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Comoros (2008)

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Comoros 2008 year

Administrative divisions 3 islands and 4 municipalities*; Grande Comore, Anjouan, Domoni*, Fomboni*, Moheli, Moroni*, Mutsamudu*
Age structure 0-14 years: 42.6% (male 151,920/female 150,851)

15-64 years: 54.4% (male 191,096/female 196,120)

65 years and over: 3% (male 9,933/female 11,497) (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products vanilla, cloves, ylang-ylang, perfume essences, copra, coconuts, bananas, cassava (tapioca)
Airports 4 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways total: 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2007)
Area total: 2,170 sq km

land: 2,170 sq km

water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative slightly more than 12 times the size of Washington, DC
Background Comoros has endured 19 coups or attempted coups since gaining independence from France in 1975. In 1997, the islands of Anjouan and Moheli declared independence from Comoros. In 1999, military chief Col. AZALI seized power in a bloodless coup, and helped negotiate the 2000 Fomboni Accords power-sharing agreement in which the federal presidency rotates among the three islands, and each island maintains its own local government. AZALI won the 2002 Presidential election, and each island in the archipelago elected its own president. AZALI stepped down in 2006 and President SAMBI took office. Since 2006, Anjouan's President Mohamed BACAR has refused to work effectively with the Union presidency. This year BACAR effected Anjouan's de-facto secession from the Union, refusing to step down in favor of fresh Anjouanais elections when Comoros' other islands held legitimate elections in July. The African Union (AU) has stepped in to assist in resolving the political crisis, including applying sanctions and a naval blockade on Anjouan, but the situation remains at an impasse.
Birth rate 36.35 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Budget revenues: $27.6 million

expenditures: $NA (2001 est.)
Capital name: Moroni

geographic coordinates: 11 42 S, 43 14 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Climate tropical marine; rainy season (November to May)
Coastline 340 km
Constitution 23 December 2001
Country name conventional long form: Union of the Comoros

conventional short form: Comoros

local long form: Union des Comores

local short form: Comores
Death rate 7.95 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Debt - external $232 million (2000 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US the US does not have an embassy in Comoros; the ambassador to Madagascar is accredited to Comoros
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Representative to the US and Ambassador to the UN Mohamed TOIHIRI

chancery: Mission to the US, 336 East 45th Street (2nd floor), New York, NY 10017

telephone: [1] (212) 750-1637
Disputes - international claims French-administered Mayotte
Economic aid - recipient $25.23 million (2005 est.)
Economy - overview One of the world's poorest countries, Comoros is made up of three islands that have inadequate transportation links, a young and rapidly increasing population, and few natural resources. The low educational level of the labor force contributes to a subsistence level of economic activity, high unemployment, and a heavy dependence on foreign grants and technical assistance. Agriculture, including fishing, hunting, and forestry, contributes 40% to GDP, employs 80% of the labor force, and provides most of the exports. The country is not self-sufficient in food production; rice, the main staple, accounts for the bulk of imports. The government - which is hampered by internal political disputes - is struggling to upgrade education and technical training, privatize commercial and industrial enterprises, improve health services, diversify exports, promote tourism, and reduce the high population growth rate. The political problems caused the economy to contract in 2007. Remittances from 150,000 Comorans abroad help supplement GDP.
Electricity - consumption 18.6 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - production 20 million kWh (2005)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

highest point: Le Kartala 2,360 m
Environment - current issues soil degradation and erosion results from crop cultivation on slopes without proper terracing; deforestation
Environment - international agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Ethnic groups Antalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava
Exchange rates Comoran francs (KMF) per US dollar - NA (2007), 392.03 (2006), 395.6 (2005), 396.21 (2004), 435.9 (2003)

note: the Comoran franc is pegged to the euro at a rate of 491.9677 Comoran francs per euro
Executive branch chief of state: President Ahmed Abdallah SAMBI (since 26 May 2006)

head of government: President Ahmed Abdallah SAMBI (since 26 May 2006)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections: as defined by the 2001 constitution, the presidency rotates every four years among the elected presidents from the three main islands in the Union; election last held 14 May 2006 (next to be held by May 2010); prime minister appointed by the president; note - the post of prime minister has been vacant since May 2002

election results: Ahmed Abdallah SAMBI elected president; percent of vote - Ahmed Abdallah SAMBI 58.0%, Ibrahim HALIDI 28.3%, Mohamed DJAANFAMI 13.7%
Exports 0 kWh (2005)
Exports $32 million f.o.b. (2006)
Exports 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Exports 0 bbl/day (2004)
Exports - commodities vanilla, ylang-ylang (perfume essence), cloves, copra
Exports - partners Netherlands 35.8%, France 18.3%, Italy 12.8%, Singapore 7.8%, Turkey 5%, US 4.6% (2006)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag description four equal horizontal bands of yellow (top), white, red, and blue with a green isosceles triangle based on the hoist; centered within the triangle is a white crescent with the convex side facing the hoist and four white, five-pointed stars placed vertically in a line between the points of the crescent; the horizontal bands and the four stars represent the four main islands of the archipelago - Mwali, Njazidja, Nzwani, and Mahore (Mayotte - territorial collectivity of France, but claimed by Comoros)

