Comoros Population: 794,678

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 History
The archipelago of the Comoros in the Indian Ocean, composed of the islands of Mayotte, Anjouan, Moheli, and Grand Comore declared independence from France on 6 July 1975. France did not recognize the independence of Mayotte, which remains under French administration. Since independence, Comoros has endured political instability through realized and attempted coups. In 1997, the islands of Anjouan and Moheli declared independence from Comoros. In 1999, military chief Col. AZALI Assoumani seized power of the entire government in a bloodless coup; he initiated the 2000 Fomboni Accords, a power-sharing agreement in which the federal presidency rotates among the three islands, and each island maintains its local government. AZALI won the 2002 federal presidential election as president from Grand Comore Island, and each island in the archipelago elected its president. AZALI stepped down in 2006 and President SAMBI was elected to office as president from Anjouan. In 2007, Mohamed BACAR effected Anjouan's de-facto secession from the Union of Comoros, refusing to step down 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 to Anjouan, but in March 2008 the AU and Comoran soldiers seized the island. The island's inhabitants generally welcomed the move. In May 2011, Ikililou DHOININE won the presidency in peaceful elections widely deemed to be free and fair. Former President AZALI Assoumani was declared the winner of the closely contested 2016 presidential election.

 Geography
Important location at northern end of Mozambique Channel
Location: 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
Area: total: 2,235 sq km
land: 2,235 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Size comparison: slightly more than 12 times the size of Washington, DC
Land Boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 340 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical marine; rainy season (November to May)
Terrain: volcanic islands, interiors vary from steep mountains to low hills
Elevation extremes:
Natural resources: fish
Land use: agricultural land: 84.4% arable land 46.7%; permanent crops 29.6%; permanent pasture 8.1% forest: 1.4%
other: 14.2% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 1.3 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: cyclones possible during rainy season (December to April); volcanic activity on Grand Comore volcanism: Karthala (elev. 2,361 m) on Grand Comore Island last erupted in 2007; a 2005 eruption forced thousands of people to be evacuated and produced a large ash cloud
Current Environment Issues: soil degradation and erosion results from crop cultivation on slopes without proper terracing; deforestation
International Environment Agreements: party 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
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 People
Nationality: noun: Comoran(s)
adjective: Comoran
Ethnic groups: Antalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava
Languages: Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (official; a blend of Swahili and Arabic) (Comorian)
Religions: Sunni Muslim 98%, Roman Catholic 2%

note: Islam is the state religion
Population: 794,678 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 40.1% (male 158,809/female 159,840)
15-24 years: 19.23% (male 73,947/female 78,831)
25-54 years: 32.58% (male 122,936/female 135,962)
55-64 years: 4.21% (male 14,850/female 18,611)
65 years and over: 3.89% (male 14,321/female 16,571) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 75.6%
youth dependency ratio: 70.7%
elderly dependency ratio: 4.9%
potential support ratio: 20.4% (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 19.6 years
male: 19 years
female: 20.2 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.71% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 26.9 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 7.4 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 28.3% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.67% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: MORONI (capital) 56,000 (2014)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.8 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth: 24.6 note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2012 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 335 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 61.8 deaths/1,000 live births male: 72.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 51 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 64.2 years male: 61.9 years
female: 66.6 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.47 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 19.4% (2012)
Health expenditures: 6.7% of GDP (2014)
Hospital bed density: 2.2 beds/1,000 population (2006)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 92.6% of population
rural: 89.1% of population
total: 90.1% of population

unimproved:
urban: 7.4% of population
rural: 10.9% of population
total: 9.9% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 48.3% of population
rural: 30.9% of population
total: 35.8% of population

unimproved:
urban: 51.7% of population
rural: 69.1% of population
total: 64.2% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 5.8% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 16.9% (2012)
Education expenditures: 5.1% of GDP (2014)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 77.8%
male: 81.8%
female: 73.7% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 11 years male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2013)
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 Government
Country name: conventional 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)
etymology: name derives from the Arabic designation "Juzur al Qamar" meaning "Islands of the Moon"
Government type: federal presidential republic
Capital: name: Moroni
geographic coordinates: 11 42 S, 43 14 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 3 islands and 4 municipalities*; Anjouan (Ndzuwani), Domoni*, Fomboni*, Grande Comore (N'gazidja), Moheli (Mwali), Moroni*, Moutsamoudou*
Independence: 6 July 1975 (from France)
National holiday: Independence Day, 6 July (1975)
Constitution: previous 1996; latest ratified 23 December 2001; amended 2009, 2014 (2016)
Legal system: mixed legal system of Islamic religious law, the French civil code of 1975, and customary law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Azail ASSOUMANI (since 26 May 2016); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Azail ASSOUMANI (since 26 May 2016)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president elections/appointments: the Union presidency rotates among the 3 islands; president directly elected by simple majority popular vote in 2 rounds for a single nonrenewable 5-year term (in the first round or primary, 3 candidates with the highest vote count by voters on the island concerned compete in the second round; second round winner determined by simple majority vote by voters on all 3 islands; election last held on 21 February 2016 and second round held 10 April 2016 (next to be held in 2021); note - in addition to the Union president, each island elects its own president

