Africa :: Comoros
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Comoros
Location of Comoros
 
Map of 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 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, 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
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
12 10 S, 44 15 E
total: 2,235 sq km
country comparison to the world: 179
land: 2,235 sq km
water: 0 sq km
slightly more than 12 times the size of Washington, DC
0 km
340 km
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
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Le Karthala 2,360 m
NEGL
arable land: 35.87%
permanent crops: 23.32%
other: 40.81% (2005)
NA
1.2 cu km (2003)
total: 0.01 cu km/yr (48%/5%/47%)
per capita: 13 cu m/yr (1999)
cyclones possible during rainy season (December to April); Le Karthala on Grand Comore is an active volcano
soil degradation and erosion results from crop cultivation on slopes without proper terracing; deforestation
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
important location at northern end of Mozambique Channel
People ::Comoros
752,438 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
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) (2009 est.)
total: 18.8 years
male: 18.5 years
female: 19.1 years (2009 est.)
2.766% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
35.23 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
7.57 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
NA (2009 est.)
urban population: 28% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 66.57 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 30
male: 74.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 58.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 63.47 years
country comparison to the world: 171
male: 61.07 years
female: 65.94 years (2009 est.)
4.84 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
less than 0.1% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
NA (2007 est.)
NA
noun: Comoran(s)
adjective: Comoran
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.)
total: 8 years
male: 9 years
female: 7 years (2004)
3.8% of GDP (2002)
country comparison to the world: 120
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)
republic
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*; Grande Comore (N'gazidja), Anjouan (Ndzuwani), Domoni*, Fomboni*, Moheli (Mwali), Moroni*, Moutsamoudou*
6 July 1975 (from France)
Independence Day, 6 July (1975)
23 December 2001
French and Islamic law in a new consolidated code; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
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
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 14 May 2006 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: Ahmed Abdallah SAMBI elected president; percent of vote - Ahmed Abdallah SAMBI 58.0%, Ibrahim HALIDI 28.3%, Mohamed DJAANFAMI 13.7%
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 18 and 25 April 2004 (next to be held on 2 August 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CdIA 12, CRC 6; note - 15 additional seats are filled by deputies from local island assemblies
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)
Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros or CRC [AZALI Assowmani]; Camp of the Autonomous Islands or CdIA (a coalition of parties organized by the islands' presidents in opposition to the Union President); 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
ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AMF, AU, COMESA, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
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
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, Nzwani, and Mahore (Mayotte - territorial collectivity of France, but claimed by Comoros)
note: the crescent, stars, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam
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 40% to GDP, employs 80% of the labor force, and provides most of the exports. 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 - 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. The political problems have inhibited growth, which has averaged only about 1% in 2006-08. Remittances from 150,000 Comorans abroad help supplement GDP.
$751.2 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208
$747.4 million (2007 est.)
$743.7 million (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$532 million (2008 est.)
0.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
0.5% (2007 est.)
1.3% (2006 est.)
$1,000 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 211
$1,100 (2007 est.)
$1,100 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 40%
industry: 4%
services: 56% (2001 est.)
268,500 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160
agriculture: 80%
industry and services: 20% (1996 est.)
20% (1996 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
60% (2002 est.)
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
revenues: $27.6 million
expenditures: $NA (2001 est.)
3% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
5.36% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 80
5.36% (31 December 2007)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 79
10.5% (31 December 2007)
$73.12 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 164
$76.68 million (31 December 2007)
$23.74 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 169
$23.39 million (31 December 2007)
$50.64 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 170
$45.09 million (31 December 2007)
vanilla, cloves, ylang-ylang, perfume essences, copra, coconuts, bananas, cassava (tapioca)
fishing, tourism, perfume distillation
-2% (1999 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
22 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 204
20.46 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 204
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
1,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
766.2 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 196
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 196
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 181
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
$8 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
$32 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 201
vanilla, ylang-ylang (perfume essence), cloves, copra
France 30.5%, Turkey 17.2%, Greece 10.6%, Brazil 10%, Singapore 7.7%, Saudi Arabia 4.9%, India 4.3% (2008)
$143 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 203
rice and other foodstuffs, consumer goods, petroleum products, cement, transport equipment
Brazil 13.5%, France 13.2%, China 10.5%, UAE 9.2%, South Africa 6.1%, Italy 5.3%, Pakistan 5.3%, Singapore 4.2%, Kenya 4.2% (2008)
$232 million (2000 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
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
23,300 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 187
42,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 198
general assessment: sparse system of microwave radio relay and HF radiotelephone communication stations; fixed-line connections only about 3 per 100 persons; mobile cellular usage about 5 per 100 persons
domestic: HF radiotelephone communications and microwave radio relay
international: country code - 269; HF radiotelephone communications to Madagascar and Reunion
AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)
NA
.km
7 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 223
23,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 188
Transportation ::Comoros
4 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 184
total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2009)
total: 880 km
country comparison to the world: 184
paved: 673 km
unpaved: 207 km (2002)
total: 136
country comparison to the world: 46
by type: bulk carrier 15, cargo 87, carrier 2, chemical tanker 5, container 2, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 9, refrigerated cargo 5, roll on/roll off 8, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 68 (Bangladesh 2, Bulgaria 2, Cyprus 1, Greece 6, India 2, Kenya 1, Kuwait 1, Lebanon 4, Norway 1, Pakistan 4, Philippines 1, Russia 12, Saudi Arabia 1, Singapore 1, Syria 4, Turkey 8, Ukraine 8, UAE 7, US 2) (2008)
Mayotte, Mutsamudu
Military ::Comoros
National Development Army (AND): Comoran Security Force; Comoran Federal Police (2008)
males age 16-49: 167,850
females age 16-49: 167,362 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 125,747
females age 16-49: 135,707 (2009 est.)
male: 8,203
female: 8,188 (2009 est.)
2.8% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 54
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 are called in to assist the Comoros military recapture Anjouan Island from rebels who seized it in 2001