note: the crescent, stars, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 40%

industry: 4%

services: 56% (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate -1% (2007 est.)
Geographic coordinates 12 10 S, 44 15 E
Geography - note important location at northern end of Mozambique Channel
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%
Imports 0 kWh (2005)
Imports $143 million f.o.b. (2006)
Imports 0 cu m (2005)
Imports 709.1 bbl/day (2004)
Imports - commodities rice and other foodstuffs, consumer goods, petroleum products, cement, transport equipment
Imports - partners France 24.8%, UAE 9.9%, South Africa 6.4%, Pakistan 6.3%, Kenya 5%, China 4.8%, India 4.4%, Italy 4.2% (2006)
Independence 6 July 1975 (from France)
Industrial production growth rate -2% (1999 est.)
Industries fishing, tourism, perfume distillation
Infant mortality rate total: 70.66 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 78.86 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 62.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 3% (2005 est.)
International organization participation ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AMF, AU, COMESA, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Irrigated land NA
Judicial branch Supreme Court or Cour Supremes (two members appointed by the president, two members elected by the Federal Assembly, one elected by the Council of each island, and others are former presidents of the republic)
Labor force 144,500 (1996 est.)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture: 80%

industry and services: 20% (1996 est.)
Land boundaries 0 km
Land use arable land: 35.87%

permanent crops: 23.32%

other: 40.81% (2005)
Languages Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic)
Legal system French and Islamic law in a new consolidated code
Legislative branch unicameral Assembly of the Union (33 seats; 15 deputies are selected by the individual islands' local assemblies and 18 by universal suffrage; to serve for five years);

elections: last held 18 and 25 April 2004 (next to be held in 2009)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CdIA 12, CRC 6; note - 15 additional seats are filled by deputies from local island assemblies
Life expectancy at birth total population: 62.73 years

male: 60.37 years

female: 65.15 years (2007 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 56.5%

male: 63.6%

female: 49.3% (2003 est.)
Location Southern Africa, group of islands at the northern mouth of the Mozambique Channel, about two-thirds of the way between northern Madagascar and northern Mozambique
Map references Africa
Maritime claims territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Merchant marine total: 144 ships (1000 GRT or over) 657,755 GRT/954,498 DWT

by type: bulk carrier 11, cargo 101, chemical tanker 3, container 1, livestock carrier 4, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 9, refrigerated cargo 6, roll on/roll off 6, specialized tanker 1

foreign-owned: 70 (Bangladesh 1, Bulgaria 1, Cyprus 1, Greece 8, India 2, Kenya 1, Kuwait 1, Lebanon 5, Norway 1, Pakistan 2, Philippines 1, Russia 9, Saudi Arabia 1, Syria 8, Turkey 8, Ukraine 13, UAE 5, US 2) (2007)
Military branches National Development Army (AND): Comoran Security Force; Comoran Federal Police (2007)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 2.8% (2006)
National holiday Independence Day, 6 July (1975)
Nationality noun: Comoran(s)

adjective: Comoran
Natural hazards cyclones possible during rainy season (December to April); Le Kartala on Grand Comore is an active volcano
Natural resources NEGL
Net migration rate 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Political parties and leaders Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros or CRC [AZALI Assowmani]; Camp of the Autonomous Islands or CdIA (a coalition of parties organized by the islands' presidents in opposition to the Union President); Front National pour la Justice or FNJ [Ahmed RACHID] (Islamic party in opposition); Mouvement pour la Democratie et le Progress or MDP-NGDC [Abbas DJOUSSOUF]; Parti Comorien pour la Democratie et le Progress or PCDP [Ali MROUDJAE]; Rassemblement National pour le Development or RND [Omar TAMOU, Abdoulhamid AFFRAITANE]
Political pressure groups and leaders NA
Population 711,417 (July 2007 est.)
Population below poverty line 60% (2002 est.)
Population growth rate 2.84% (2007 est.)
Radio broadcast stations AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)
Religions Sunni Muslim 98%, Roman Catholic 2%
Sex ratio at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.007 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.974 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.864 male(s)/female

total population: 0.985 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: sparse system of microwave radio relay and HF radiotelephone communication stations; fixed-line connections only about 2 per 100 persons; mobile cellular usage about 2 per 100 persons

domestic: HF radiotelephone communications and microwave radio relay

international: country code - 269; HF radiotelephone communications to Madagascar and Reunion
Telephones - main lines in use 16,900 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular 16,100 (2005)
Television broadcast stations NA
Terrain volcanic islands, interiors vary from steep mountains to low hills
Total fertility rate 4.97 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate 20% (1996 est.)
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