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Flag of Comoros
Map of Comoros
Introduction Comoros
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
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:
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, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
340 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 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
Natural resources:
Land use:
arable land: 34.98%
permanent crops: 17.94%
other: 47.08% (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 Channel
People Comoros
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:
total population: 60.79 years
female: 63.09 years (2002 est.)
male: 58.56 years
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:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
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: 57.3%
male: 64.2%
female: 50.4% (1995 est.)
Government Comoros
Country name:
conventional long form: Union of the Comoros
conventional short form: Comoros
local short form: Comores
local long form: Union des Comores
Government type:
independent republic
Administrative divisions:
3 islands; Grande Comore (Njazidja), Anjouan (Nzwani), and Moheli (Mwali); note - there are also four municipalities named Domoni, Fomboni, Moroni, and Moutsamoudou
6 July 1975 (from France)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 6 July (1975)
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
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; AZALI Assoumani sworn in as president on 26 May 2002
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: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
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 April 2003)
note: the constitution stipulates that only parties that win six seats in 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:
International organization participation:
ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL, CCC, ECA, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS (associate), ILO, IMF, IMO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW (signatory), 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)
telephone: [1] (212) 972-8010 and 223-2711
FAX: [1] (212) 983-4712 and 715-0699
chancery: (temporary) care of the Permanent Mission of the Federal and Islamic 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.
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.)
revenues: $27.6 million
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
tourism, perfume distillation
Industrial production growth rate:
-2% (1999 est.)
Electricity - production:
19 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 89%
hydro: 11%
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)
$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)
$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% (1999)
Debt - external:
$225 million
Economic aid - recipient:
$10 million (2001 est.)
Comoran franc (KMF)
Currency code:
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:
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)
90,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
2,500 (2002)
Transportation Comoros
0 km
total: 880 km
paved: 673 km
unpaved: 207 km (1996)
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.)
4 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2002)
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 19 March 2003