election results: Azail ASSOUMANI elected president in the second round of voting by a plurality; percent of vote in first round - Mohamed Ali SOILIHI 17.6%, Mouigni BARAKA 15.1%, Azali ASSOUMANI 15%, Fahmi Said IBRAHIM 14.5%; percent of vote in second round - Azail ASSOUMANI 41%, Mohamed Ali SOILIHI 39.9%; Mouigni BARAKA 19.1%
Legislative branch: description: unicameral Assembly of the Union (33 seats; 24 members elected by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed and 9 members indirectly selected by island assemblies; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 25 January and 22 February 2015 (next to be held in 2020)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UPDC 8, PJ 7, RDC 2, CRC 2, RADHI 1, PEC 1, independents 3; note - in addition 9 seats will be filled by nominations from the 3 island assemblies
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of 7 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 8 members) judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges - 2 selected by the president of the Union, 2 by the Assembly of the Union, and 1 each by the 3 island councils; judges appointed for life; Constitutional Court members appointed - 1 by the president, 1 each by the 3 vice presidents, 1 by the Assembly, and 1 each by the island executives; all members serve 6-year renewable terms

subordinate courts: Court of Appeals (in Moroni); Tribunal de premiere instance; island village (community) courts; religious courts
Political parties and leaders: Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros or CRC [AZALI Assoumani] Democratic Rally of the Comoros or RDC [Mouigni BARAKA] Juwa Party or PJ [Ahmed Abdallah SAMBI] Party for the Comorian Agreement (Partie Pour l'Entente Commorienne) or PEC [Fahmi Said IBRAHIM] Rally for an Alternative of Harmonious and Integrated Development or RADHI [Abdou SOEFO] Rally with a Development Intiiative for Enlightened Youth or RIDJA [Said Larifou] Union for the Development of the Comoros or UPDC [Mohamed HALIFA]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Federation Comorienne des Consomateurs or FCC [Mohamed Said Abdallah MCHANGANA] Mouvement des Entreprises comorienne or MODEC [Faharate HOUSSEIN] Union des Chambres de Commerce et de l'Industrie et de l'Agriculture or UCCIA [Fahmy THABIT] Confederation des Travailleurs Comoriens or CTC other: environmentalists
International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, AMF, AOSIS, AU, CAEU (candidates), COMESA, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
National symbol(s): four stars and crescent; national colors: green, white
National anthem: name: "Udzima wa ya Masiwa" (The Union of the Great Islands)
lyrics/music: Said Hachim SIDI ABDEREMANE/Said Hachim SIDI ABDEREMANE and Kamildine ABDALLAH

