The Comoros

Basic Data

The Comoros

Official Country Name: Islamic Federal Republic of the Comoros
Region (Map name): Africa
Population: 578,400
Language(s): Arabic, French, Comoran
Literacy rate: 57.3%

The archipelago La République Fédérale Islamique des Comores (Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros) is situated off the east African coast, between Mozambique and Madagascar. It is composed of three main islands (Grande Comore or Njazidja, Mohéli or Mwali, and Anjouan or Nzwani) and a number of islets. The capital, Moroni, is located on the west side of Grande Comore. The population in 2000 was about 670,000, and was 98 percent Sunni Muslim, the other 2 percent being Roman Catholic. The official languages are Arabic, and French, and Comoran, a mixture of Arabic and Swahili, is also spoken.

Comoros gained its political independence from France in 1975, save for Mayotte in the southeast, which is still French-dominated. Political instability reigns: 19 coups d'états have occurred since it became in independent nation. In 1999, the military chief Colonel Azali seized power, and within the Fomboni accord, he vowed to calm the severe political instability, and pursue socioeconomic development for this divided and profoundly impoverished nation. The human development index (HDI) in 2000 was at a very low ranking of 139. GNP per capita was at $400, life expectancy was 59 years, literacy at 55 percent, and deaths at 65 per 1,000.

As of the early twenty-first century, there were no daily newspapers in Comoros, and the press circulation was at a 1 in 1000 ratio. There were two weekly newspapers, the state-owned Al Watany (The National) and the independent l'Archipel (The Archipelago). There existed only one state-dominated radio system with a few independent services, and no television service was available, though France has promised to finance the islands' first TV station. There is no media liberalization or autonomy, notably in the wake of the bloody 1997 separatists attacks on Anjouan and the May 1998 police brutal seizure of an independent radio station that was critical of the State.


Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "The Comoros," World Fact Book 2001. Available from .

Samuel Sarri

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