Located northwest of Madagascar, the archipelago of the Comoros consists of three islands: Ngazidja, Mwali, and Ndzouani. The country is densely populated with 788,500 inhabitants and has a land area of 1,862 km2.
After being absent from the political scene for ten years, Azali Assoumani won the most recent presidential elections in 2016. With a stable political context, the Government has introduced a series of structural and fiscal austerity reforms that are gradually being implemented.
The economy of the Comoros recovered slightly in the second half of 2016. The new Government plans to stimulate growth by expanding the coverage of the electricity network and relaunching public investments. GDP growth should reach 2.2 percent in 2016, slightly higher than the 1 percent recorded in 2015.
The Government has undertaken to expand its fiscal space by increasing tax revenues and controlling public expenditure. The public finance position remains weak, however, and its recovery will depend on progress with the reforms undertaken in the second half of 2016.
Moreover, weak infrastructure and the business climate hamper economic activity. The Comoros was ranked 153rd out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s most recent Doing Business Report, dropping one place.
Given the important role of agriculture in the Comorian economy, measures aimed at stimulating agricultural activities and rural development are particularly important to improve the living conditions of the poorest segments of the population, most of whom live in rural areas.
The Comoros is densely populated, with approximately 390 inhabitants per km2, and more than half of the population (53 percent) is under the age of 20.
According to the last household survey conducted in 2014, almost 18 percent of the population lives under the international poverty line set at $1.9 per capita per day (expressed in 2011 purchasing power parity terms). The incidence of poverty, which varies considerably from one island to another, seems highest in rural areas and on the island of Mwali. There is considerable inequality, with a Gini index of 44.9.
The Comoros, which was ranked 159th (out of 188) in the U.N.’s Human Development Index in 2015, must focus its efforts on combating hunger and malnutrition.
In 2012, almost 32 percent of children under the age of five, particularly in rural areas, suffered from chronic malnutrition and stunted growth.
Infant mortality is relatively high, with a rate of 36 per 1,000 births for children under the age of one and 15 per 1,000 births for children under the age of five recorded in 2012.
Last Updated: Apr 01, 2017