Comoros

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of Comoros
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Location of Comoros
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Map of Comoros
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Introduction

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Comoros has endured more than 20 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 was elected to office. In 2007, Mohamed 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) initially attempted to resolve the political crisis by applying sanctions and a naval blockade on Anjouan, but in March 2008, AU and Comoran soldiers seized the island. The move was generally welcomed by the island's inhabitants.
 
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Geography

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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
 
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12 10 S, 44 15 E
 
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total: 2,235 sq km
country comparison to the world: 180
land: 2,235 sq km
water: 0 sq km
 
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slightly more than 12 times the size of Washington, DC
 
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0 km
 
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340 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
 
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tropical marine; rainy season (November to May)
 
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volcanic islands, interiors vary from steep mountains to low hills
 
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lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Karthala 2,360 m
 
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NEGL
 
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arable land: 35.87%
permanent crops: 23.32%
other: 40.81% (2005)
 
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NA
 
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1.2 cu km (2003)
 
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total: 0.01 cu km/yr (48%/5%/47%)
per capita: 13 cu m/yr (1999)
 
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cyclones possible during rainy season (December to April); volcanic activity on Grand Comore
volcanism: Karthala (elev. 2,361 m) on Grand Comore Island last erupted in 2007; a 2005 eruption forced thousands of people to be evacuated and produced a large ash cloud
 
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soil degradation and erosion results from crop cultivation on slopes without proper terracing; deforestation
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
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important location at northern end of Mozambique Channel
 
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People and Society

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noun: Comoran(s)
adjective: Comoran
 
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Antalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava
 
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Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic)
 
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Sunni Muslim 98%, Roman Catholic 2%
 
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794,683 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
 
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0-14 years: 41.6% (male 166,141/female 164,788)
15-64 years: 55.3% (male 217,046/female 222,093)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 11,053/female 13,562) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 19 years
male: 18.7 years
female: 19.3 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.696% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
 
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34.19 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
 
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7.23 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
 
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0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
 
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urban population: 28% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 2.8% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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MORONI (capital) 49,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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340 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 43
 
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total: 62.63 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 28
male: 70.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 54.73 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 64.2 years
country comparison to the world: 172
male: 61.76 years
female: 66.72 years (2011 est.)
 
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4.72 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
 
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3.4% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 173
 
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0.15 physicians/1,000 population (2004)
country comparison to the world: 157
 
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2.2 beds/1,000 population (2006)
country comparison to the world: 93
 
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improved:
urban: 91% of population
rural: 97% of population
total: 95% of population
unimproved:
urban: 9% of population
rural: 3% of population
total: 5% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 50% of population
rural: 30% of population
total: 36% of population
unimproved:
urban: 50% of population
rural: 70% of population
total: 64% of population (2008)
 
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0.1% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
 
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fewer than 500 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
 
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fewer than 100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
 
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25% (2000)
country comparison to the world: 26
 
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7.6% of GDP (2008)
country comparison to the world: 13
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 56.5%
male: 63.6%
female: 49.3% (2003 est.)
 
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total: 11 years
male: 12 years
female: 10 years (2005)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Union of the Comoros
conventional short form: Comoros
local long form: Udzima wa Komori (Comorian); Union des Comores (French); Jumhuriyat al Qamar al Muttahidah (Arabic)
local short form: Komori (Comorian); Comores (French); Juzur al Qamar (Arabic)
 
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republic
 
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name: Moroni
geographic coordinates: 11 42 S, 43 14 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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3 islands and 4 municipalities*; Grande Comore (N'gazidja), Anjouan (Ndzuwani), Domoni*, Fomboni*, Moheli (Mwali), Moroni*, Moutsamoudou*
 
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6 July 1975 (from France)
 
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Independence Day, 6 July (1975)
 
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23 December 2001
 
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mixed legal system of Islamic religious law, the French civil code of 1975, and customary law
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: President Ikililou DHOININE (since 26 May 2011)
head of government: President Ikililou DHOININE (since 26 May 2011)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
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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 on 7 November and 26 December 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
election results: Ikililou DHOININE elected president; percent of vote - Ikililou DHOININE 61.1%, Mohamed Said FAZUL 32.7%, Abdou DJABIR 6.2%
 
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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 on 6 and 20 December 2009 (next to be held in 2014)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - pro-union coalition 19, autonomous coalition 4, independents 1; note - 9 additional seats are filled by deputies from local island assemblies
 
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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)
 
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Camp of the Autonomous Islands or CdIA (a coalition of parties organized by the islands' presidents in opposition to the Union President); Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros or CRC [AZALI Assowmani]; 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]
 
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other: environmentalists
 
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ACP, AfDB, AMF, AOSIS, AU, COMESA, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Mohamed TOIHIRI; note - also serves Permanent Representative to the UN
chancery: Mission to the US, 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 418, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 750-1637
 
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the US does not have an embassy in Comoros; the ambassador to Madagascar is accredited to Comoros
 
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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, N'gazidja, Nzwani, and Mahore (Mayotte - territorial collectivity of France, but claimed by Comoros)
note: the crescent, stars, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam
 
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four stars and crescent
 
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name: "Udzima wa ya Masiwa" (The Union of the Great Islands)
lyrics/music: Said Hachim SIDI ABDEREMANE/Said Hachim SIDI ABDEREMANE and Kamildine ABDALLAH
note: adopted 1978
 
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Economy

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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. Export income is heavily reliant on the three main crops of vanilla, cloves, and ylang-ylang and Comoros' export earnings are easily disrupted by disasters such as fires. 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 - lacks a comprehensive strategy to attract foreign investment and 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. Political problems have inhibited growth, which has averaged only about 1% in 2006-09. Remittances from 150,000 Comorans abroad help supplement GDP. In September 2009 the IMF approved Comoros for a three-year $21 million loan. The IMF gave generally positive reports of the country's program performance as of October 2010. The African Development Bank approved a $34.6 million debt-relief package loan for Comoros in September 2010, and Comoros will attempt to qualify for debt relief in 2012 under the IMF and World Bank's Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.
 
