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Comoros Economy

    Economy—overview: 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, is the leading sector of the economy. It contributes 40% to GDP, employs 80% of the labor force, and provides most of the exports. The country is not self-sufficient in food production; rice, the main staple, accounts for the bulk of imports. The government is struggling to upgrade education and technical training, to privatize commercial and industrial enterprises, to improve health services, to diversify exports, to promote tourism, and to reduce the high population growth rate. Continued foreign support is essential if the goal of 4% annual GDP growth is to be maintained.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$400 million (1997 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 3.5% (1997 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$700 (1997 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 40%
    industry: 14%
    services: 46% (1996 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.5% (1997)

    Labor force: 144,500 (1996 est.)

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 80%, government 3%

    Unemployment rate: 20% (1996 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $48 million
    expenditures: $53 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997)

    Industries: tourism, perfume distillation, textiles, furniture, jewelry, construction materials, soft drinks

    Industrial production growth rate: NA%

    Electricity—production: 15 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 86.67%
    hydro: 13.33%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 15 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: vanilla, cloves, perfume essences, copra, coconuts, bananas, cassava (tapioca)

    Exports: $11.4 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)

    Exports—commodities: vanilla, ylang-ylang, cloves, perfume oil, copra

    Exports—partners: France 43%, US 43%, Germany 7% (1996)

    Imports: $70 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)

    Imports—commodities: rice and other foodstuffs, consumer goods; petroleum products, cement, transport equipment

    Imports—partners: France 59%, South Africa 15%, Kenya 6% (1996)

    Debt—external: $219 million (1996 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $43.3 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 Comoran franc (CF) = 100 centimes

    Exchange rates: Comoran francs (CF) per US$1—420.01 (December 1998), 442.46 (1998), 437.75 (1997), 383.66 (1996), 374.36 (1995), 416.40 (1994)

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)