Where Is Comoros?

Facts and information about Comoros.


Background: Comoros has had difficulty in achieving political stability, having endured 18 coups or attempted coups since receiving independence from France in 1975. Most recently, in August 1997, the islands of Anjouan and Moheli declared their independence from Comoros. An attempt in September 1997 by the government to reestablish control over the rebellious islands by force failed, and presently the Organization of African Unity is brokering negotiations to effect a reconciliation.


Location: Southern Africa, group of islands in the Mozambique Channel, about two-thirds of the way between northern Madagascar and northern Mozambique

Geographic coordinates: 12 10 S, 44 15 E

Map references: Africa


total: 2,170 sq km

land: 2,170 sq km

water: 0 sq km

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

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 340 km

Maritime claims:

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical marine; rainy season (November to May)

Terrain: 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

Natural resources: NEGL

Land use:

arable land: 35%

permanent crops: 10%

permanent pastures: 7%

forests and woodland: 18%

other: 30% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

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

Environment""international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

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


Population: 562,723 (July 1999 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 43% (male 120,397; female 119,945)

15-64 years: 54% (male 150,851; female 154,990)

65 years and over: 3% (male 7,878; female 8,662) (1999 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.11% (1999 est.)

Birth rate: 40.29 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Death rate: 9.23 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (1999 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 81.63 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 60.85 years

male: 58.39 years

female: 63.38 years (1999 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.43 children born/woman (1999 est.)


noun: Comoran(s)

adjective: Comoran

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

Religions: Sunni Muslim 86%, Roman Catholic 14%

Languages: Arabic (official), French (official), Comoran (a blend of Swahili and Arabic)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 57.3%

male: 64.2%

female: 50.4% (1995 est.)


Country name:

conventional long form: Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros

conventional short form: Comoros

local long form: Republique Federale Islamique des Comores

local short form: Comores

Data code: CN

Government type: independent republic

Capital: Moroni

Administrative divisions: three islands; Grande Comore (Njazidja), Anjouan (Nzwani), and Moheli (Mwali)

note: there are also four municipalities named Domoni, Fomboni, Moroni, and Moutsamoudou

Independence: 6 July 1975 (from France)

National holiday: Independence Day, 6 July (1975)

Constitution: 20 October 1996

Legal system: French and Muslim law in a new consolidated code

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: Interim President TADJIDDINE Ben Said Massounde (since 6 November 1998); note""President Mohamed TAKI Abdulkarim died in office 6 November 1998 and was succeeded by Interim President MASSOUNDE

head of government: Prime Minister Abbas DJOUSSOUF (since 22 November 1998)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections: president elected by popular vote to a five-year term; election last held 16 March 1996 (next to be held NA); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: Mohamed TAKI Abdulkarim elected president; percent of vote""64%

note: the Comoran constitution stipulates that upon the death of the president, a new president is to be elected within 90 days; however, Interim President TADJIDDINE has stated that a new election cannot be held until Anjouan is reunited with the rest of the country

Legislative branch: bicameral legislature consists of the Senate (15 seats; members selected by regional councils for six-year terms) and a Federal Assembly or Assemblee Federale (43 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections: Federal Assembly""last held 1 and 8 December 1996 (next to be held NA)

election results: Federal Assembly""percent of vote by party""NA; seats by party""RND 39, RND candidate running as independent 1, FNJ 3

Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Cour Supremes, two members are appointed by the president, two members are elected by the Federal Assembly, one by the Council of each island, and former presidents of the republic

Political parties and leaders: Rassemblement National pour le Development or RND, party of the government [leader NA]; Front National pour la Justice or FNJ, Islamic party in opposition [leader NA]

note: under a new constitution ratified in October 1996, a two-party system was established; former President Mohamed TAKI Abdulkarim called for all parties to dissolve and join him in creating the RND; the constitution stipulates that only parties that win six seats in the Federal Assembly (two from each island) are permitted to be in opposition, but if no party accomplishes that the second most successful party will be in opposition; in the elections of December 1996 the FNJ appeared to qualify as opposition

