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5 Facts About Poverty in Comoros
Comoros continues to struggle today with extreme poverty, unemployment and a severe wealth gap. The country has undergone more than 20 successful or attempted coups, as well as facing a devastating cyclone. Poverty in Comoros continues to require immediate attention. Here are five facts about poverty in Comoros.

5 Facts About Poverty in Comoros

  1. Poverty in Comoros affects almost half the population. The African Development Bank Group reports that 44.1% of people in Comoros live in poverty and they typically earn only 25,341 Comorian francs or less monthly. In addition, 23.5% of people in Comoros live in extreme poverty. However, data from The World Bank places “Comoros ahead of other low-income countries and 30 percentage points ahead of other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
  2. Rural areas suffer disproportionately compared with urban areas. Comoros’s economy relies primarily on agriculture. Its three main export crops are vanilla, cloves and ylang-ylang. Additionally, agriculture accounts for 50% of Comoros’s GDP and supports most of its workforce. However, the country’s rural areas are typically its poorest and about 50% of Comoros’s people do not have enough to eat.
  3. Education in Comoros faces challenges. In 2018, Comoros reported a secondary education enrollment rate of 59.47% of all eligible children. In addition, only 58.82% of people in Comoros older than 15 years old could claim literacy in 2018. This is low compared to the global average of 86.3% for this age group.
  4. Relief efforts for Cyclone Kenneth could improve poverty in Comoros. When Cyclone Kenneth passed through Comoros in 2019, 345,000 people felt its effects. As a result, seven people died, and 182 experienced an injury. Moreover, 19,372 people found themselves displaced, and the cyclone completely destroyed 213 classrooms. This natural disaster further damaged an already insufficient economy and educational system. In response to this disaster, CERF allocated $13 million to relieve those that Cyclone Kenneth affected. The money is going toward providing food, shelter and other necessities to those suffering the effects of Kenneth, and rebuilding schools. UNICEF has also stepped in to help, joining efforts with Educate a Child to educate more than 3.3 million children in numerous African nations, including Comoros.
  5. Tourism could have a positive impact on Comoros. For years, as a result of its history of unrest and political instability, the world economy has neglected Comoros’s tourism sector. However, with its beautiful beaches, Comoros stands to gain much from an increase in tourism. This change would allow the country to become less reliant on its agricultural sector. Additionally, it might help provide food that the population desperately needs. Comoros exports 70% of its food, a number that could decrease with a rise in tourism.

Looking Ahead

Comoros is still recovering from the effects of its deeply-rooted poverty and of Cyclone Kenneth. The country faces poverty-related challenges in rural areas as well as in the education sector. Cyclone Kenneth exacerbated existing conditions. However, organizations like UNICEF and CERF are stepping in to help address the impacts of the cyclone. Increases in tourism also appear to be an untapped economic sector that could lead to positive changes in Comoros. 

Will Sikich
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Comoros
Comoros is a group of three volcanic islands located between Africa and Madagascar with a population of just above 800,000. Mount Karthala, which is located on the island of Ngazidja and the bigger of the two active volcanoes in Comoros, has frequent eruptions. The last largest eruption took place in 2005 and caused thousands of citizens to flee. Here are five facts about poverty in Comoros.

5 Facts About Poverty in Comoros

  1. Limited Economic and Trade Opportunities – Comoros relies heavily on its exported goods. The three main crops that are important to the country’s economy are vanilla, cloves and ylang-ylang, all of which people use for perfume essence and essential oils. Most of the earnings from these crops go towards natural disasters that occur regularly, primarily fires and severe weather.
  2. Rapid Population Growth – The population has steadily been growing since the 1970s. There are approximately four births to every one death. According to the World Population Review, the average adult woman has about 4.7 babies. The population should continue rising at an even pace.
  3. High Dropout Rates – Comoros has access to two different types of schools; the primary and secondary school system that France established and the traditional Islamic school system. Despite access to an education program, the dropout rate is continuing to steadily rise. Causes of this rate are teacher strikes from lack of proper pay, student strikes from the continuous school shutdowns and political instability. Students who do finish school and obtain a higher education typically do so in another country and do not return after.
  4. Inadequate Health Care Access – Comoros lacks a public health care system. Despite this, the country has been able to keep many of its illness rates low, including HIV and tuberculosis. Many believe that access to clean water that is available to more than 90% of the country contributed to this. The highest cause of death in Comoros is malnutrition which caused nearly 45.1% of deaths between 2007 and 2017.
  5. Lack of Natural Resources – Deforestation is causing the natural forests to decrease due to the lack of re-growing trees. With the increase in population, agricultural lands have less time to regenerate and food sources are declining as a result. These factors and changing weather patterns are affecting natural resources in Comoros at a rapid pace leaving the country in a vulnerable state. Heavy rains and a decline in forest protection are causing floods and landslides, which cause more damage to already weakening agricultural fields. It also causes soil erosion to silt the coral reefs and disturbs the marine life ecosystem and the livelihood of fishing due to fish being Comoros’ main source of protein.

Solutions

In studying poverty in Comoros, not everything is bad. An NGO called Dahari stemmed from the Engagement for Sustainable Development (ECDD) in 2013 and has since been working in the Comoros islands to provide sustainable agriculture and technology to farmers and increase environmental protection. It provides aid towards controlling the environmental factors, shaping landscapes for future generations and increasing the economy. The organization also uses ecotourism to help manage marine life and natural terrestrial resources. Dahari works closely with local communities to achieve peaceful collaboration and help adapt locals to the new technologies and ways they can increase their agricultural development.

The Comoros government continues to work towards its country’s improvement. Despite its efforts, these five facts about poverty in Comoros show that the rapid rise in population and ecosystem decline that changing weather patterns caused continues to affect the country’s efforts to climb out of poverty. With much-needed help, Comoros can work towards rising out of poverty and work towards becoming a resilient and prosperous country.

– Chelsea Wolfe
Photo: Flickr

ComorosComoros is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Africa. It is located between Mozambique and the island nation of Madagascar. According to the World Bank, the most recent survey of households in Comoros, conducted in 2014, showed about 18 percent of the population living below the poverty line.

Improving access to finance is one way to boost economic activity and lift people out of poverty. Looking at recent changes in credit access in Comoros offers clues as to where the country’s economy is headed.

Business Reforms in Comoros

Over the past few years, the government of Comoros has instituted several reforms that make doing business easier. These reforms have made it easier to start a business by reducing the minimum capital requirement. In turn, this has made resolving insolvency easier for small companies and made trading across borders easier with an automated customs data management system.

The International Finance Corporation reports that these reforms have reduced the number of procedures and days needed to start a business. Comoros has also improved its investment potential by offering political risk insurance to foreign investors, which may mitigate fears over Comoros’ recent decades of instability.

Credit Access in Comoros: Looking Ahead

At the 21st session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts, in November 2017, participants adopted the final report of best practices and research results for catalyzing growth in East Africa. It clears a path for more cooperation between the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and member states, like Comoros.

Topics emphasized included investment in infrastructure and renewable energy, as well as the need to improve credit access in Comoros, which will support the private sector. The goal is to make Comoros an emerging country by the year 2030, if not sooner.

The Takeaway on Financing in Comoros

Comoros is finally beginning to establish political calm after decades of political strife and coups, initially ushered in by its vote for independence from France in 1974. Time will tell whether peace lasts, but, if it does, business activity and good credit in Comoros will likely continue to grow.

With a better business environment, Comoros will have the funds to address poverty factors like hunger and malnutrition, and, hopefully, it will continue to make gains in the U.N.’s Human Development Index.

– Chuck Hasenauer

Photo: Flickr