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Comoros

Comoros

Summary

The small country of Comoros off the coast of Madagascar is made up of three islands and four municipalities. The government has faced difficulties reconciling the distance between the territory under its rule in matters like healthcare and education. The country is marked by extremely high poverty rates, and a high percentage of deaths are attributed to pre-natal or maternal complications. The economy is riddled with instability and is heavily reliant on international aid.1 1 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cn.html

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Environment
Human Rights
Education
Poverty
Religion
Clean Water
Economy
Government
Health
Children
Family
Animals

Environment

Environmental threats facing Comoros include deforestation, natural disasters such as floods and landslides, soil erosion, a loss of biodiversity, and annual climate change. Climate change in recent years has resulted in hotter temperatures and less annual rainfall, affecting the productivity of the country's crops and agricultural sector. Traditional methods of farming in the country contribute to soil erosion. The land grows less fertile over a period of several years, resulting in rapidly diminishing farmable land.1 Additionally, citizens have to deal with air and water pollution from the volcanic ash distributed during the eruption of local volcanoes. This causes respiratory issues, and prevents people from using unfiltered natural water sources.2

Human Rights

Corruption in Comoros is pervasive and widespread, and there have not been sufficient official counteractive measures attempted. Bribery among the police forces has hindered law enforcement in the face of rising crime. Children continue to be engaged in dangerous forms of child labor, as well as in the commercial sex industry, and there continue to be harsh restrictions on freedoms of the press and speech. There is currently no mechanism in place to investigate police violations of human rights.1 The government has a history of employing mercenaries in times of political turmoil; the violent legacy left by the mercenaries has ended with intense public mistrust of the government.2 Prison conditions on the islands are poor; facilities are overcrowded and juveniles are housed with adults. There Read More is also a significant delay between charges and trials, which has led human rights groups to protest the legality of the system.3 Show Less

Education

The country's adult literacy rate is 78 percent of the population. Additionally, there are significant gender gaps in literacy and education, with 82 percent of all adult men literate and only 74 percent of adult women.1 Education is compulsory for children ages six to 16, but the government does not have the funding to enforce this effectively. Primary school enrollment has improved in recent years, but secondary education is still marked by high dropout rates.2

Poverty

Comoros is an extremely low-income country, which can be attributed partly to its location and partly to the distance between the three islands. Unemployment currently affects 6.5 percent of the population, and the poverty rate is 45 percent.1 The poverty rate can also be attributed to the rapidly growing and very young population. This demographic section of the population generally has a very low education level and job creation is low. Most economic activities and social services are provided through third party international aid organizations.2 The Borgen Project states that the three main causes of poverty in the communities are poor healthcare, education, and high population density. These factors are what keep the government of Comoros from being able to elevate impoverished citizens to a Read More higher economic status.3 Show Less

Religion

Comoros is approximately 98 percent Sunni Muslim and 2 percent other religions.1 The constitution of Comoros technically provides for religious freedom, but other laws and policies hinder freedom of religion. The country's laws ban conversion from Islam and prohibit any groups other than Sunni Muslims from proselytizing. Non-Sunni Muslims are also prohibited from establishing places of worship or assembling for religious activities. Widespread societal discrimination exists against religious minorities, particularly Christians.2

Clean Water

Approximately 90 percent of the country has access to clean drinking water, while only 36 percent of the country has access to improved sanitation infrastructure.1 The island suffers from water pollution caused by the numerous active local volcanoes. UNICEF has worked with the government to bring fresh drinking water to 150,000 people, and is also developing long term solutions to the large amounts of volcanic ash being deposited into water sources on a regular basis.2

Economy

Comoros is a low-income country composed of three separate islands that have drastically inadequate methods of transportation between them. The economy is able to survive only with extensive foreign aid and technical grants. The main ways the government is attempting to stimulate the economy are through the diversification of exports and the promotion of tourism. The country's unemployment rate is 6.5 percent of the population, and approximately 49 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.1 Reliance on foreign aid has inhibited any progress the country may have made toward economic independence, and a chronic inability to access credit has made it difficult for businesses to participate in the global economy. Corruption of the political system has carried over to the economy, and the Read More misuse of public funds has hurt economic growth.2 Show Less

Government

The Union of the Comoros has a federal presidential republic government, but the transition of establishing an independent form of government after independence from France in 1975 has not been smooth. There are seven main political parties, representing four municipalities and three different islands.1 Corruption and coercion are reported to be widespread within the government in Comoros. Unjust procurement practices and the misallocation of public funds by government officials are some of the main challenges. Additionally, the judicial branch of the government is not independent and is prone to political manipulation.2

Health

The infant mortality rate in Comoros is 60 deaths per 1,000 live births. Maternal mortality is 335 deaths per 100,000 live births. The average life expectancy in Comoros is 65 years of age. Child malnutrition is rampant in the country, and over 17 percent of children under the age of 5 suffer from malnutrition. 8 percent of the population is obese.1 The adult mortality rate for men and women ages 15 to 60 in the country is also very high at twice the global average, and the leading causes of death are communicable diseases. Rates of malaria are particularly high and affect around 22 percent of the population.2

Children

While there are currently several hundred children involved in child labor in Comoros, the government has been making progress towards the elimination of the practice. The minimum age to work is 15 years of age. Children who obtain work as domestic servants in private households are vulnerable to sexual exploitation, as well as to human trafficking.1 32 percent of children are married by the time they are 18, and 10 percent are married before the time they turn 15.2 Child malnutrition is rampant in the country — over 17 percent of children under the age of 5 suffer from malnutrition.3

Family

There are many laws in place that allow for the prosecution of perpetrators of sexual violence or domestic abuse. On the island of Anjouan there were 24 cases of sexual abuse reported in 2015, and on Moheli there were 27 cases of sexual violence against minors reported. The government has difficulty enforcing laws and punishments regarding sexual violence because many communities solve issues informally with their own authoritative bodies, and never file an official report.1

Animals

Comoros falls into the Afrotropical zone. The islands are home to over 500 species of plants and 21 species of birds. The habitats that support these species are highly endangered by human activity; the existing forests today include only 30 percent of the original forests. The islands were formed through volcanic action, and wildlife is highly affected by the large amounts of volcanic ash in the environment. The forests farther away from the volcanoes are endangered because they are the safest place to farm, but also support a majority of the wildlife on the islands. The government has not implemented adequate measures to protect these dwindling forests.1

Comoros

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