note: adopted 1978
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Soilihi Mohamed SOILIHI (since 18 November 2014)
chancery: Mission to the US, 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 418, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 750-1637
FAX: [1] (212) 750-1657
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Comoros; the US Ambassador to Madagascar is accredited to Comoros
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 Economy
One of the world's poorest countries, Comoros is made up of three islands that are hampered by 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 and a heavy dependence on foreign grants and technical assistance. Agriculture, including fishing, hunting, and forestry, accounts for 50% of GDP, employs 80% of the labor force, and provides most of the exports. Export income is heavily reliant on the three main crops of vanilla, cloves, and ylang-ylang; and Comoros' export earnings are easily disrupted by disasters such as fires and extreme weather. Despite agriculture’s importance to the economy, the country imports roughly 70% of its food; rice, the main staple, accounts for the bulk of imports. Authorities are negotiating with the IMF for triennial program assistance. The government - which is racked by internal political disputes - is struggling to provide basic services, upgrade education and technical training, privatize commercial and industrial enterprises, improve health services, diversify exports, promote tourism, and reduce the high population growth rate. Recurring political instability, sometimes initiated from outside the country, has inhibited growth. Remittances from about 200,000 Comorans contribute about 25% of the country’s GDP. In December 2012, IMF and the World Bank's International Development Association supported $176 million in debt relief for Comoros, resulting in a 59% reduction of its future external debt service over a period of 40 years. In late 2013, a US-based investment company invested $200 million in a project to explore for hydrocarbons in Comoran territorial waters, the largest financial investment in the country’s history.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.259 billion (2016 est.) $1.232 billion (2015 est.) $1.22 billion (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $622 million (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.2% (2016 est.) 1% (2015 est.) 2% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,500 (2016 est.) $1,500 (2015 est.) $1,600 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving: 11.9% of GDP (2016 est.) 19.2% of GDP (2015 est.) 12.8% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 104.9%
government consumption: 19.2%
investment in fixed capital: 11.2%
investment in inventories: 10.3%
exports of goods and services: 19.4%
imports of goods and services: -65% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 104.9%
government consumption: 19.2%
investment in fixed capital: 11.2%
investment in inventories: 10.3%
exports of goods and services: 19.4%
imports of goods and services: -65% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - products: vanilla, cloves, ylang-ylang (perfume essence), coconuts, bananas, cassava (manioc)
Industries: fishing, tourism, perfume distillation
Industrial production growth rate: 0.5% (2016 est.)
Labor force: 245,200 (2013 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 80% industry and
services: 20% (1996 est.)
Unemployment rate: 6.5% (2014 est.)
Population below poverty line: 44.8% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 0.9%
highest 10%: 55.2% (2004)
Budget: revenues: $165 million
expenditures: $185.5 million (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 26.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.2% (2016 est.) 1.3% (2015 est.)
Current account balance: -$56 million (2016 est.) $5 million (2015 est.)
Exports: $19.2 million (2016 est.) $18.9 million (2015 est.)
Exports - commodities: vanilla, ylang-ylang (perfume essence), cloves
Exports - partners: India 28.7%, France 17%, Germany 8.7%, Saudi Arabia 7.1%, Singapore 6.6%, Netherlands 6.1%, Mauritius 5.3% (2015)
Imports: $191.2 million (2016 est.) $195.9 million (2015 est.)
Imports - commodities: rice and other foodstuffs, consumer goods, petroleum products, cement and construction materials, transport equipment
Imports - partners: China 18.9%, Pakistan 16.2%, France 14.7%, UAE 11.3%, India 6.3% (2015)
Debt - external: $133.3 million (31 December 2016 est.) $132.8 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange rates: Comoran francs (KMF) per US dollar - 449.1 (2016 est.) 443.6 (2015 est.) 443.6 (2014 est.) 370.81 (2013 est.) 382.9 (2012 est.)
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 Energy
Electricity - production: 44 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 40.92 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 22,000 kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 95.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 4.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 1,300 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 1,350 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 200,000 Mt (2013 est.)
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 Communications
Cellular Phones in use: total: 422,000 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 54 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: sparse system of microwave radio relay and HF radiotelephone communication stations

domestic: fixed-line connections only about 3 per 100 persons; mobile cellular usage over 50 per 100 persons

international: country code - 269; landing point for the EASSy fiber-optic submarine cable system connecting East Africa with Europe and North America; HF radiotelephone communications to Madagascar and Reunion (2015)
Broadcast media: national state-owned TV station and a TV station run by Anjouan regional government; national state-owned radio; regional governments on the islands of Grande Comore and Anjouan each operate a radio station; a few independent and small community radio sta (2007)
Internet country code: .km
Internet users: total: 58,000 percent of population: 7.5% (July 2015 est.)
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 Transportation
Airports: 4 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2013)
Roadways: total 880 km
paved: 673 km
unpaved: 207 km (2002)
Merchant marine: total 149

by type: bulk carrier 16, cargo 83, carrier 5, chemical tanker 5, container 2, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 17, refrigerated cargo 10, roll on/roll off 8

foreign-owned: 73 (Bangladesh 1, Bulgaria 4, China 1, Cyprus 2, Greece 4, Kenya 2, Kuwait 1, Latvia 2, Lebanon 2, Lithuania 1, Nigeria 1, Norway 1, Pakistan 5, Russia 12, Syria 5, Turkey 8, UAE 8, UK 1, Ukraine 10, US 2) (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Moroni, Mutsamudu
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 Military
Military branches: National Army for Development (l'Armee Nationale de Developpement, AND): Comoran Security Force (also called Comoran Defense Force (Force Comorienne de Defense, FCD), includes Gendarmerie), Comoran Coast Guard, Comoran Federal Police (2015)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for 2-year voluntary male and female military service; no conscription (2015)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: claims 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 assisted the Comoros military recapture Anjouan Island from rebels who seized it in 2001
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