The Comorian economy

The Comoros is one of the fifty least developed countries in the world according to the United Nations, and the last comprehensive survey showed that about 50% of Comorians live below the poverty line. GDP is below the national rate of population growth, and actual GDP per capita is therefore negative and declining. Much of the population depends on help from the Comorian diaspora (mainly in France and Mayotte): in 2004, it is estimated that the diaspora sent 35.4 million USD. Having relatives abroad plays a big role in the relative wealth of a family.

The following information is taken from the Strategy for Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development 2015 (SCADD).

 

Productive Sectors

 The agricultural sector is crucial for the Comorian economy. It represents about 46% of GDP, 57% of employment and nearly 90% of export earnings. However, the country imports more and more food and food insecurity is a growing problem.

The principal food crops are bananas, cassava (tubers and leaves), sweet potato, taro, potatoes, legumes, corn and coconuts. Cash crops are a legacy of colonisation, and the main products are vanilla, cloves and ylang-ylang. Market gardens grow crops for sale or family consumption. Fruit trees play an important role, and their fruit serves either as food supplement(breadfruit, mango, papaya, etc.) or good to be sold at urban markets (lychee, passion fruit, etc.).On family farms, these two approaches to production can coexist.

The livestock sector has not achieved the desired results because of unproductive breeds, health problems and poor management.

Fishing occupies a central place in the economy. Fish remains one of the major animal protein sources of Comorian consumers, and nearly a fifth of the population depends considerably on the exploitation of fishery resources for its income. In this sector, artisanal, semi-industrial and industrial fleets all exploit the resources of Comorian waters. Migratory tuna makes up 80% of total catches.

 

The Comorian industrial sector is characterised by a still nascent level of industrialisation and is poorly integrated into the rest of the economy. Its contribution to employment is modest.

The tourism sector benefits from the extremely rich and varied landscape of the Comoros. However, its development is hampered by several factors, including the lack of any strategic document to guide the sector, the lackof a skilled tourism workforce, the limited capacity of tourism training institutions, the ineffective management of natural and cultural resources and limited and expensive plane access.

 

A Weak and Uncompetitive Private Sector

 The domestic private sector, the main contributor to the development of productive sectors, is still not able to meet this demand of improving sector productivity.

The fundamental issues in the private sector are weak growth and the low competitiveness of local private companies.The latter need improved management and better technical skills (skilled labour), as well as more favourable policies and a motivating institutional environment within which it is necessary to operate (and be in a position to deal with) other natural and structural factors.

 

Inadequate Physical Infrastructure

Access to economic (roads, bridges, airports, ports, energy production and distribution, water supply and sanitation systems, telecommunications networks, etc.) and social (health and education facilities) infrastructure is currently low.The functionality of infrastructure isadditionally not sufficient to support the development of the private sector.

The capacity of the Comoros to produce, transport and distribute electricity is only able to meet a small part of the energy demand (45% in 2012). The country finds it difficult to offer low cost electricity, especially to poor households. The road network covers a total of 834 km – 508 km on Grande Comore, 232 km on Anjouan and 94 kmon Mohéli. The condition of the roads deteriorated sharply during the last decade, makingtransportdifficult. According to available estimates, more than half of the roads are currently in poor condition and at least 130 km require major renovation or reconstruction.

The port infrastructure of the archipelago does not satisfy minimum needs, neither in terms of safety standards nor in terms of volume management. In fact, the infrastructure of the ports of Moroni (Grande Comore) and Fomboni (Mohéli) is not compatible with naval resources. Moroni International Airport is the main airport of the country, welcoming all international traffic. However, in terms of infrastructure, investment is still needed, including for upgrading the runways.

With regard to information and communications technology (ICT), Comoros Telecom hasa monopoly of the landline and mobile markets and is the only internet provider.

 

Low Human Capital Development

The Comoros has few development drivers, which explains its 2013 ranking among countries with low human development. It ranks 169 out of 187 countries, with a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.429. The 2011 World Report on Human Development places it163rdout of 187 countries, with an HDI of 0.433.