MORONI, June 14, 2018 – Living conditions in Comorian households have improved and poverty levels have fallen by over 10% since 2004 in rural and urban areas alike, shows the World Bank’s poverty assessment released today.
Multidimensional poverty also declined significantly in tandem with improved living conditions. The report, however, underscores the uncertainty surrounding the ability to sustain this progress, owing to wide inequalities, especially between rural and urban households. The persistent lack of access to services and property ownership is of particular note.
“The main challenge to be tackled in this regard is sustaining the progress made in recent years, in line with the priority action plan stemming from the Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy. The Comoros is grappling with myriad macroeconomic and fiscal challenges that may exacerbate fiscal pressures and jeopardize the Government’s ability to provide social services,” said Nadia Belhaj Hassine Belghith, Senior Economist and co-author of the report “Limited fiscal resources, the unpredictability of non-tax revenues, and significant public expenditure create considerable fiscal pressures.”
Drawing on the analysis of the two latest series of household surveys, this report shows that the percentage of the population experiencing hardship as measured in approximately one third of the well-being indicators such as consumption, access to goods and basic services, and housing fell from 85% in 2004 to 75% in 2014.
Development policies in the Comoros designed to scale up education and health expenditure, along with growing support from the diaspora through remittances that account for about 25% of GDP have helped enhance living conditions in the country and reduce poverty.
There have also been positive developments with respect to intergenerational labor mobility. Young men and women are increasingly choosing to work in more productive sectors than those of their parents. Living standards in households have therefore improved, owing largely to higher levels of education and greater access to means of communication and transport.
The report also provides strategic advice on accelerating economic growth and reducing poverty in the Comoros, including leveraging the country’s assets and latent comparative advantages to create more productive employment, promote a more diversified, competitive, and formal economy, and provide more opportunities to better exploit the gains derived from migration and remittances.