UNION OF THE COMOROS

The Comoros Archipelago is situated in the north-east of Madagascar, at the entrance of the Mozambique Channel. The Archipelago, which appeared in the Tertiary period, has about thirty islands, the top four of these being inhabited: Grand Comore (Ngazidja), Anjouan (Ndzuwani), Moheli (Mwali) and Mayotte (Maoré).

Moroni - Capitale de l'Union des Comores
The latter, the nearest to Madagascar, chose to remain French during the 1974 referendum. The other three, which became independent on 6 July 1975, form the Union of the Comoros. Comoros is the French name derived from the Arabic name Juzur al Camar. The country covers a total area of 2 237 km² with an estimated population of about 798 000 inhabitants. The population density is high: 309 inhab/ km². Comoros has a largely rural population (72.1%) but urban areas have been showing a fast growth rate as well: more than 5% per year. Major cities are Moroni (50 000 inhabitants), Mutsamudu (35 000) and Fomboni (less than 30 000). Today, some 150 000 to 200 000 Comorians live in France, 55 000 in Mayotte and 40 000 in Reunion Island. Shikomor, French and Arabic are the official languages of Comoros but commercial transactions are mostly done in French. The national currency is the Comorian Franc (KMF). This currency has a fixed ratio to the euro (€ 1 = KMF 492). Comoros is a member of the free trade area. In Comoros, agricultural production accounts for 40% of GDP and employs 80% of the workforce. The main activity of this sector is product marketing. In 2010, GDP growth was 2.1%, according to a report by the International Monetary Fund. This rate should «reach 4% by 2013 and then stabilize”, according to this report. The IMF explains that this growth is “triggered by crucial factors including the recovery of public works supported by donors, a rebound in personal consumption and a recovery in private construction, supported by remittances from the Diaspora”. In fact, the country is undergoing an IMF three-year structural adjustment program known as an “agreement under the Extended Credit Facility”.

Settlement in Comoros started in the eighth century. Islam was introduced in the thirteenth century, with the arrival of the first Chirazians in the country. Legend has it that King Solomon was passing there. The Comorian population is a mixture of various peoples, who sometimes travelled from far away: Arabs, Bantus, Bushmen, Chirazians, Portuguese, Indians etc. Almost all Comorians are Sunni Muslims and Islamic traditions play a major role in everyday life. The French made their appearance in the Archipelago in 1841 and introduced their protectorate there a few decades later. Three of the four islands (Ngazidja, Nzwani and Mwali), which became French overseas territories in 1946, gained unilateral independence twenty-nine years later (in 1975). Since then, the country has experienced a series of putsches and regimes and saw six presidents in rapid succession. Bathed in a humid tropical climate, Comoros experience slight variations in temperature (between 26 and 32 ° C) during the two main seasons, characterized by the Kashkazi winds (monsoon) from November to April, and the Kusi (trade winds) from May to October. Rain is abundant, with up to 2 679 mm of annual rainfall. The average seawater temperature is 25 °C. The Islands of the Moon are known for harbouring several endemic plant and animal species. Wildlife includes the green turtle, the Livingstone bat, the coelacanth (a marine mammal nicknamed “living fossil”, which gave its name to the national football team), and gecko, maki, dolphin and bird species as well (17 bird species live and breed exclusively in the Comorian territory). Local biodiversity is, however, constantly threatened by environmental degradation through deforestation and coastal pollution caused by nonbiodegradable wastes.

Presentation
Presentation of the Comoros

The Comoro Archipelago is situated in the Northeast of Madagascar, at the entrance of the Mozambique Channel. It consists of four islands: Grande Comore (Ngazidja), Anjouan (Ndzwani)... More »

The institutions
The institutions

The National Assembly is, according to the Constitution, the legislative committee of the Union. It is consisted of thirty-three members of parliament elected for a mandate of fi ve (5) years... More »

The economy
The economy

The state economy is characterised by the predominance of agriculture, fishing and farming, which represents more than 40 % of the GDP. The farming sector constitutes of the... More »

The media
The média

Year 2009 which starts will be marked by the holding of the general States of the press, the first national conference of the media, supported by the president of the republic himself, Ahmed Abdallah Sambi... More »

The partners

All the partners »