Located between the eastern coast of Africa and Madagascar with a population of over 800,000 people is the Comoros. The country is comprised of three islands, Ngazidja, Mwali and Ndzouani. According to The World Bank, about 45 percent of the total population falls below the poverty line. Inadequate healthcare, poor education and a rising population are the main contributing factors to the Comoros poverty rate.
The results of a 2014 World Health Organization report show that over half of all deaths in the Comoros are due to maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions. The country severely lacks access to quality communal healthcare. With less than 5 percent of the budget dedicated to healthcare, operational facilities remain scarce. Fortunately, the country has seen progress in reducing the incidence of malaria. Spraying campaigns and the distribution of insecticide-treated nets across the three islands have greatly aided in its decline. The country has also seen noteworthy advancement in the under-five mortality rate and maternal mortality ratio.
High repetition, increased dropout rates and poor learning outcomes remain problematic factors for the Comoros. High levels of illiteracy and dependency on foreign aid hinder economic development. However, according to The Global Partnership for Education, the Comoros has stepped up their access to quality education. The UNICEF Annual Report for 2016 shows the number of schools providing preschool education reaching almost 50 percent. Children are gradually starting to benefit from valuable education through the expansion of social, cognitive, motor and emotional skills.
At a glance, the Comoros appears to be a very lightly populated country. But when compared to other regions, the Comoros ranks 25th in population density in the world. This ranking is predicted to increase, leading to more population pressure. The rising population has already led to widespread poverty in the form of limited land, lack of resources and unemployment. As a result, at least 150,000 people live abroad. Citizens are moving to countries like France in search of more space and essentially, a better life.
The Comoros poverty rate has started to improve thanks to a reformed poverty reduction strategy. In 2014, the country created a new growth policy that aims to strengthen the economy. Government, quality of life and resilience are all a major focus. The World Bank has also partnered with the Comoros in hopes of endorsing shared growth and increasing employment. Statistics verify that development for the region is slow, but eliminating poverty is a main priority.
– Emilee Wessel