Learn how the World Bank Group is helping countries with COVID-19 (coronavirus). Find Out

Skip to Main Navigation

Overview

  • The archipelago of the Comoros is located in the Indian Ocean, north of the Mozambique Channel and northeast of Madagascar. 

    Political Context 

    Absent from the political scene since 2006, Azali Assoumani came back and won the presidential elections in 2016. His government introduced a series of fiscal and structural reforms. The national congress, convened in February 2018 to review 42 years of independence and the Presidential Rotation system among the islands, recommended an overhaul of the system of a rotating presidency. Assoumani’s mandate was renewed in 2019 after the yes vote in the July 2018-referendum on constitutional reform that expands the power of the presidency.  

    Economic Overview 

    While the spread of the virus in the Comoros seems to be contained so far, economic activity has strongly slowed. Prior to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the Comoros was still recovering from Cyclone Kenneth (April 2019), with gross domestic product (GDP) growth having fallen to 1.9% in 2019 as a result, from 3.6% in 2018. The pandemic will likely offset the positive impacts from reconstruction efforts after the cyclone, with real GDP growth expected to contract sharply to -1.4% in 2020 (compared to a pre-COVID-19 forecast of 4.4%). 

    The COVID-19 health crisis is impacting Comoros’ economy through various channels. The slowdown of economic activity due to social distancing measures and the disruption of trade and tourism caused by the pandemic constitutes a threat for Comoros’ trade and tourism-related sectors. The expected drop of remittances from the diaspora would substantially reduce households’ income, especially the poorer ones. Revenues from trade, which represent the bulk of the government’s domestic resources, will decrease significantly raising the fiscal deficit. 

    The fiscal and external financing gaps that COVID-19 pandemic will create are expected to be covered primarily by donor assistance, given still limited borrowing possibilities, with public debt sustainability remaining at moderate levels despite the shock. However, the Comoros’ recovery is subject to several vulnerabilities. The current fragile situation of the SNPSF, a money transfer service, could take a sudden turn for the worse and seriously jeopardize financial stability. The possible deterioration of the financial health of state-owned enterprises such as  Comoros Telecom could aggravate the fiscal stance. Notwithstanding, the full economic consequences of COVID-19 are still unclear and subject to high uncertainty around the spread of the disease domestically, as well as overseas. 

    Social Context 

    The Comoros is densely populated, with approximately 465 inhabitants per km2, and more than half of the population (53%) is under the age of 20.  

    High population density places intense pressure on natural resources and the environment. Due to its location and topography Comoros is among the most climate vulnerable countries in the world, and 54.2 percent of the population live in at-risk areas. 

    Nearly one fourth of the population is extremely poor, unable to buy enough food to meet the minimum nutritional requirements of 2,200 kilocalories per person per day. One-fourth of the country’s poor citizens currently live just below the national poverty line, and could move out of poverty if their consumption level increased by around KMF 167 per capita (or $0.37) per day. However, about 10% of the population is at risk of falling below the national poverty line in the event of unexpected economic shocks. 

    While the Comoros compares reasonably well with lower middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the country’s Human Capital Index—at 0.41—lags behind the global average for lower-middle income countries. Children in the Comoros can expect to complete 8.4 years of schooling by age 18. Girls receive significantly less education than boys, and the rate of adolescent pregnancies is two to three-times that of aspirational peer countries. Chronic malnutrition leads to 31 out of 100 children growing up stunted, which aggravates existing inequalities in the country.  

    Last Updated: Aug 31, 2020

  • The World Bank Group’s engagement in the Comoros is guided by the Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for 2020-2024. Developed in consultation with the government, civil society, private sector, women and youth associations and representatives from across the islands, the CPF aims to support the country’s efforts to build resilience, strengthen human capital and foster inclusive growth, as well as address the urgent need arising from the impacts of COVID-19 and Cyclone Kenneth.

    Fully aligned to the Plan for Emerging Comoros, a medium-term strategy to cover the period 2020-2030, the CPF’s four objectives reflect also the recommendations drawn from the Comoros Systematic Country Diagnostic

    • Build Human Capital

    • Strengthen disaster recovery and resilience 

    • Improve business environment and governance

    • Improve connectivity 

    This engagement will help the country achieve some ambitious goals such as increasing the quality of the Comorian health system, reducing chronic malnutrition rate, improving the Comoros Doing Business Index, increasing the access rate to energy and promoting Comoros connectivity.    

    To achieve these outcomes, the World Bank will invest $247 million in Comoros over a five-year period. 