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$800 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
$783.4 million (2009 est.)
$769.2 million (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$534 million (2010 est.)
 
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2.1% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
1.8% (2009 est.)
1% (2008 est.)
 
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$1,000 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 211
$1,000 (2009 est.)
$1,100 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 41.8%
industry: 8.6%
services: 49.6% (2010 est.)
 
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268,500 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
 
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agriculture: 80%
industry and services: 20% (1996 est.)
 
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20% (1996 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
 
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60% (2002 est.)
 
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lowest 10%: 0.9%
highest 10%: 55.2% (2004)
 
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10.9% of GDP (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183
 
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revenues: $118.2 million
expenditures: $NA (2010 est.)
 
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22.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
 
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-1.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
 
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2.7% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
4.8% (2009 est.)
 
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1.93% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
2.21% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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10.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
10.5% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$115.8 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181
$104.7 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$186.7 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
$168.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$120.6 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183
$108.8 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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vanilla, cloves, ylang-ylang (perfume essence), copra, coconuts, bananas, cassava (tapioca)
 
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fishing, tourism, perfume distillation
 
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NA%
 
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52 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203
 
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48.36 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
 
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1,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
 
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967 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
 
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-$45.1 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
-$46.54 million (2009 est.)
 
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$12.8 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
$11.94 million (2009 est.)
 
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vanilla, ylang-ylang (perfume essence), cloves, copra
 
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France 25.2%, Singapore 21.5%, Turkey 11.5%, Saudi Arabia 7.4%, US 7.2%, Netherlands 7%, Germany 4.6% (2010)
 
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$188.8 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 204
$169.6 million (2009 est.)
 
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rice and other foodstuffs, consumer goods, petroleum products, cement, transport equipment
 
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France 15.6%, Pakistan 15.5%, UAE 9.5%, China 6.9%, India 5.7%, Kenya 5.3%, Spain 4.5% (2010)
 
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$146.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
$150.9 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$279.3 million (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
$279.3 million (2000 est.)
 
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Comoran francs (KMF) per US dollar -
361.4 (2007)
391.8 (2006)
395.6 (2005)
396.21 (2004)
435.9 (2003)
 
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Communications

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21,000 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 191
 
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165,300 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 182
 
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general assessment: sparse system of microwave radio relay and HF radiotelephone communication stations
domestic: fixed-line connections only about 3 per 100 persons; mobile cellular usage about 15 per 100 persons
international: country code - 269; HF radiotelephone communications to Madagascar and Reunion
 
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national state-owned TV station and a TV station run by Anjouan regional government; national state-owned radio; regional governments on the islands of Grande Comore and Anjouan each operate a radio station; a few independent and small community radio stations operate on the islands of Grande Comore and Moheli, and these two islands have access to Mayotte Radio and French TV (2007)
 
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.km
 
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14 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 221
 
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24,300 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 187
 
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Transportation

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4 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 190
 
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total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2010)
 
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total: 880 km
country comparison to the world: 185
paved: 673 km
unpaved: 207 km (2002)
 
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total: 177
country comparison to the world: 37
by type: bulk carrier 19, cargo 102, carrier 5, chemical tanker 6, container 2, passenger 3, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 15, refrigerated cargo 12, roll on/roll off 12
foreign-owned: 98 (Bangladesh 1, Bulgaria 8, China 1, Cyprus 2, Greece 3, Kenya 1, Kuwait 1, Latvia 1, Lebanon 3, Lithuania 3, Monaco 1, Nigeria 1, Norway 2, Pakistan 3, Russia 21, Syria 6, Turkey 16, UAE 11, UK 1, Ukraine 10, US 2) (2010)
 
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Mayotte, Mutsamudu
 
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Military

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Army of National Development (AND): Comoran Security Force (also called Comoran Defense Force (Force Comorieene de Defense FCD, includes Gendarmarie)), Comoran Coast Guard, Comoran Federal Police (2011)
 
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18 years of age for 2-year voluntary military service; no conscription; women first inducted into the Army in 2004 (2011)
 
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males age 16-49: 184,236
females age 16-49: 183,363 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 134,562
females age 16-49: 145,797 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 8,831
female: 8,809 (2010 est.)
 
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2.8% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 51
 
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Transnational Issues

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claims French-administered Mayotte and challenges France's and Madagascar's claims to Banc du Geyser, a drying reef in the Mozambique Channel; in May 2008, African Union forces are called in to assist the Comoros military recapture Anjouan Island from rebels who seized it in 2001
 
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current situation: Comoros is a source country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; children are subjected to forced labor within the country in domestic service, roadside and market vending, baking, and agriculture
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Comoros does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government, in partnership with international organizations, began implementation of a National Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Plan, through which 40 former child soldiers, some of whom were trafficking victims, received protective services; it also began implementation of a national action plan to address the worst forms of child labor; however, negligible efforts were made to prevent the use of forced child labor or to investigate suspected cases; the government made no discernible efforts to investigate, prosecute, or convict trafficking offenders, under existing legislation; care to victims of sex or labor trafficking and prevention efforts were minimal (2011)
 
 
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