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 that have progressed steadily though slowly. Comoros has now entered a new electoral cycle: elections for Union Deputies, Island Advisors, and Local Mayors were held in February 2015; the first round of presidential elections took place in February 2016, with the second round to be held on April 10, 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 against the US dollar. 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 from 2.1% in 2014 to 1% in 2015. 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. More than half of the population (53%) is younger than 20 years of age.
According to the most recent Household Budget Survey for 2014, 42.4 percent of the population (around 320 thousand people) is poor, with real monthly consumption per capita below the national poverty line, and around 18 percent of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.9 per capita per day (in 2011 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) exchange rate). The incidence of poverty varies significantly across the islands and appears to be particularly pervasive in rural areas and in Mwali. Inequality is relatively high with a Gini coefficient estimated at 44.9. The previous poverty data date back to 2004, when the poverty rate was estimated at 44.8 percent (based on the national poverty line) and the international poverty level was estimated at 13.5 percent (using the US$ 1.9 international line). However, the 2014 and 2004 household surveys are not comparable and caution should be taken in interpreting trends in poverty and progress towards its reduction. To address the comparability issues, new poverty estimates for 2004 are currently being prepared by the Comoros statistics agency with support from the World Bank. World Bank projections indicate slow progress in poverty reduction until 2018, due to stagnant economic growth. 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). One of the most important challenges will be to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
Last Updated: Apr 14, 2016