The Federal Islamic Republic of Comoros is an island republic which lies in the Indian Ocean east of Mozambique and forms part of the Indian Ocean Islands associated with Africa.
The capital city is Moroni on the island of Njazidja (Grand Comore). The other islands in the republic are Nzwani (Anjouan) and Mwali (Moheli).
The official languages are French and Arabic but the Comorian variant of Swahili is the lingua franca. The local currency is the Comoros franc. (US$ / Comoros Fr – current exchange rate).
The economy is based predominantly on agriculture, which employs around 80% of the work force. Agriculture, including fishing, hunting and forestry, accounts for approximately 40% of GDP. The main crops are vanilla and ylang-ylang oil and cloves. Principal food crops are rice, bananas, cassava and sweet potatoes. The country is not self sufficient in terms of food; as a result, over 50% of food required is imported annually.
The tourism industry in Comoros is being developed; however, the unstable political situation in the country is preventing more growth. The country attracts around 20 000 tourists annually, mainly from South Africa and Europe.
Per capita income is declining as a result of poor economic growth and a fall in the world price of the country’s commodities. In order for the economy to grow, it needs to be well managed and reforms implemented, with the help of the private sector.
The Comoros oil industry is an important element in the islands’ economy since all petroleum products have to be imported from neighbouring countries. Electricity is provided by the parastatal utility Electricite et Eaux des Comores (EEDC).
The international time zone for Comoros is Greenwich +3 and the international dialling code is +269. There is an international airport on the island of Njazidja (Grand Comore); Air Mauritius, Air France and South African Airways are the principal airlines that fly to the island. As at September` 1995 all nationals except those of France require visas in order to visit Comoros.