Constitutional reforms adopted in 2009 represented a turning point in the development of the Comoros, transforming relations between the islands, significantly reducing tensions, and improving the prospects for greater stability. The amendments adjusted the autonomy of the islands, converted the island presidents to governors, and reaffirmed the unity of the state and the role of the federal government.
Presidential elections were held in late 2010, with President Ikililou Dhoinine taking office in May 2011. Following these elections, the country has enjoyed political stability and the Government has initiated a series of economic reforms. Comoros has now entered a new electoral cycle: elections for Union Deputies, Island Advisors, and Local Mayors were held in February 2015 and presidential elections have been announced for February 2016. A smooth elections process would help consolidate the political stability of the country and would enable the incoming government to focus on a continuous reform program in the Comoros.
Recent economic developments point to a deteriorating economic situation as growth slows and the Comorian franc depreciates. Comoros has a small and undiversified economy. While the economy had showed signs of recovery after years of political instability, achieving an eight-year high in terms of economic growth at 3.5% in 2013, conditions since then have deteriorated with growth slowing to 2.1% in 2014. Severe shortages in electricity supply and sluggish progress in the implementation of structural reforms presented a drag on all sectors of the economy. Slowing growth has been accompanied by a rapid depreciation of the Comorian franc by approximately 24% since June 2014, placing a strain on the import capacity of this highly import-dependent economy, and increasing pressure on domestic prices. For these reasons, the fiscal outlook is fragile.
Comoros has a dense population of about 390 inhabitants per square kilometer. With a population growth rate estimated at 2.4%, the population is projected to reach one million in twelve years and to more than double by the year 2050. More than half of the population (53%) is younger than 20 years of age.
Poverty and unemployment are widespread in Comoros, particularly amongst women. New poverty estimates are currently being prepared by the Comoros statistics agency with support from the World Bank, and are due by end 2015. The most recent poverty data date back to 2004, when the poverty rate was estimated at 46.1% (based on a poverty line at $1.25 a day, 2005 PPP equivalent) and was observed to be primarily concentrated in rural areas. World Bank projections indicate that the poverty rate is likely to have declined slightly. This slow progress may be explained by the commodity price shocks and global economic downturn of the 2007-2012 period, which are likely to have had a lasting negative impact on household welfare, whilst steady urban migration may have exacerbated poverty in crowded urban suburbs.
The incidence of poverty varies significantly across the islands and is generally higher in rural areas and in Anjouan.
Comoros ranked 159th out of 187 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index in 2014. Progress has been made on several of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Comoros is on track to achieve the universal primary education goal and HIV/AIDS, with little progress on poverty and water access. The country also made progress toward reducing child mortality and maternal health, indicators that many other countries have found very difficult to achieve. One of the most challenging targets, especially in the wake of the food price crisis, will be to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
Last Updated: Sep 23, 2015