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Info Africa - COMOROS

Comoros consists of three islands in the Indian Ocean, at the northern mouth of the Mozambique Channel. These islands obtained their independence from France in 1975. Since gaining independence, Comoros has experienced 19 coups or attempted coups. Under a 2001 constitution, each island (Moheli, Anjouan and the largest island of Grande Comore) were given their own presidents and more autonomy. The island of Mayotte is administered by France and claimed by the Comoros. In the meantime, the Comoro islands are trying to strengthen their political stability in the midst of tensions between the semi-autonomous islands and the central government. The islands are a holiday paradise with excellent beaches and a rich and vibrant culture. The

vegetation of these islands is very rich and varied. While 65% of the world’s essence comes from these islands, spices such as nutmeg, cloves, vanilla and pepper form the backbone of the Comoran economy. The islands are surrounded by coral reefs and there are a variety of water sports in this region. Grande Comore, otherwise called Ngazidja is home to Mount Karthala, an active volcano, as well as Moroni, the capital city. With its numerous government buildings, Moroni is known for its old, narrow, winding streets and numerous markets. Mosques are spread all across town as this region as the majority of Comoros population is Muslim. Only 6 kilometres from Moroni lies Itsandra, a fishing village, which was once the ancient capital of the island. It is home to some royal tombs as well as a fortress. The people of Comoros are mainly descendants of Arab and Indian traders, Malay immigrants and African peoples; all contributing to the islands’ complex ethnic mix. These islands have absorbed both cultural and musical influences from East Africa, the Middle East, Madagascar and southern Indian. Although French is the official language of the Comoros, other ethnic languages are spoken. The language of Shikomoro, for instance, is a blend of Swahili (spoken in the East Coast of Africa) and Arabic.
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Country Flag: Comoros Flag

four equal horizontal bands of yellow (top), white, red, and blue; 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; horizontal bands and four stars represent the four main islands; the crescent, stars, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam

Nationality: Comoran

Capital: Moroni

Population: 690,948 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 42.7%
  • 15-64 years: 54.3%
  • 65 years and over: 3% (2006 est.)  

Population growth rate: 2.87% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 56.5% of the population is literate (male: 63.6%, female: 49.3%) (2003 est.)

Major religions: Sunni Muslim 98%, Roman Catholic 2%

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

Quick Facts
  • total: 2,170 sq km
  • land: 2,170 sq km
  • water: 0 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: half the size of Prince Edward Island

Natural resources: N/A

Environmental Issues: soil degradation and erosion results from crop cultivation on slopes without proper terracing; deforestation


Comoros, one of the world’s poorest countries, suffers from insufficient transportation links, a rapidly rising population and having only a few natural resources. The subsistence level of economic activity and high unemployment rates are an inevitable result of the low education level of the labour force. Comoros is highly dependent on foreign grants and technical assistance. About 80% of the labour force is involved in agriculture, fishing, hunting and forestry, which provides most of the exports. However, Comoros is not self-sufficient in food production, such as rice. This main staple accounts for the majority of imports. Currently, the government is focusing on improving education and technical training, privatizing commercial and industrial enterprises, bettering health services, diversifying exports, promoting tourism and reducing the high population growth rate. Fortunately, remittances from 150,000 Comorans abroad help increase the GDP.

Major industries:

  • tourism
  • perfume distillation

Agricultural products:

  • vanilla
  • cloves
  • perfume essences
  • copra
  • coconuts
  • bananas
  • cassava (tapioca)

Oil production: 0 bbl/day (2003)

Railways: N/A

Road map: 880 km (paved: 673 km, unpaved: 207 km)

Currency: Comoran franc


Telephone lines in use: 13,200 (2003)

Cellular lines in use: 2,000 (2003)

Television Stations: N/A

Radio Stations: AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)

Internet users: 8,000 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 0.12% (2001 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: N/A

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