    Last Updated: Aug 31, 2020

  • As of July 1, 2020, the World Bank is financing 10 projects in Comoros to the tune of $233 million in the areas of health, social protection, telecommunications, disaster recovery, fisheries, energy, financial inclusion and statistical capacity building.  

    The World Bank has contributed to the response plans to recent crises in the Comoros. First, the Bank supports the plan to help and fast track the country’s recovery from the cyclone Kenneth (April 2019) as well as the effort to strengthen the country climate resilience.  

    Through the Comoros Post-Kenneth Recovery and Resilience Project, the Bank supports the development and implementation of a national housing reconstruction program for the most vulnerable cyclone-affected households, and the reconstruction of 1,000 houses across the three islands. Additional financing to the Comoros Social Safety Net Project is targeting 243,300 beneficiaries who will directly benefit from program aimed at increasing the resilience of communities against cyclones and natural disasters.  

    Second, the Bank, supports the Comoros national health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program consists of procuring specific COVID-19 equipment. In addition, more than 21,000 poor and vulnerable households will receive unconditional cash transfer for a period of three months from the Safety Net Project. An Emergency DPO for FY21 will support the government’s relief response and building resilience post-COVID-19. 

    Significant progress was made in the telecommunications sector through the RCIP-4 Project, which is financing the FLY-LION3 submarine cable. Since the launch of the project, the number of mobile telephone users has more than doubled (in relation to the numbers on record at the start of the project), the telecommunications sector has, for the first time, seen rapid private sector-led growth, and the outlook for foreign direct investment (FDI) has improved. The RCIP4 Project received additional financing of $10 million in October 2018 for the development of on-line government services (e-Government). The project helped support the issuance of a second license, facilitating the market entry of Telma in 2016, which introduced competition, and has helped dramatically drive down prices for ICT services and facilitated the introduction of new services such as mobile money.  

    The entry of Telma has helped increase investment in national infrastructure, expanding network coverage nationally. Full interconnection has been effective since February 2020 between telecom operators. The project has now largely exhausted the intervention options available to support further reform of under-performing state-owned enterprises in the telecoms sector that continues to hamper sector development. Comores Cable (the wholesale operator / SPV) has now operationalized its new business plan, supported by technical assistance provided. The new FLY-Lion 3 cable has now been commercialized, with funding from the project and from other commercial operations in the region. The new landing station is completed. Work focused on supporting an enabling strategic, institutional, and legal environment for e-government is now largely complete.  

    Through the regional the SWIOFish1Project, the new fishery law was adopted. Notable results toward the completion process of the construction of fishery infrastructure at community levels are observed. The massive motorized boat registration phase began in July 2019 with more than 1,226 motorized boats registered now.  

    In 2018, the Comoros Statistics Project culminated with the success of the fourth General Census on Population and Housing (RGPH). Under a technical support from the World Bank, the National institute of Economic and Demographic Studies (INSEED) has produced and disseminated a statistical yearbook that presents the detailed census results. The census which is the main activity is quite completed. Progress is also noted on the prices and data. INSEED produces and disseminates timely the monthly prices data. The price data are collected regularly and INSEED produces and disseminates monthly reports and thematical reports. Concerning the national accounts, the action plan agreed with AFRITAC/IMF is being implemented with no big difficulties. The household survey has covered so far 38% of the overall sample corresponding to a delay of 23%.

    Last Updated: Aug 31, 2020

  • Good coordination among donors is essential to maximize development outcomes in a country with very limited capacity. The World Bank is working in close cooperation with France, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the various UN agencies, and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to harmonize donor efforts. 

    Last Updated: Aug 31, 2020

Api


LENDING

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

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


PHOTO GALLERY

More Photos Arrow

In Depth

Coronavirus Sparks Recession

The latest economic analysis for the region predicts the pandemic could cost as much as $79 billion in output losses for 2020.

Monitoring Progress in Policy

The CPIA for Africa is an annual diagnostic tool which measures the quality of policies and institutional frameworks.

Human Capital in Africa

Human capital, the total of a country’s potential, is a primary factor in spurring economic growth and enhancing competitiveness.

IDA in Africa

With IDA’s help, hundreds of millions of people have escaped poverty—through the creation of jobs, access to clean water, schools, roads, nutrition, electricity, and more.

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

World Bank Office
United Nations Compound
Moroni
Comoros
PO Box 648
+261-20-22-560-00
For general information and inquiries
Diana Styvanley
External Affairs Officer
+261320500127
dstyvanley@worldbank.org
For project-related issues and complaints
comorosalert@worldbank.org