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Capital City: Moroni

The Website of Comoros Archipelago




Background:  Unstable Comoros has endured 19 coups or attempted coups
since gaining independence from France in 1975. In 1997, the islands of
Anjouan and Moheli declared their independence from Comoros. In 1999,
military chief Col. AZALI seized power. He has 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.

Geography Comoros

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

Geographic coordinates:  12 10 S, 44 15 E

Map references:  Africa

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

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

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: 18% other: 47% (1998 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, Ship Pollution, Wetlands signed, but
not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:  important location at northern end of Mozambique

People Comoros

Population:  614,382 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 42.9% (male 132,013; female 131,282) 15-64
years: 54.2% (male 164,245; female 168,793) 65 years and over: 2.9%
(male 8,588; female 9,461) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  2.99% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  39.01 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  9.1 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  NEGL migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 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:
0.91 male(s)/female total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  81.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   63.09 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  5.26 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.12% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  NA

Nationality:  noun: 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)

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 57.3% male: 64.2% female: 50.4% (1995 est.)

Government Comoros

Country name:  conventional long form: Federal Islamic Republic of the
Comoros conventional short form: Comoros local short form: Comores local
long form: Republique Federale Islamique des Comores

Government type:  independent republic

Capital:  Moroni

Administrative divisions:  3 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:  23 December 2001 note: a Transitional National Unity
Government (GUNT) was formed on 20 January 2002 following the passing of
the new constitution; the GUNT governed until the presidential elections
on 14 April 2002

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

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President AZALI Assoumani (since 26
May 2002); note - AZALI Assoumani became president on 6 May 1999 after
a bloodless coup on 30 April 1999; on 16 January 2002, President AZALI
resigned his position to run in the 14 April 2002 presidential elections;
during that time, Prime Minister Hamada Madi BOLERO served as interim
president election results: President AZALI Assoumani elected president
with 75% of the vote elections: president elected by popular vote for
a five-year term; election last held 14 April 2002 (next to be held NA
April 2007); prime minister appointed by the president head of government:
Prime Minister Hamada Madi BOLERO (since NA November 2000); note - on
16 January 2002, President AZALI resigned his position to run in the
14 April 2002 presidential elections; Prime Minister Hamada Madi BOLERO
was appointed interim president and Djaffar SALIM interim deputy prime
minister cabinet: Legislative branch:  bicameral legislature consists
of the Senate (15 seats - five from each island); members selected by
regional councils for six-year terms) and a Federal Assembly or Assemblee
Federale (42 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year
terms); note - the Federal Assembly was dissolved following the coup of 30
April 1999 elections: Federal Assembly - last held 1 and 8 December 1996
(next to be held NA) note:  the Federal Assembly (two from each island)
are permitted to be in the opposition, but if no party accomplishes
that, the second most successful party will be in the opposition; in the
elections of December 1996 the FNJ appeared to qualify as opposition
election results: Federal Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA%;
seats by party - RND 39, FNJ 3, independent 1

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)

Political parties and leaders:  Front National pour la Justice or FNJ
(Islamic party in opposition) [Ahmed Abdallah MOHAMED, Ahmed ABOUBACAR,
Soidiki M'BAPANOZA]; Rassemblement National pour le Development or RND
(party of the government) [Ali Bazi SELIM]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL,
(associate), ILO, IMF, IMO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU,
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) telephone: [1] (212)
 [1] (212) 983-4712 and 715-0699 chancery:  Republic of the Comoros to
 the United Nations, 420 East 50th Street,
New York, NY 10022

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

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,
Njazidja, Nzwani, and Mayotte (a territorial collectivity of France, but
claimed by Comoros); the crescent, stars, and color green are traditional
symbols of Islam

Economy Comoros

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 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. 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 - $424 million (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  1% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $710 (2001 est.)

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

Population below poverty line:  60% (2001 est.)

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

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  3.5% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  144,500 (1996 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 80%

Unemployment rate:  20% (1996 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $27.6 million expenditures: $NA, including capital
expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)

Industries:  tourism, perfume distillation

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

Electricity - production:  19 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 89.47% hydro: 10.53%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  17.67 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

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

Exports:  $35.3 million (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

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

Exports - partners:  France 46%, US 18%, Singapore 18%, Germany 9% (1999)

Imports:  $44.9 million (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

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

Imports - partners:  France 34%, South Africa 14%, Kenya 7%, Pakistan 4%

Debt - external:  $225 million (yearend 2000 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $10 million (2001 est.)

Currency:  Comoran franc (KMF)

Currency code:  KMF

Exchange rates:  Comoran francs per US dollar - 557.09 (January 2002),
549.78 (2001), 533.98 (2000), 461.77 (1999), 442.46 (1998), 437.75 (1997)
note: prior to January 1999, the official rate was pegged to the French
franc at 75 Comoran francs per French franc; since 1 January 1999,
the Comoran franc is pegged to the euro at a rate of 491.9677 Comoran
francs per euro

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Comoros

Telephones - main lines in use:  7,000 (2000)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  NA

Telephone system:  general assessment: 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 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)

Radios:  90,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  NA

Televisions:  1,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .km

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  1 (2000)

Internet users:  1,500 (2001)

Transportation Comoros

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 880 km paved: 673 km unpaved: 207 km (1996)

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Fomboni, Moroni, Moutsamoudou

Merchant marine:  total: 6 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 139,779
GRT/205,369 DWT ships by type: cargo 6 note: includes some foreign-owned
ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Malta 1, Pakistan 1,
Turkey 1 (2002 est.)

Airports:  4 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 4 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 914 to
1,523 m: 3 (2001)

Military Comoros

Military branches:  Comoran Security Force

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 145,509 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 86,455
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $6 million (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  3% (FY01)

Transnational Issues Comoros

Disputes - international:  claims French-administered Mayotte; the island
of Anjouan (Nzwani) has moved to secede from Comoros again after recent
military coup

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002




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