Overview

  • Located in the Indian Ocean, north of the Mozambique Channel and northeast of Madagascar, the archipelago of the Comoros is made up of four islands: Ngazidja (or Grande Comore), Mohéli, Anjouan, and Mayotte, the last of which is administered by France.

    Political Context

    After a decade of absence from the political scene, Azali Assoumani won the 2016 presidential elections. The Government introduced a series of fiscal and structural reforms amidst a stable political climate. The national congress convened in February 2018 to assess conditions after 42 years of independence recommended an overhaul of the system of a rotating presidency among the islands through potential constitutional reforms.

    Economic Overview

    There was an uptick in economic growth, from 2.2% in 2016 to 2.5% in 2017, caused primarily by improvement of the electricity supply and an increase in emigrant remittances. Private consumption remained the main engine of growth on the demand side. Public investments were geared toward the rehabilitation of priority roads (for example, the road linking the airport to the city center) and private investment exhibited momentum, particularly with the implementation of two hotel rehabilitation and expansion projects.

    Real GDP growth is projected to increase slightly to 3% on average during the 2018-2020 period as a result of emigrant remittances and private consumption. Remittances from emigrants are expected to benefit from the economic recovery in France where the vast majority of the Comorian diaspora lives. Although the business climate is not expected to improve significantly, a number of positive developments are anticipated in the private sector, like the arrival of Turkish Airways and, in the telecommunications sector, liberalization of the internet service provider market and construction of a second undersea cable landing station.

    The volatility of external grant aid, low domestic revenue collection, and existing expenditure pressures risk worsening public debt. This is particularly true against the backdrop of a weak budget framework. Moreover, maintaining a stable energy supply is proving to be a major challenge. Although the energy supply has improved, government subsidization of electricity production may not be sustainable.  Lastly, the current process of overhauling the system of rotating the presidency among the islands is being met with resistance and poses a major political risk.

    Social Context

    With almost 400 inhabitants per square kilometer, the Comoros is densely populated, and over half of its population (53%) is under the age of 20.

    According to the last household survey conducted in 2014, almost 18% of the population lives under the international poverty line set at $1.9 per capita per day.  The incidence of poverty, which varies considerably from one island to another, seems highest in rural areas and on the island of Mohéli. There is considerable inequality, with a Gini index of 44.9.

    Development Challenges

    The Comoros, which was ranked 160 (out of 188) on the U.N.’s Human Development Index in 2016, must focus its efforts on combating hunger and malnutrition.

    In 2012, almost 30% of children under 5 suffered from chronic malnutrition and stunted growth.

    Furthermore, infant mortality remains 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.

    The maternal mortality rate stands at 172 deaths per 100,000 live births.

    Last Updated: May 17, 2018

  • Revised in December 2017, the Government’s poverty reduction and growth strategy (SCA2D) covers the 2017-2021 period and aims to make the Comoros an emerging country by 2030. To this end, a five-year investment plan for the 2016-2021 period was prepared in May 2016 and places special emphasis on infrastructure investments, including in the energy and roads sector.

    The Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) between the World Bank Group and the Comoros, adopted in 2014, rests on two priorities:

    • Strengthen public sector capacity, and
    • Promote shared growth and boost the employment rate.

    This strategy is aligned with the national development plan (SCA2D) and provides for total financing of $60 million from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank fund for the poorest countries.

    A mid-term review of the CPS launched in 2016 proposes to extend the strategy to 2018. In October 2017, the Bank initiated national consultations to prepare a Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) of the economic and social situation in the Comoros. The new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) is scheduled for 2018.

     The World Bank has developed several projects aimed at eliminating the main constraints hampering economic activity. The Bank is supporting the Electricity Sector Recovery Project (RES - $5 million) and the Regional Communications Infrastructure Project (RCIP4 - $22 million). In the fisheries sector, the World Bank is financing the Coastal Resources Co-management for Sustainable Livelihood project (CoreCSuD – $2.7 million) as well as the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared Growth Project (SWIOFish - $9.5 million). The Bank is also supporting the establishment of social safety nets ($6 million) in order to boost the revenue of the poorest communities.

    In late 2016, the World Bank approved a $2.5 million grant to strengthen the statistical system in the Comoros specifically in order to carry out the fourth Population and Housing Census and the new Household Poverty and Living Standards Survey.

    Significant progress has been made in the telecommunications sector through the Regional Communications Infrastructure Project - Phase 4 (RCIP-4) to finance the FLY-LION3 undersea cable.

    Lastly, the World Bank is providing technical assistance with economic and fiscal policies. 

    Last Updated: May 17, 2018

  • The World Bank has contributed to the recent public financial management reforms and to capacity building of public services. The technical assistance provided helped finalize the inventory of public officials whose salaries are now paid using a centralized system. The government Treasury was reorganized and recently acquired a new financial information management system.

    The World Bank Group continues to support the most vulnerable local communities in order to reduce poverty in rural areas through the Social Safety Net Project and other local development projects. This program provides financing for several activities relating to social protection and nutrition for vulnerable groups, particularly women and youth.

    Since the start of the Electricity Sector Recovery Project (RES), the business performance of the Water and Power Utility in Comoros (MA-MWE) has shown substantial improvement. In late 2017, electricity bill collection, which had been extremely weak until then, contributing to MA-MWE’s commercial losses, increased to 79% (excluding prepaid meters) or 88.7% (including prepaid meters) against 55% previously.

    As a result of the Coastal Resources Co-management for Sustainable Livelihood project (CoreCSuD), financed by the Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF), 30 pilot villages received fisheries infrastructure; 75 community works were completed; 17 coastal resource co-management agreements were signed; and capacity building was provided to fisheries management institutions. In the same sector, 31 communities benefited from micro-projects under the SWIOFish1 project.

    The World Bank Group is also supporting the provision of access to basic education. In 2014, 76% of youth aged 5 to 15 attended school against 67% in 2004, and 39% of adults had completed secondary or tertiary education, against 9% in 2004 (of whom 34% were women and 41% were men).

    Last Updated: May 17, 2018

  • Efficient donor coordination is critical to maximize development outcomes in a country with very limited capacity. The Bank works closely with the European Union (EU), France, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the various UN agencies, as well as the African Development Bank (AfDB) to harmonize donor efforts. 

    Last Updated: May 17, 2018

Api


LENDING

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

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


PHOTO GALLERY

More Photos Arrow

In Depth

Apr 19, 2018

Africa's Pulse, No. 17, April 2018

A new analysis of African economies shows the region’s growth is projected to reach 3.1% in 2018, and average 3.6% in 2019–20.

Oct 30, 2017

Monitoring Progress in Policy

IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, contributes nearly 50% of its funds to 39 African countries.

Oct 30, 2017

International Development Association (IDA) in Africa

IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, contributes nearly 50% of its funds to 39 African countries.

Oct 30, 2017

World Bank Africa Multimedia

Watch, listen and click through the latest videos, podcasts and slideshows highlighting the World Bank’s work in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Doing Business in Comoros

The Doing Business report provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement. See where your country ranks.

Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
1 Rue Andriamifidy
BP 4140
Antananarivo 101, Madagascar
+261-20-22-560-00
For general information and inquiries
Diana Styvanley
Communications Officer
+261320500127
dstyvanley@worldbank.org
For project-related issues and complaints
comorosalert@worldbank.org