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  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.01 cu km/yr (48%/5%/47%)
per capita: 13 cu m/yr (1999)

Total renewable water resources:
1.2 cu km (2003)

Land boundaries:
0 km

Environment - international agreements:
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

tropical marine; rainy season (November to May)

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
12 10 S, 44 15 E

Natural resources:

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Le Karthala 2,360 m

volcanic islands, interiors vary from steep mountains to low hills

Geography - note:
important location at northern end of Mozambique Channel

total: 2,170 sq km
land: 2,170 sq km
water: 0 sq km

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

340 km

Area - comparative:
slightly more than 12 times the size of Washington, DC

Irrigated land:

Environment - current issues:
soil degradation and erosion results from crop cultivation on slopes without proper terracing; deforestation

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Natural hazards:
cyclones possible during rainy season (December to April); Le Karthala on Grand Comore is an active volcano

Land use:
arable land: 35.87%
permanent crops: 23.32%
other: 40.81% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
4.9 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
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: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.12% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 63.1 years
male: 60.72 years
female: 65.55 years (2008 est.)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 56.5%
male: 63.6%
female: 49.3% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Antalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava

Median age:
total: 18.7 years
male: 18.5 years
female: 19 years (2008 est.)

731,775 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
3.8% of GDP (2002)

Population growth rate:
2.803% (2008 est.)

Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic)

Death rate:
7.76 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 68.58 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 76.65 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 60.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 8 years
male: 9 years
female: 7 years (2004)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 42.4% (male 155,662/female 154,520)
15-64 years: 54.6% (male 197,178/female 202,231)
65 years and over: 3% (male 10,203/female 11,981) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
35.78 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Sunni Muslim 98%, Roman Catholic 2%

noun: Comoran(s)
adjective: Comoran

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Comoros; the ambassador to Madagascar is accredited to Comoros

National holiday:
Independence Day, 6 July (1975)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:

Political pressure groups and leaders:
other: environmentalists

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Representative to the US and Ambassador to the UN Mohamed TOIHIRI
chancery: Mission to the US, 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 418, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 750-1637

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
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 in April 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

Legal system:
French and Islamic law in a new consolidated code; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

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 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

6 July 1975 (from France)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Union of the Comoros
conventional short form: Comoros
local long form: Union des Comores
local short form: Comores

Political parties and leaders:
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]

name: Moroni
geographic coordinates: 11 42 S, 43 14 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

23 December 2001

Executive branch:
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 by May 2010)
election results: Ahmed Abdallah SAMBI elected president; percent of vote - Ahmed Abdallah SAMBI 58.0%, Ibrahim HALIDI 28.3%, Mohamed DJAANFAMI 13.7%

Administrative divisions:
3 islands and 4 municipalities*; Grande Comore, Anjouan, Domoni*, Fomboni*, Moheli, Moroni*, Mutsamudu*

Judicial branch:
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)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Turkey 38%, France 27.5%, Singapore 9.2%, Saudi Arabia 4.1% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
18.6 million kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
5.36% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$8 million (2007 est.)

Debt - external:
$232 million (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:
20% (1996 est.)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,100 (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$45.09 million (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$778.6 million (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$557 million (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
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

GDP - real growth rate:
1% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$76.68 million (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
144,500 (1996 est.)

Imports - partners:
France 18.2%, UAE 10.8%, South Africa 8.5%, Pakistan 7.2%, Kenya 5.7%, China 5.4%, India 5% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3% (2007 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 40%
industry: 4%
services: 56% (2001 est.)

Oil - imports:
755.4 bbl/day (2005)

$32 million f.o.b. (2006)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Comoran franc (KMF)

Economy - 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. 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 caused the economy to contract in 2007. Remittances from 150,000 Comorans abroad help supplement GDP.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
rice and other foodstuffs, consumer goods, petroleum products, cement, transport equipment

fishing, tourism, perfume distillation

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
60% (2002 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
10.5% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$23.39 million (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
20 million kWh (2006 est.)

$143 million f.o.b. (2006)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 80%
industry and services: 20% (1996 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Oil - consumption:
712.3 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
vanilla, ylang-ylang (perfume essence), cloves, copra

Economic aid - recipient:
$25.23 million (2005 est.)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 90.6%
hydro: 9.4%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $27.6 million
expenditures: $NA (2001 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
21,000 (2006)

Telephones - main lines in use:
19,100 (2006)

1,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)

90,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
40,000 (2007)

Television broadcast stations:

Telephone system:
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

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)

Internet hosts:
8 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:
Mayotte, Mutsamudu

Merchant marine:
total: 136
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)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2007)

total: 880 km
paved: 673 km
unpaved: 207 km (2002)

4 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 167,850
females age 16-49: 167,362 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 121,550
females age 16-49: 131,015 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
National Development Army (AND): Comoran Security Force; Comoran Federal Police (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 7,901
female: 7,894 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
2.8% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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 are called in to assist the Comoros military recapture Anjouan Island from rebels who seized it in 2001

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