The archipelago of the Comoros is in the Indian Ocean, north of the Mozambique Channel and northeast of Madagascar.
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.
Comoros was impacted by two successive shocks leading to a decline of the growth rate from 3.7 %, on average in 2017 and 2018, to 1.8% in 2019 (Cyclone Kenneth) and -0.3% in 2020 (COVID-19). Although the economy has slightly recovered in 2021 growing by 2.2%, another slowdown is projected to 1.4% for 2022. The slow recovery reflects high global inflation which has also hit Comoros despite efforts from the government to control it.
Higher public expenditures (mostly domestically financed investment) added to growing import bills and reduced diaspora remittances are leading to a growing fiscal deficit (3.7% of GDP) and current account deficit (4.8% of GDP). Moreover, the inflation rate is projected to increase significantly in 2022, while the poverty rate is expected to decrease only moderately over the next two years and return to its pre-COVID levels at 38.2% in 2023 (when measures against the poverty line for lower middle-income countries of $3.20 a day per capita in PPP terms).
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. Nearly one-fourth of the population is extremely poor, unable to buy enough food to meet the minimum nutrition requirements of 2,200 kilocalories per person per day. One-fourth of Comoros’ population lives just below the national poverty line, and 10% of the population risks falling below the national poverty line in the event of unexpected economic shocks. Comoros children can expect to complete 8.4 years of schooling by 18. 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 population) but the coverage is not yet able to meet the needs of the country. Comoros spends around 0.7% of GDP on safety nets while the average expenditure for African fragile state is 1.3% (ASPIRE, 2018). Due to the limited capacity of the social protection system, Comoros faces multiple challenges with vulnerability to economic shocks, natural disasters, and climate change.
Last Updated: Sep 28, 2022