The official name is the Union of the Comoros (Union des Comores, Union of Comores) (since December 2001).
Located on the Comoros – Ngazidzha (Grand Comore), Ndzuani (Anjouan), Mwa-li (Moheli), etc. – in the Mozambique Channel of the Indian Ocean between the island of Madagascar and East Africa. The area is 2236 km2, the population is 614.4 thousand people. (2002). The official languages are Comorian, French and Arabic. The capital is the city of Moroni (40.2 thousand people). Public holiday – Independence Day July 6 (since 1975). The monetary unit is the Comorian franc (equal to 100 centimes).
Member of the UN (since 1975), AU (since 1975), etc.
Geography of the Comoros
Comoros is located between 43° and 46° east longitude and 11° and 13° south latitude. Washed by the Indian Ocean. The Comorian archipelago is of volcanic origin, islands with a mountainous surface up to 2560 m high (the highest point of the country is the active Kartala volcano on the island of Ngazidzha). There are many active and extinct volcanoes here. Of the minerals there is volcanic tuff. The climate is tropical. The average temperature of the coldest month is +23°C, the hottest is +28°C. Precipitation falls from 1100 to 3000 mm per year. There are no permanent rivers, there are freshwater lakes in the craters of extinct volcanoes. The slopes of the volcanic massifs are covered with tropical forests, and at the foot and on the lowlands there are savannahs. There are endemic species of plants and animals (lemurs, bristly hedgehogs, large bats), many reptiles.
Population of the Comoros
According to Countryaah, the average annual population growth rate is 2.6% (2000-02). Population density 275 people. per 1 km2. Birth rate 39%, mortality 9.1%, infant mortality 82 people. per 1000 newborns. Life expectancy is 61 years (men – 59, women – 63). Sex and age structure: 0-14 years – 43% (ratio of men and women 1.01); 15-64 years old – 54% (0.97); 65 years and older – 3.0% (0.99). The ratio of men and women in the entire population is 0.99. Among the adult population, 43% are illiterate (men – 36%, women – 50%).
The majority of the population are Antalautra, or Comorians (descendants of Arabs mixed with Malagasy, immigrants from India, African peoples). Of the local languages, the Comorian language is widespread – a mixture of Swahili and Arabic.
The most common religion is Islam (98%), Catholics – 2%.
History of the Comoros
The first settlements in the Comoros arose in the 5th century. In the 8th c. The islands were settled by Arabs, in the 13th century. – Bantu tribes, in the 15th century. Persians penetrate here, in the 16th century. – Malagasy. By the time the islands were discovered by the Portuguese and Dutch, several sultanates existed here. In the 19th century Comoros became a colony of France (in 1841 the French captured the island of Mayotte (Maore), in 1886-1909 – the rest of the islands of the archipelago). In 1946 they received the status of an overseas territory of France. In 1968, internal self-government was introduced in the Comoros, and in December 1974, following a referendum, 95% of the population voted for the independence of the islands (63% of the inhabitants of Maore Island spoke in favor of maintaining the status of a French overseas territory, which in December 1976 was transformed into a “territorial unit” of the French Republic). On July 6, 1975, the independence of Comoros was proclaimed. A.A. was elected the first president of the new state on July 7. Abdereman. On August 3, 1975, as a result of a bloodless coup, Abdereman was removed from power, the government of A. Sualikhi was formed, who in January 1976 became head of state. On May 23, 1978, a military coup took place, power was again in the hands of Abdereman (in October 1978 he was elected president of Comoros and re-elected to this post in October 1984), who was killed during an attempted coup in 1989. In March 1990, the first multi-party elections were held in Comoros (since 1979 a one-party system has been operating in the country), the leader of the Ujima party, S.M. Dzhokhar, became president. The presidential council and the coalition government included representatives of the leading opposition parties. In March 1996, the leader of the National Union for Democracy, M.T., won the presidential election. Abdulkarim,
State structure and political system of the Comoros
The Union of the Comoros is a federal republic consisting of three islands: Ngazidzha (Grand Comore), Ndzua-ni (Anjouan), Mwali (Moheli). Each island has its own constitution and president. The head of the union state – the president, who is also the head of government and commander-in-chief, is elected together with two vice-presidents for 4 years by direct universal suffrage in one round. Representatives of each of the three islands will be nominated for the presidency of the country on a rotational basis. As a result of the elections on April 14, 2002, the representative of the island of Ngazidzha (Grand Comore) A. Assoumani became the first president of the Union of the Comoros. The legislative body is a unicameral parliament – the Assembly of the Union, consisting of 33 deputies elected for 5 years (6 representatives are allocated by the Assembly of each island, 18 – elected by direct universal suffrage in two rounds). Executive power belongs to the president. He heads the government, which includes representatives of the three islands.
Each island is an independent administrative unit, in addition, there are 4 municipalities – the cities of Moroni, Mutsamudu (25.4 thousand people), Domoni (14 thousand people), Fomboni (12.2 thousand people).
Approx. 30 political parties and associations. The most significant are the Movement for Democracy and Progress (founded in 1999), the Movement for Renewal and Democratic Action (1990), the National Association for Development (1996), the Forum for National Revival (1994), the Republican Party of Comoros (1998), the National Front for justice. Professional associations are represented by the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Workers of the Comoros, founded in 1996.
The armed forces – the Comoros Defense Forces – number approx. 1.5 thousand military personnel.
The Union of the Comoros has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR on January 6, 1976).
Economy of the Comoros
The Union of the Comoros is one of the poorest countries in the world. The government faces the tasks of raising the educational level of the population, solving acute demographic problems (decrease in the birth rate), implementing privatization programs in trade and industry, improving the healthcare system, diversifying exports and stimulating tourism development.
GDP $220.6 million or $380 per capita (2001). GDP growth in 2000 -1.1%, in 2001 1.9%. 40% of GDP was formed in agriculture, 4% – in industry, 56% – in the service sector. More than 80% of the economically active population is employed in agriculture. Agriculture does not provide domestic food needs, and the country is forced to import food, in particular rice, the main food crop and the main import of the Union of the Comoros. The deficit in grain crops reaches 46 thousand tons.
The basis of the economy is export-oriented agriculture: the production (average annual harvest in 2000-02) of essential oil crops (including the essence of ylang-ylang – 50 tons), vanilla (625 tons), cloves (1500 tons). For domestic consumption, cassava (50,000 tons), sweet potato, yams (15,000 tons), bananas, rice (17,000 tons), sugarcane, and coffee are grown. Animal husbandry has been developed: cattle (50 thousand heads), sheep (15 thousand) and goats (128 thousand). The fish catch is 13 thousand tons. Timber is being harvested. Industry is represented by enterprises processing agricultural raw materials.
There are no railroads. The length of roads is 880 km, incl. 673 km paved. There are 3 seaports and 4 airports.
Foreign trade turnover (2001, million US dollars) 80.2: export 35.3, import 44.9. Vanilla, ylang-ylang, cloves, perfume oils, copra are exported. The main export trading partners are France (46%), USA (18%), Singapore (18%), Germany (9%). Food products (rice in large volumes), consumer goods, oil products, cement, vehicles are imported. Main import partners: France (34%), South Africa (14%), Kenya (7%), Pakistan (4%).
The Union of the Comoros is part of the French franc zone. The state budget and the balance of payments are in deficit. External debt 177.1 million US dollars, deductions for its repayment of 3.6% of the country’s export earnings (2002).
Compulsory 9-year education for children aged 7 to 16 has been introduced. By 2000, up to 70% of children in the corresponding age group were enrolled in primary education. There are no higher education institutions in the country.