Overview

  • 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.

    Political context

    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.

    Economic situation

    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.

    Social context

    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. 

    Development challenges

    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

  • In May 2014, the Comoros adapted its new poverty reduction and growth strategy (SCA2D) for the period 2015-2019. The SCA2D is based on a participatory approach and sets out a medium-term development strategy. It also establishes the foundations for a long-term program to implement the Government’s ambition of raising the Comoros to emerging country status by 2040 and making it a country that respects human rights and promotes equality and the rule of law. To achieve this, its main objectives are to:

    • strengthen the economy to promote high, viable, equitable, sustainable, and inclusive growth;
    • improve the quality of life of the population and ensure equity in access to basic social services;
    • promote the natural and cultural heritage and sound management of natural resources;
    • promote good governance and improve resilience in the face of political fragility.

    In 2014, the World Bank Group adopted a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the Union of Comoros. This program is structured around 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 and staggered over the period of the CPS (including IDA regional resources), i.e., from 2014 to 2017.

    The World Bank and the Comoros have developed several programs aimed at overcoming the main barriers to economic activity. In September 2013, the Bank committed to supporting the rehabilitation of the electricity sector (RES - US$5 million) and the Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (RCIP4 – US$22 million). In the fisheries sector, the World Bank signed a grant agreement on May 9, 2012 for the Coastal Resources Co-management for Sustainable Livelihood Project (CoreCSuD – US$2.7 million). It will also be financing the South West Indian Ocean and Fisheries Governance Project (SWIO Fish) in the amount of US$9.5 million. As well, the Social Safety Net Project (US$6 million approved in March 2015) is aimed at increasing the income of the poorest communities on the three islands

    The Reform and Governance Support Program in the amount of US$3 million per year was approved in May 2014 and June 2015 to build capacity in the public sector. This program is intended to strengthen the country’s economic management, promote transparency, and improve the performance of the electricity and ICT (information and communications technologies) sectors.

    The partnership between the World Bank and the Comoros also includes an important technical assistance program, which resulted in the preparation of numerous policy briefs in 2014, including, in particular, a public expenditure review, a study for a subsidy model for the electricity sector, and a review of tax and customs exemptions. 

    Last Updated: Apr 01, 2017

  • The World Bank has contributed to the recent public finance management reforms and improvements in government services through its technical assistance to the Economic Governance Reform Program. As a result, 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 information management system.

    The World Bank is continuing its activities in favor of local governments to reduce poverty in rural areas through the “cash for work” program and other local development projects. This aid has made it possible to finance a number of initiatives in favor of disadvantaged segments of the population and vulnerable groups, particularly women and young people. It has also improved access to basic education and provided the inhabitants of the Comoros with the ability to involve themselves in the local development process. The Bank is continuing to support the implementation of the recovery plan for the national water and electricity company (MAMWE). It is also supporting the issuance of a second license for a new telecommunications operator offering full services via the regional telecommunications infrastructure projects (PRSE and RCIP4).

    The education sector has improved. In 2014, 39 percent of adults had completed secondary school or higher (including 34 percent women and 41 percent men) as against 9 percent in 2004. As well, 76 percent of young people between the ages of five and 15 were in school in 2014, as against 67 percent in 2004.

    Last Updated: Apr 01, 2017

  • Good coordination among the donors is essential to optimize the Government’s actions and maximize the 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 and improve the outcomes. The approval of an Article IV mission by the IMF Executive Board on December 7, 2016 is crucial for donor intervention in the Comoros.

    Last Updated: Apr 01, 2017

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LENDING

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

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


PHOTO GALLERY

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In Depth

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Africa's Pulse, No. 15, April 2017

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Doing Business in Comoros

The Doing Business Project provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement. See where Comoros ranks on the "...

Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
1 Rue Andriamifidy
BP 4140
Antananarivo 101, Madagascar
+261-20-22-560-00
Antananarivo
Diana Styvanley
Communications Officer
+261320500127
dstyvanley@worldbank.org
Washington
Thomas Buckley
Country Program Coordinator
1818 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20433
+1-202-473-0075
tbuckley@worldbank.org