Overview

  • Situated in the Indian Ocean, northwest of Mayotte and Madagascar, the archipelago of the Comoros is made up of three islands:  Ngazidja (or Grand Comore), Mohéli, and Anjouan.

    Political Context

    After being absent from the political scene for 10 years, Azali Assoumani won the most recent presidential elections in 2016. With a stable political context, the Government has introduced a series of fiscal and structural reforms.

    Economic Overview

    The economy of the Comoros has improved in recent months. Economic growth is expected to increase slightly owing to transfers from the diaspora and public investment in infrastructure that supports domestic demand. An improved electricity supply and expanded access to telecommunications services also support private sector activities, with the launch of the second global telecommunications license and the introduction of a second operator on the market.

    The economic outlook is encouraging. GDP growth is expected to increase to 2.5% in 2017, above the 1% recorded in 2015 and 2.2% in 2016. In the medium term, growth is expected to stabilize around 2.7%, underpinned by the dynamism of the private and public sectors.

    Opportunities to develop the private sector exist in the Comoros. The hotel and air transport sectors are particularly attractive to investors. However, the country faces considerable challenges with respect to competitiveness and economic diversification. Enhancement of the business climate is therefore a priority in order to develop the private sector and create jobs in the formal sector.

    Improvement of public expenditure is also critical for the development of the Comoros. The Government must be able to mobilize resources to finance its ambitious investment program and improve citizens’ living conditions. Public expenditure management reforms are essential in order to create fiscal space. In addition, efforts to improve the performance of the national electricity company should be continued in order to reduce State subsidies. 

    Social Context

    The Comoros is densely populated, with approximately 400 inhabitants per km2, and more than half of the population (53%) is under the age of 20.

    According to the last household survey conducted in 2014, almost 18% of the population lives under the international poverty line set at $1.9 per capita per day. The incidence of poverty, which varies considerably from one island to another, seems highest in rural areas and on the island of Mohéli. There is considerable inequality, with a Gini index of 44.9.

    Development Challenges

    The Comoros, which was ranked 159 (out of 188) on the U.N.’s Human Development Index in 2015, must focus its efforts on combating hunger and malnutrition.

    In 2012, almost 32% of children under the age of five, particularly in rural areas, suffered from chronic malnutrition and stunted growth.

    Furthermore, 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.

    The maternal mortality rate is 172 per 100,000 births.

    Last Updated: Dec 05, 2017

  • The Government’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy (SCA2D) for the period 2015-2019 aims to “make the Comoros an emerging economy by 2040.” To achieve this, the Government intends to undertake a number of initiatives.

    The Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the Comoros, adopted by the World Bank Group in 2014, is based on two priorities: (i) increasing public sector capacity and (ii) promoting shared growth and increased employment. This strategy is aligned with the SCA2D and involves total financing of US$60 million granted by IDA.

    The World Bank has developed several programs aimed at removing the main constraints to economic activity. The Bank supports the rehabilitation of the electricity sector (RES - $5 million) and the Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (RCIP4 – $22 million). In the fisheries sector, the World Bank is financing the Coastal Resources Co-management for Sustainable Livelihood Project (CoreCSuD – $2.7 million) and the South West Indian Ocean and Fisheries Governance Project (SWIOFish - $9.5 million). It is supporting the establishment of social safety nets ($6 million) in order to boost the income of the poorest communities.

    In late 2016, the World Bank approved a $2.5 million grant to strengthen statistical systems in the Comoros in order to carry out the fourth general census and the new Household Living Conditions and Poverty Survey.

    Significant progress was made in the telecommunications sector through the Regional Communications Infrastructure Program - Phase 4 (RCIP-4), which is financing the FLY-LION3 submarine cable.

    Lastly, the World Bank is providing considerable technical assistance in the areas of economic and fiscal policy. 

    Last Updated: Dec 05, 2017

  • The World Bank has contributed to the recent public finance management reforms and improvements in government services. Owing to the technical assistance provided, the inventory of civil servants has been completed and wage payments are now made by a centralized system. The Public Treasury has been reorganized and recently adopted a new financial information management system.

    The World Bank Group is continuing its activities to help reduce poverty in rural areas for the most vulnerable local communities through the “cash for work” program and other local development projects. This assistance has made it possible to finance a raft of initiatives benefiting vulnerable groups, particularly women and young people. The Bank is also supporting the implementation of the recovery plan for the national water and electricity company (MAMWE).

    Through the Coastal Resources Co-management for Sustainable Livelihood Project (CoreCSuD), financed by the Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF), 30 pilot villages received fisheries infrastructure; 75 community works projects were completed; 17 coastal resources co-management agreements were signed; and capacity building was carried out for fisheries management institutions. Also in the fisheries sector, 31 communities benefited from microprojects under the SWIOFish1 Project.

    The World Bank Group is also supporting access to basic education. In 2014, 76% of young people aged 5 to 15 attended school, against 67% in 2004, and 39% of adults had completed secondary school or higher (34% women and 41% men), against 9% in 2004.

    Last Updated: Dec 05, 2017

  • Good coordination among donors is essential to maximize development outcomes in a country with very limited capacity. The World Bank is working in close cooperation with the European Union (EU), France, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the various UN agencies, and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to harmonize donor efforts. 

    Last Updated: Dec 05, 2017

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LENDING

Comoros: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
1 Rue Andriamifidy
BP 4140
Antananarivo 101, Madagascar
+261-20-22-560-00
For general information and inquiries
Diana Styvanley
Communications Officer
+261320500127
dstyvanley@worldbank.org
For project-related issues and complaints
comorosalert@worldbank.org