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Comoros Historical and Political Profile

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Comoros Index

  • Comoros-Armed Forces
  • Comoros-Comoros as Client State: The Economics of Abdallah
  • Comoros -Chapter 3 - Comoros
  • Comoros-Security Concerns MALDIVES
  • Comoros-Society
  • Comoros-Introducation
  • Comoros-State Security Services
  • Comoros-Foreign Military Assistance
  • Comoros-ECONOMY
  • Comoros-Human Rights
  • Comoros-Industry and Infrastructure
  • Comoros-Political Dynamics
  • Comoros-French Colonization
  • Comoros-Penal System
  • Comoros-Human Rights
  • Comoros-Security Concerns COMOROS
  • Comoros-Human Rights
  • Comoros-The Demise of Abdallah, 1989
  • Comoros-Foreign Military Assistance
  • Comoros-State Security Services
  • Comoros-Security Concerns SEYCHELLES
  • Comoros-Foreign Affairs
  • Comoros-Penal System
  • Comoros-Mercenary Rule
  • Comoros-The Soilih Regime
  • Comoros-Seychelles People's Defense Forces
  • Comoros-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Comoros-Agriculture, Livestock, and Fishing
  • Comoros-Human Rights
  • Comoros-Religion and Education
  • Comoros-Foreword
  • Comoros-Special Mobile Force
  • Comoros-Media
  • Comoros-Forces Armées Populaires
  • Comoros-The Military and the Government
  • Comoros-Public Health
  • Comoros-Penal System
  • Comoros
  • Comoros-INDIAN OCEAN -- Comoros
  • Comoros-Security Concerns MAURITIUS
  • Comoros
  • Comoros
  • Comoros-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Comoros
  • Comoros-Transportation and Communications
  • Comoros-The Undermining of the Political Process
  • Comoros-Penal System
  • Comoros-Foreign Military Assistance
  • Comoros-Preface
  • Comoros-The Issue of Mahoré
  • Comoros-Acknowledgments
  • Comoros-Foreign Military Assistance
  • Comoros-ECONOMY
  • Comoros-Training and Morale
  • Comoros-The Military and the Government
  • Comoros-Chapter 6 - Strategic Considerations
  • Comoros-The Break with France
  • Comoros-The Abdallah Regime
  • Comoros-Security Concerns MADAGASCAR
  • Comoros-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Comoros-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Comoros
  • Comoros
  • Comoros-State Security Services
  • Comoros-SOCIETY
  • Comoros-Status of Women
  • Comoros-Training and Morale
  • BackgroundComoros 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.
    LocationSouthern Africa, group of islands at the northern mouth of the Mozambique Channel, about two-thirds of the way between northern Madagascar and northern Mozambique
    Area(sq km)total: 2,235 sq km
    land: 2,235 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    Geographic coordinates12 10 S, 44 15 E
    Land boundaries(km)0 km

    Coastline(km)340 km

    Climatetropical marine; rainy season (November to May)

    Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Le Karthala 2,360 m
    Natural resourcesNEGL
    Land use(%)arable land: 35.87%
    permanent crops: 23.32%
    other: 40.81% (2005)

    Irrigated land(sq km)NA
    Total renewable water resources(cu km)1.2 cu km (2003)
    Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 0.01 cu km/yr (48%/5%/47%)
    per capita: 13 cu m/yr (1999)
    Natural hazardscyclones possible during rainy season (December to April); Le Karthala on Grand Comore is an active volcano
    Environment - current issuessoil degradation and erosion results from crop cultivation on slopes without proper terracing; deforestation
    Environment - international agreementsparty 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
    Geography - noteimportant location at northern end of Mozambique Channel
    Population752,438 (July 2009 est.)
    Age structure(%)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.)
    Median age(years)total: 18.8 years
    male: 18.5 years
    female: 19.1 years (2009 est.)
    Population growth rate(%)2.766% (2009 est.)
    Birth rate(births/1,000 population)35.23 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)7.57 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

    Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)NA (2009 est.)
    Urbanization(%)urban population: 28% of total population (2008)
    rate of urbanization: 2.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
    Sex ratio(male(s)/female)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.)
    Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 66.57 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 74.5 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 58.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 63.47 years
    male: 61.07 years
    female: 65.94 years (2009 est.)

