[Country map of Comoros]



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

Map references: Africa

total area: 2,170 sq km
land area: 2,170 sq km
comparative area: 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

International disputes: claims French-administered Mayotte

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

Terrain: volcanic islands, interiors vary from steep mountains to low hills

Natural resources: negligible

Land use:
arable land: 35%
permanent crops: 8%
meadows and pastures: 7%
forest and woodland: 16%
other: 34%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: soil degradation and erosion results from crop cultivation on slopes without proper terracing; deforestation
natural hazards: cyclones and tsunamis possible during rainy season (December to April); Mount Kartala on Grand Comore is an active volcano
international agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection; signed, but not ratified - Desertification

Note: important location at northern end of Mozambique Channel


Population: 549,338 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 48% (female 131,334; male 132,327)
15-64 years: 49% (female 137,083; male 133,629)
65 years and over: 3% (female 7,860; male 7,105) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.56% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 46.22 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 10.6 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 77.3 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 58.27 years
male: 56.04 years
female: 60.57 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.73 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Comoran(s)
adjective: Comoran

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

Religions: Sunni Muslim 86%, Roman Catholic 14%

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

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1980)
total population: 48%
male: 56%
female: 40%

Labor force: 140,000 (1982)
by occupation: agriculture 80%, government 3%


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

Digraph: CN

Type: independent republic

Capital: Moroni

Administrative divisions: three islands; Grand Comore (Njazidja), Anjouan (Nzwani), and Moheli (Mwali)
note: there are also four municipalities named Domoni, Fomboni, Moroni, and Mutsamudu

Independence: 6 July 1975 (from France)

National holiday: Independence Day, 6 July (1975)

Constitution: 7 June 1992

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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Said Mohamed DJOHAR (since 11 March 1990); election last held 11 March 1990 (next to be held March 1996); results - Said Mohamed DJOHAR (UDZIMA) 55%, Mohamed TAKI Abdulkarim (UNDC) 45%
head of government: Prime Minister Halifa HOUMADI (since 13 October 1994); note - HOUMADI is the fifteenth prime minister appointed by President DJOHAR in the last three years
cabinet: Council of Ministers; appointed by the president

Legislative branch: unicameral
Federal Assembly (Assemblee Federale): elections last held 12-20 December 1993 (next to be held by NA January 1998); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (42 total) Ruling Coalition: RDR 15, UNDC 5, MWANGAZA 2; Opposition: UDZIMA 8, other smaller parties 10; 2 seats remained unfilled

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Political parties and leaders: over 20 political parties are currently active, the most important of which are; Comoran Union for Progress (UDZIMA), Omar TAMOU; Islands' Fraternity and Unity Party (CHUMA), Said Ali KEMAL; Comoran Party for Democracy and Progress (PCDP), Ali MROUDJAE; Realizing Freedom's Capability (UWEZO), Mouazair ABDALLAH; Democratic Front of the Comoros (FDR), Moustapha CHELKH; Dialogue Proposition Action (DPA/MWANGAZA), Said MCHAWGAMA; Rally for Change and Democracy (RACHADE), Hassan HACHIM; Union for Democracy and Decentralization (UNDC), Mohamed Taki Halidi IBRAHAM; Rally for Democracy and Renewal (RDR); Comoran Popular Front (FPC), Mohamed HASSANALI, Mohamed El Arif OUKACHA, Abdou MOUSTAKIM (Secretary General)


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Mohamed Ahamadu DJIMBANAO (ambassador to the US and Canada)
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) 972-8010
FAX: [1] (212) 983-4712

US diplomatic representation: none; ambassador to Port Louis, Mauritius, is accredited to Comoros

Flag: green with a white crescent in the center of the field, its points facing upward; 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


Overview: One of the world's poorest countries, Comoros is made up of several islands that have poor 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 90% 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, and to reduce the high population growth rate. Continued foreign support is essential if the goal of 4% annual GDP growth is to be reached in the late 1990s.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $370 million (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 0.9% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $700 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 15% (1993 est.)

Unemployment rate: 15.8% (1989)

revenues: $83 million
expenditures: $92 million, including capital expenditures of $32 million (1992)

Exports: $13.7 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: vanilla, ylang-ylang, cloves, perfume oil, copra
partners: US 44%, France 40%, Germany 6%, Africa 5% (1992)

Imports: $40.9 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: rice and other foodstuffs, petroleum products, cement, consumer goods
partners: France 34%, South Africa 14%, Kenya 8%, Japan 4% (1992)

External debt: $160 million (1992 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate -6.5% (1989 est.); accounts for 6% of GDP

capacity: 16,000 kW
production: 17 million kWh
consumption per capita: 27 kWh (1993)

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

Agriculture: accounts for 40% of GDP; most of population works in subsistence agriculture and fishing; plantations produce cash crops for export - vanilla, cloves, perfume essences, copra; principal food crops - coconuts, bananas, cassava; world's leading producer of essence of ylang-ylang (for perfumes) and second-largest producer of vanilla; large net food importer

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY80-89), $10 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $435 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $22 million; Communist countries (1970-89), $18 million

Currency: 1 Comoran franc (CF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Comoran francs (CF) per US$1 - 297.07 (January 1995), 416.40 (1994), 254.57 (1993), 264.69 (1992), 282.11 (1991), 272.26 (1990)
note: beginning 12 January 1994, the Comoran franc was devalued to 75 per French franc from 50 per French franc at which it had been fixed since 1948

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 0 km

total: 750 km
paved: bituminous 210 km
unpaved: crushed stone, gravel 540 km

Ports: Fomboni, Moroni, Mutsamudo

Merchant marine: none

total: 4
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 3


Telephone system: over 1,800 telephones; sparse system of radio relay and high-frequency radio communication stations for interisland and external communications to Madagascar and Reunion
local: NA
intercity: high frequency radio and microwave radio relay
international: high frequency radio

broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 1, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 0
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Comoran Security Force

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 117,349; males fit for military service 70,178 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: $NA, NA% of GDP