The archipelago of the Comoros is in the Indian Ocean, north of the Mozambique Channel and northeast of Madagascar.
As of February 18th, 2023, President Azali Assoumani has taken over as the new chairperson of the African Union (AU) for 2023. Absent from the political scene since 2006, Azali Assoumani returned and won the 2016 presidential elections. His government introduced a series of fiscal and structural reforms, including a review and overhaul of the Presidential Rotation System among the islands. President Azali’s mandate was renewed in 2019 for a new term of five years. The next presidential and gubernatorial elections in the Comoros are scheduled for January 2024.
Rising global food and fuel prices negatively affected Comoros’ economy, highlighting its vulnerability to external shocks. Growth is below potential for the fourth consecutive year. The expected strong recovery in 2022 was thwarted by sluggish consumption. Inflation levels in 2022 set a record, reaching 12.4% for the year. By December 2022, headline inflation had surged to 20.6% year-on-year, driven by high food prices. As poor households tend to allocate a larger share of their expenditure to food, they are expected to bear the brunt of the shock. Tax measures adopted by the government to help cushion households from rising prices and the underperformance of state-owned enterprises led to a significant decline in government revenues and widened the fiscal deficit from 2.7% in 2021 to 3.9% in 2022. Rising import bills widened the current account deficit to 2.4% of GDP in 2022 (from 0.5% in 2021). This trend continued in 2023 Q1 but the external position remained broadly sound, with net foreign assets reaching an estimated $240 million in 2023 Q1.
The recovery is expected to continue, with growth predicted to reach 3% in 2023 and 3.8% over 2024-25, primarily driven by private consumption and public investment. The construction of the El Maarouf Hospital and the Galawa Hotel, as well as the construction or restoration of roads and ports, should significantly contribute to the economic expansion. The fiscal deficit is projected to widen to 6.3% of GDP in 2023 due to the completion of major investment and low domestic resource mobilization, before narrowing to an estimated 3.1% in 2025 on the back of a fiscal consolidation program, enhanced SOE performance monitoring, and increased expenditure efficiency through the use of an e-procurement system. Due to the disbursement of existing loans, public debt is projected to reach 45.2% of GDP in 2025, but the implementation of the 2023 debt management law will help contain it.
Comoros is densely populated, with approximately 465 inhabitants per km2, and 53% of the population under 20 years of age. High population density places intense pressure on natural resources and the environment. The country’s location and topography are among the most climate-vulnerable in the world, and 54.2% of the population live in at-risk areas. Some 45% of the population live just below the national poverty line, and 44% face either moderate or severe food insecurity. Comoros children can expect to complete 8.4 years of schooling by 18 years of age. Girls receive significantly less education than boys, and adolescent pregnancies are two to three times that of peer countries. Chronic malnutrition leads to stunting in 31 of 100 children. The social safety net system in Comoros is progressing, but its impact is limited due to inadequate coverage. Comoros has made significant efforts during recent years to set up social safety net programs and there has been an increase of national coverage of vulnerable groups (around 6% of the population) but the coverage is not yet able to meet the needs of the country.
Last Updated: Sep 24, 2023