    Total fertility rate(children born/woman)4.84 children born/woman (2009 est.)
    Nationalitynoun: Comoran(s)
    adjective: Comoran
    Ethnic groups(%)Antalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava

    Religions(%)Sunni Muslim 98%, Roman Catholic 2%
    Languages(%)Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic)

    Country nameconventional 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)
    Government typerepublic
    Capitalname: Moroni
    geographic coordinates: 11 42 S, 43 14 E
    time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions3 islands and 4 municipalities*; Grande Comore (N'gazidja), Anjouan (Ndzuwani), Domoni*, Fomboni*, Moheli (Mwali), Moroni*, Moutsamoudou*

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

    Suffrage18 years of age; universal
    Executive branchchief 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%

    Legislative branchunicameral 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 6 December 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

    Judicial branchSupreme 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)

    Political pressure groups and leadersother: environmentalists
    International organization participationACCT, 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)
    Flag descriptionfour 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 - overviewOne 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.
    GDP (purchasing power parity)$741.7 million (2008 est.)
    $738 million (2007 est.)
    $745.5 million (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP (official exchange rate)$532 million (2008 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate(%)0.5% (2008 est.)
    -1% (2007 est.)
    1.3% (2006 est.)
    GDP - per capita (PPP)$1,000 (2008 est.)
    $1,000 (2007 est.)
    $1,100 (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 40%
    industry: 4%
    services: 56% (2001 est.)
    Labor force268,500 (2007 est.)

    Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 80%
    industry and services: 20% (1996 est.)
    Unemployment rate(%)20% (1996 est.)
    Population below poverty line(%)60% (2002 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    Budgetrevenues: $27.6 million
    expenditures: $NA (2001 est.)
    Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)3% (2007 est.)

    Stock of money$100.6 million (31 December 2008)
    $76.68 million (31 December 2007)
    Stock of quasi money$41.74 million (31 December 2008)
    $23.39 million (31 December 2007)
    Stock of domestic credit$79.52 million (31 December 2008)
    $45.09 million (31 December 2007)
    Economic aid - recipient$25.23 million (2005 est.)

    Agriculture - productsvanilla, cloves, ylang-ylang, perfume essences, copra, coconuts, bananas, cassava (tapioca)
    Industriesfishing, tourism, perfume distillation

    Industrial production growth rate(%)-2% (1999 est.)

    Current account balance$8 million (2007 est.)
    Exports$32 million (2006)

    Exports - commodities(%)vanilla, ylang-ylang (perfume essence), cloves, copra
    Exports - partners(%)France 27.1%, Turkey 15.2%, India 9.5%, Greece 9.4%, Brazil 8.9%, Algeria 7%, Singapore 6.8%, Saudi Arabia 4.3% (2008)
    Imports$143 million (2006)

    Imports - commodities(%)rice and other foodstuffs, consumer goods, petroleum products, cement, transport equipment
    Imports - partners(%)Brazil 13.4%, France 13.1%, China 11.5%, UAE 9.1%, India 5.8%, Italy 5.3%, Pakistan 5.3%, Singapore 4.2%, Kenya 4.2% (2008)

    Debt - external$232 million (2000 est.)

    Exchange ratesComoran 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

    Currency (code)Comoran franc (KMF)

    Telephones - main lines in use23,300 (2008)
    Telephones - mobile cellular42,000 (2008)
    Telephone systemgeneral 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 country code.km
    Internet users23,000 (2008)
    Airports4 (2009)
    Roadways(km)total: 880 km
    paved: 673 km
    unpaved: 207 km (2002)

    Ports and terminalsMayotte, Mutsamudu
    Military branchesNational Development Army (AND): Comoran Security Force; Comoran Federal Police (2008)
    Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 167,850
    females age 16-49: 167,362 (2008 est.)
    Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 125,747
    females age 16-49: 135,707 (2009 est.)
    Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 8,203
    female: 8,188 (2009 est.)
    Military expenditures(% of GDP)2.8% of GDP (2006)
    Disputes - internationalclaims 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

    Electricity - production(kWh)22 million kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 90.6%
    hydro: 9.4%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (2001)
    Electricity - consumption(kWh)20.46 million kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - exports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
    Electricity - imports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
    Oil - production(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - consumption(bbl/day)1,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - exports(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - imports(bbl/day)766.2 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - proved reserves(bbl)0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
    Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - consumption(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
    Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)less than 0.1% (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSNA (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
    Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 56.5%
    male: 63.6%
    female: 49.3% (2003 est.)

    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 8 years
    male: 9 years
    female: 7 years (2004)
    Education expenditures(% of GDP)3.8% of GDP (2002)

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