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL, CCC, ECA, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS (associate), ILO, IMF, InOC, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WMO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador-designate Ahmed DJABIR (ambassador to the US and Canada and permanent representative to the UN)

chancery: (temporary) care of the Permanent Mission of the Federal and Islamic Republic of the Comoros to the United Nations, 336 East 45th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10017

telephone: [1] (212) 349-2030

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

Flag description: green with a white crescent in the center of the field, its points facing downward; there are four white five-pointed stars placed in a line between the points of the crescent; the crescent, stars, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam; the four stars represent the four main islands of the archipelago""Mwali, Njazidja, Nzwani, and Mayotte (a territorial collectivity of France, but claimed by Comoros); the design, the most recent of several, is described in the constitution approved by referendum on 7 June 1992


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, is the leading sector of the economy. It 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 is struggling to upgrade education and technical training, to privatize commercial and industrial enterprises, to improve health services, to diversify exports, to promote tourism, and to reduce the high population growth rate. Continued foreign support is essential if the goal of 4% annual GDP growth is to be maintained.

GDP: purchasing power parity""$400 million (1997 est.)

GDP""real growth rate: 3.5% (1997 est.)

GDP""per capita: purchasing power parity""$700 (1997 est.)

GDP""composition by sector:

agriculture: 40%

industry: 14%

services: 46% (1996 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.5% (1997)

Labor force: 144,500 (1996 est.)

Labor force""by occupation: agriculture 80%, government 3%

Unemployment rate: 20% (1996 est.)


revenues: $48 million

expenditures: $53 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997)

Industries: tourism, perfume distillation, textiles, furniture, jewelry, construction materials, soft drinks

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity""production: 15 million kWh (1996)

Electricity""production by source:

fossil fuel: 86.67%

hydro: 13.33%

nuclear: 0%

other: 0% (1996)

Electricity""consumption: 15 million kWh (1996)

Electricity""exports: 0 kWh (1996)

Electricity""imports: 0 kWh (1996)

Agriculture""products: vanilla, cloves, perfume essences, copra, coconuts, bananas, cassava (tapioca)

Exports: $11.4 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)

Exports""commodities: vanilla, ylang-ylang, cloves, perfume oil, copra

Exports""partners: France 43%, US 43%, Germany 7% (1996)

Imports: $70 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)

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

Imports""partners: France 59%, South Africa 15%, Kenya 6% (1996)

Debt""external: $219 million (1996 est.)

Economic aid""recipient: $43.3 million (1995)

Currency: 1 Comoran franc (CF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Comoran francs (CF) per US$1""420.01 (December 1998), 442.46 (1998), 437.75 (1997), 383.66 (1996), 374.36 (1995), 416.40 (1994)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 4,000 (1993 est.)

Telephone system: sparse system of microwave radio relay and HF radiotelephone communication stations

domestic: HF radiotelephone communications and microwave radio relay

international: HF radiotelephone communications to Madagascar and Reunion

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 1, shortwave 0

Radios: 81,000 (1994)

Television broadcast stations: 0 (1998)

Televisions: 200 (1994


Railways: 0 km


total: 880 km

paved: 673 km

unpaved: 207 km (1996 est.)

Ports and harbors: Fomboni, Moroni, Moutsamoudou

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 4 (1998 est.)

Airports""with paved runways:

total: 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 3 (1998 est.)


Military branches: Comoran Security Force

Military manpower""availability:

males age 15-49: 132,969 (1999 est.)

Military manpower""fit for military service:

males age 15-49: 79,224 (1999 est.)

Military expenditures""dollar figure: $3 million (1994 est.)

Military expenditures""percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

Disputes""international: claims French-administered Mayotte; the islands of Anjouan (Nzwani) and Moheli (Mwali) have moved to secede from Comoros

*Information obtained from the Central Intelligence Agency's World Fact Book.

© High Speed Ventures 2011