|Union des Comores
|Form of government
||Islamic Federal Republic
|Telephone area code
The federal state with the official name "Union des
Comores / Union der Comoren" consists of three of the
four main islands of the Comoros archipelago and lies
between the eastern coast of the African continent (
Mozambique, distance approx. 300 km) and the island of
Madagascar(distance approx. 400 km). The fourth main
island of the archipelago, Mayotte (Maor®¶), is a French
overseas territory. The territory of the Union of the
Comoros covers 1,862 km².
Njazidja (Grande Comore) is the largest of the three
islands with an area of 1,146 km², followed by Nzwami
(Anjouan) with 424 km² and Mwali (Moh®¶li) with 290 km².
All islands are of volcanic origin and are characterized
by mountains. In addition to deeply furrowed slopes,
plateaus and hilly landscapes are characteristic. The
highest point in the Comoros is the still active Kartala
volcano on the island of Njazidja, which is 2,361 m high
and erupted for the last time in 1977. There are no
active volcanoes on the geologically oldest island of
Mwali, here erosion has removed the mountain peaks to
heights of a few hundred meters. The most fertile and
densely populated island is Nzwami with a multitude of
bodies of water (such as the crater lake Lac Sal®¶) and
plateaus, which are crossed by deeply cut valleys.
The coastal strips on all three islands are mostly
narrow, the coasts themselves mostly rocky and
surrounded by coral reefs. The capital of the Comoros
Union, Moroni , is located on the island of Nyazidja.
The Comoros has a tropical climate with only slight
temperature fluctuations all year round. In the cooler
season (May to September) the average values are
around 25 °„ C, the hottest months are February and March
with temperatures above 30 °„ C on average. Much of the
precipitation falls in the months of November to April
(northwest monsoon), sometimes in the form of heavy
cloudbursts. The amount of precipitation varies from
region to region and is between 1,000 mm and 4,000 mm
annually. Cyclones often occur in the hot months.
Flora and fauna
The Comoros Islands were originally covered by
tropical rainforest, but today only in the inaccessible
regions of the mountains there are remnants. A large
part of the areas today are characterized by savannas
and plantations. Mangroves grow on the coasts.
There is not much biodiversity in the Comoros
wildlife, but there are some rare and endemic animals.
In addition to some species of birds and turtles, these
include Mongozmaki, which belongs to the semi-monkeys,
and the Great Tanrek, a hedgehog-like animal. The
coastal waters with the coral reefs have a very large
number of aquatic animals. In 1938, the coelacanth,
which was long considered extinct, was rediscovered, a
predator fish of around 1.5 m in length.
Around 671,000 people live on the three main islands
of the Comoros, each with extensive autonomy. The island
of Nzwami (Anjouan) is the most densely populated.
41,700 residents live in the capital Moroni on Njazidja,
other cities include Mutsamudu on the island of Nzwami
(21,500) and Fomboni on the island of Mwali (13,000).
The Comoros are descendants of immigrants from India,
Africa, Arabia and Indonesia. In general, the
Arabic-Islamic influences are greater on the islands of
Njazidja and Nzwami, while those from Madagascar and
Africa are more decisive on Mwali. The largest ethnic
groups are the Antalote, Makoa and Sakalava. Almost all
Comorans are Sunni Muslims (almost 98%) and use Comorian
(Shikomoro, a form of Kiswahili) as the colloquial
language. The official languages are Arabic and
French. With just under 2% of the total population,
Christians are a religious minority.
The Comoros Union is one of the poorest countries in
the world. Social and health systems are poorly
developed. Child mortality is 7.5%, around 43% of the
population are younger than 14 years. According to COUNTRYAAH,
the average life
expectancy is 62 years. Population growth is 2.2%.
Children are required to attend school for eight years,
including two years of Koran school. Nevertheless, the
literacy rate is very low at 57%.
The Comoros Union is an Islamic Federal Republic;
their legal system is based on the Islamic Sharia and
the French system. The Union consists of three islands
based on the 2001 constitution. Each individual island
has extensive autonomy rights, has its own parliament
and elects a governor.
The head of state of the Union of the Comoros is also
head of government (Ikililou Dhoinine since May 2011)
and is alternately elected by each of the three islands
every five years. He appoints the ministers.
33 members sit in the Parliament, the Union Assembly
(Assembl®¶e de l'Union). Nine of them are sent by the
individual island assemblies, 24 by general election.
The term of office is five years.
As one of the poorest countries in the world, the
Union of the Comoros is highly dependent on foreign
financial and development aid. The main problems of the
economy include the lack of raw materials, the rapid
growth of the population, their low level of education
and high unemployment. Almost half of the population
lives below the poverty line.
The most important industry is agriculture, which
contributes around 45% to gross domestic product (GDP)
and employs 80% of the workforce. Maize, potatoes,
cassava, bananas and rice are mainly grown for the
people's own needs. Food must be imported. The most
important export items are vanilla, cocoa, copra,
cloves, pepper and ylang-ylang, from which the base
material for perfume is obtained. The export items are
mainly grown on plantations that are in the hands of
The industry is poorly developed with only 4%. Small
businesses process food or produce soap and essential
oils. Despite several initiatives, tourism plays a
subordinate role for the Comoros economy.
The most important trading partner for export and
import (food, petroleum products, machinery, chemical
products) is France; In addition, imports are primarily
from South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, mainly
exported to the United States and Singapore.
The road network covers a total of around 880 km, of
which around 670 km are paved. The individual islands
are connected by flights and shipping lines. There is an
international airport on the island of Njazidja.
The currency is the Comorian franc.