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.



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

Map references



total: 2,235 sq km
land: 2,235 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly more than 12 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


340 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical marine; rainy season (November to May)


volcanic islands, interiors vary from steep mountains to low hills


mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Karthala 2,360 m

Natural resources


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

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, 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

Geography - note

important location at northern end of Mozambique Channel

People and Society


noun: Comoran(s)
adjective: Comoran


794,678 (July 2016 est.)

Ethnic groups

Antalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava


Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (official; a blend of Swahili and Arabic) (Comorian)


Sunni Muslim 98%, Roman Catholic 2%
note: Islam is the state religion

Demographic profile

Comoros’ population is a m�lange of Arabs, Persians, Indonesians, Africans, and Indians, and the much smaller number of Europeans that settled on the islands between the 8th and 19th centuries, when they served as a regional trade hub. The Arab and Persian influence is most evident in the islands’ overwhelmingly Muslim majority – about 98% of Comorans are Sunni Muslims. The country is densely populated, averaging nearly 350 people per square mile, although this varies widely among the islands, with Anjouan being the most densely populated.
Given the large share of land dedicated to agriculture and Comoros’ growing population, habitable land is becoming increasingly crowded. The combination of increasing population pressure on limited land and resources, widespread poverty, and poor job prospects motivates thousands of Comorans each year to attempt to illegally migrate using small fishing boats to the neighboring island of Mayotte, which is a French territory. The majority of legal Comoran migration to France came after Comoros’ independence from France in 1975, with the flow peaking in the mid-1980s.
At least 150,000 to 200,000 people of Comoran citizenship or descent live abroad, mainly in France, where they have gone seeking a better quality of life, job opportunities, higher education (Comoros has no universities), advanced health care, and to finance elaborate traditional wedding ceremonies (aada). Remittances from the diaspora are an economic mainstay, in 2013 representing approximately 25% of Comoros’ GDP and significantly more than the value of its exports of goods and services (only 15% of GDP). Grand Comore, Comoros’ most populous island, is both the primary source of emigrants and the main recipient of remittances. Most remittances are spent on private consumption, but this often goes toward luxury goods and the aada and does not contribute to economic development or poverty reduction. Although the majority of the diaspora is now French-born with more distant ties to Comoros, it is unclear whether they will sustain the current level of remittances.

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.)


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.)

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

urban: 92.6% of population
rural: 89.1% of population
total: 90.1% of population
urban: 7.4% of population
rural: 10.9% of population
total: 9.9% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 48.3% of population
rural: 30.9% of population
total: 35.8% of population
urban: 51.7% of population
rural: 69.1% of population
total: 64.2% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


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)


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)

Mother's mean age at first birth

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2012 est.)


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


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*


6 July 1975 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 6 July (1975)


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

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Comoros
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


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


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

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, N'gazidja, Ndzuwani, and Mahore (Mayotte - department of France, but claimed by Comoros)
note: the crescent, stars, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam

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


Economy - overview

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

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 indust

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)

$622 million (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

2.2% (2016 est.)
1% (2015 est.)
2% (2014 est.)

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

agriculture: 50%
industry: 12.1%
services: 37.9% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

vanilla, cloves, ylang-ylang (perfume essence), coconuts, bananas, cassava (manioc)


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)


revenues: $165 million
expenditures: $185.5 million (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

26.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-3.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.2% (2016 est.)
1.3% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

1.93% (31 December 2010)
2.21% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

10.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
10.5% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$201.8 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$169 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$303 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$251.7 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$180.1 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$142.4 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Current account balance

-$56 million (2016 est.)
$5 million (2015 est.)


$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)


$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.)


Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Electricity - access

population without electricity: 200,000
electrification - total population: 69%
electrification - urban areas: 89%
electrification - rural areas: 62% (2013)

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 - 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.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 24,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

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


Internet users

total: 58,000
percent of population: 7.5% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 9 (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

D6 (2016)


4 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2013)


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


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)

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

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Comoros is a source country for children subjected to forced labor and, reportedly, sex trafficking domestically, and women and children are subjected to forced labor in Mayotte; it is possibly a transit and destination country for Malagasy women and girls and a transit country for East African women and girls exploited in domestic service in the Middle East; Comoran children are forced to labor in domestic service, roadside and street vending, baking, fishing, and agriculture; some Comoran students at Koranic schools are exploited for forced agricultural or domestic labor, sometimes being subjected to physical and sexual abuse; Comoros may be particularly vulnerable to transnational trafficking because of inadequate border controls, government corruption, and the presence of international criminal networks
tier rating: Tier 3 – Comoros does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and was placed on Tier 3 after being on the Tier 2 Watch List for two consecutive years without making progress; Parliament passed revisions to the penal code in 2014, including anti-trafficking provisions and enforcement guidelines, but these amendments have not yet been passed approved by the President and put into effect; a new child labor law was passed in 2015 prohibiting child trafficking, but existing laws do not criminalize the forced prostitution of adults; authorities did not investigate, prosecute, or convict alleged trafficking offenders, including complicit officials; the government lacked victim identification and care referral procedures, did not assist any victims during 2014, and provided minimal support to NGOs offering victims psychosocial services (2015)