Flag of Comoros

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Comoros has endured 19 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. He pledged to resolve the secessionist crisis through a confederal arrangement named the 2000 Fomboni Accord. In December 2001, voters approved a new constitution and presidential elections took place in the spring of 2002. Each island in the archipelago elected its own president and a new union president took office in May 2002.


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

Land boundaries:

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

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Le Kartala 2,360 m

Land use:

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

Natural hazards:

cyclones possible during rainy season (December to April); Le Kartala on Grand Comore is an active volcano

Environment - current issues:

soil degradation and erosion results from crop cultivation on slopes without proper terracing; deforestation

Geography - note:

important location at northern end of Mozambique Channel


690,948 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 42.7% (male 148,009/female 147,038)
15-64 years: 54.3% (male 185,107/female 190,139)
65 years and over: 3% (male 9,672/female 10,983) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 18.6 years
male: 18.4 years
female: 18.9 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.87% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

36.93 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

8.2 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 72.85 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 81.27 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 64.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 62.33 years
male: 60 years
female: 64.72 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

5.03 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.12% (2001 est.)


noun: Comoran(s)
adjective: Comoran

Ethnic groups:

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.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Union of the Comoros
conventional short form: Comoros
local long form: Union des Comores
local short form: Comores

Government type:

independent republic



Administrative divisions:

3 islands and 4 municipalities*; Grande Comore (Njazidja), Anjouan (Nzwani), Domoni*, Fomboni*, Moheli (Mwali), Moroni*, Moutsamoudou*


6 July 1975 (from France)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 6 July (1975)


23 December 2001

Legal system:

French and Sharia (Islamic) law in a new consolidated code


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch:

unicameral Assembly of the Union (33 seats; 15 deputies are selected by the individual islands' local assemblies and the 18 by universal suffrage; deputies serve for five years);
elections: last held 18 and 25 April 2004 (next to be held in 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 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 - 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. Increased foreign support is essential if the goal of 4% annual GDP growth is to be met. Remittances from 150,000 Comorans abroad help supplement GDP.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$441 million (2002 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$402 million (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

3% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$600 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 40%
industry: 4%
services: 56% (2001 est.)

Labor force:

144,500 (1996 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 80%
industry and services: 20%

Unemployment rate:

20% (1996 est.)

Population below poverty line:

60% (2002 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

3% (2005 est.)


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

Agriculture - products:

vanilla, cloves, perfume essences, copra, coconuts, bananas, cassava (tapioca)


tourism, perfume distillation

Industrial production growth rate:

-2% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production:

18 million kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

16.74 million kWh (2003)

Oil - consumption:

700 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Current account balance:

-$17 million (2005 est.)


$34 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)

Exports - commodities:

vanilla, ylang-ylang (perfume essence), cloves, copra

Exports - partners:

US 43.8%, France 18.7%, Singapore 16.5%, Turkey 4.8%, Germany 4.5% (2004)


$115 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)

Imports - commodities:

rice and other foodstuffs, consumer goods, petroleum products, cement, transport equipment

Imports - partners:

France 23.7%, South Africa 11%, Kenya 7.5%, UAE 7.2%, Italy 4.9%, Pakistan 4.7%, Mauritius 4.2%, Singapore 4% (2004)

Debt - external:

$232 million (2000 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$24 million (2003 est.)

Currency (code):

Comoran franc (KMF)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

13,200 (2003)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

2,000 (2003)

Telephone system:

general assessment: sparse system of microwave radio relay and HF radiotelephone communication stations
domestic: HF radiotelephone communications and microwave radio relay
international: country code - 269; HF radiotelephone communications to Madagascar and Reunion

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

6 (2005)

Internet users:

8,000 (2005)


4 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2005)


total: 880 km
paved: 673 km
unpaved: 207 km (1999)

Merchant marine:

total: 117 ships (1000 GRT or over) 522,157 GRT/738,339 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 10, cargo 85, container 1, livestock carrier 1, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 7, refrigerated cargo 5, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 59 (Bangladesh 1, Bulgaria 1, Canada 1, Greece 8, India 1, Kenya 1, Kuwait 1, Lebanon 3, Nigeria 2, Norway 1, Pakistan 2, Philippines 1, Russia 5, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Saudi Arabia 3, Syria 3, Turkey 10, Ukraine 12, US 2) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Mayotte, Moutsamoudou

Military branches:

Comoran Security Force