200 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

326,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 326,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 195


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 7,573 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 193

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 781,579 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 90 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 166

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Comoros launched a special program for the construction of a wireless network to inter connect the 3 islands of the archipelago; telephone service limited to the islands' few towns (2020)

domestic: fixed-line connections less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage about 90 per 100 persons; 2 companies provide domestic and international mobile service and wireless data (2020)

international: country code - 269; landing point for the EASSy, Comoros Domestic Cable System, Avassa, and FLY-LION3 fiber-optic submarine cable system connecting East Africa with Europe; HF radiotelephone communications to Madagascar and Reunion (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced a downturn, particularly in mobile device production; progress toward 5G implementation has resumed, as well as upgrades to infrastructure; consumer spending on telecom services has increased due to the surge in demand for capacity and bandwidth; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home is still evident, and the spike in this area has seen growth opportunities for development of new tools and increased services

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

Internet users

total: 69,568 (2020 est.)

percent of population: 8% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 188

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,066 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0.1 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 201


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 9

Airports - with paved runways

total: 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2021)


total: 880 km (2002)

paved: 673 km (2002)

unpaved: 207 km (2002)

country comparison to the world: 188

Merchant marine

total: 236

by type: bulk carrier 8, container ship 7, general cargo 112, oil tanker 31, other 78 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 63

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Moroni, Moutsamoudou

Military and Security

Military and security forces

National Army for Development (l'Armee Nationale de Developpement, AND): Comoran Security Force (also called Comoran Defense Force (Force Comorienne de Defense, FCD), includes Gendarmerie); Ministry of Interior: Coast Guard, Federal Police, National Directorate of Territorial Safety (2022)

note: when the Gendarmerie serves as the judicial police, it reports to the Minister of Justice

Military and security service personnel strengths

estimated 600 Defense Force personnel; estimated 500 Federal Police (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the defense forces are lightly armed with a mix of mostly older equipment from a variety of countries, including France, Italy, Russia, and the US (2021)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for 2-year voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (2021)

Military - note

the security forces are limited in capabilities to performing search and rescue operations and maintaining internal security; a defense treaty with France provides naval resources for protection of territorial waters, training of Comoran military personnel, and air surveillance; France maintains a small maritime base and a Foreign Legion contingent on neighboring Mayotte (2022)

Transnational Issues

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 assisted the Comoros military in recapturing Anjouan Island from rebels who seized it in 2001

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 3 — Comoros does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the Anti-Trafficking Task Force met for the first time since 2017 and began drafting a national action plan for combatting trafficking; the government took steps to ratify the 2000 UN TIP Protocol and supported centers that would identify and provide care to victims of crime and would include trafficking victims; however, authorities continued to lack an understanding of trafficking and did not make any anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts; the government did not investigate, prosecute, or convict any alleged traffickers or officials suspected of complicity in trafficking; the government did not develop any standard operating procedures for identifying trafficking victims and referring them to limited care providers; no public awareness campaigns were conducted (2020)

trafficking profile: human traffickers may exploit domestic and foreign victims in Comoros and Comorians abroad; some Comorian and Malagasy women are subject to forced labor in the Middle East; adults and children may be forced to work in agriculture, construction, or as domestics in Mayotte; children abandoned by parents who left to seek jobs abroad are vulnerable to exploitation in domestic service, vending, baking, fishing, and agriculture; children from poor families whose parents place them with a relative or acquaintance for educational opportunities are vulnerable to domestic servitude and physical and sexual abuse; some children in Koranic schools may experience forced labor in agriculture or domestic servitude; inadequate border controls; government corruption, and international crime networks leave Comorians vulnerable to international trafficking